Salida, CO

"Heart of the Rockies"

Look twice! That’s not just a Christmas tree — it goes all the way up the mountain, hundreds of feet!

Look twice! That’s not just a Christmas tree — it goes all the way up the mountain, hundreds of feet! (Credit: John Farrell)

Welcome to Salida, “Heart of the Rockies,” where the air is thin and the generosity is thick. Our western paradise boasts more than a dozen 14,000 foot mountain peaks and the Arkansas river runs through it. The name “Banana Belt” was coined due to the mild four season climate. Salida stands at 7,083 feet with a population over 5,000.  It is located in the south west middle of the state about three hours from Denver.  The name Salida means “exit” in Spanish, because when you enter the town you are exiting the canyon.

The town is known as the “Heart of the Rockies” because it’s considered to be the crossroads of Colorado.

Christmas is special in Salida. Volunteers prepare for weeks before Christmas with donations to decorate Tenderfoot Mountain with 10,000 colored lights that illuminate the town and guests from all over the world. Our annual tradition creates the biggest outlined Christmas tree in America: 750 feet tall.

Salida Soup is a fundraiser for non-profits and projects. The event is held monthly at the Steam Plant. Bring a pot luck dish and $5.00 to enjoy listening to proposals from various community members and vote for your favorite pitch that benefits the town.

Our citizens range from artists to ranchers. A local custom is to wave to other vehicles, cyclists or dog walkers to go first at a four way stop sign. Then we all wave back beckoning our other neighbor to go first. This ritual takes up more time than the electric red stop light on First Street.