Area Info & Activities - Salida, Colorado & Monarch

Salida Colorado in the Arkansas Valley is the epicenter of Colorado outdoor adventure!

The Poncha Lodge is an easy day trip to the Royal Gorge, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park, several different hot springs resorts including Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort, St Elmo, and many more amazing sights and adventures.

The Poncha Lodge Motel is only 15 minutes away from one of the greatest ski resorts in Colorado, Monarch Ski Resort.  We are the perfect Monarch ski motel base camp and only minutes from downtown Salida, Co.

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Paddle Sports

The headwaters of the Arkansas River is the most rafted stretch of river in Colorado, and it runs right through Poncha Springs offering some of the best and most diverse whitewater in the Rocky Mountains. Rafting is the most popular way to enjoy the Arkansas River and experience the unique beauty of places like Browns Canyon National Monument and the Royal Gorge. Kayaking and SUP (Stand Up Paddling) are also very popular; both can be experienced with a guide or by renting gear and creating your own adventure.

Families, first time rafters, experienced river rats, and adventure seekers will find a section of the Arkansas River perfectly suited for your group, and since the Poncha Lodge Motel is situated minutes from Salida, Colorado, we the perfect choice for your vacation.

Hiking & Biking

Hiking, road biking, mountain biking, and climbing the numerous 14ers (peaks above 14,000 feet in elevation) are some of the more popular ways to explore Chaffee County by land. The Poncha Lodge Motel is the closest lodging establishment to the world famous Monarch Crest Trail. Mountain bikers from across the globe travel to test themselves on this 26+ mile trail; much of the Monarch Crest is above tree line and it is regarded as one of the more technical and most sought after prizes in Colorado mountain biking. There are trails for every ability and experience level, and several area shops rent mountain bikes, road bikes, and cruiser bikes. High Valley Bike Shuttle is ½ mile from the Poncha Lodge, and they offer shuttle rides to the top of the Monarch Crest Trail. You can ride the entire MCT without ever getting in your car!

Hunting & Fishing

102 miles of the Arkansas River headwaters has earned the prestigious designation as Gold Medal fishing waters. This is the longest section of Gold Medal fishing waters in the state, and represents nearly 1/3 of all Gold Medal waters in Colorado. Easy access to the Arkansas River, numerous alpine lakes, and a thriving fishery make Poncha Springs a hot spot for Colorado fly fishing and the Poncha Lodge Motel is perfectly located to accommodate your hunting or fishing adventure.

Hunting is a popular year round activity that brings in sportsmen from across the country. Deer and elk hunting are the big draw for this area. Chaffee County has a one of the largest mountain goat populations in the state along with several herds of bighorn sheep. Bear, moose, mountain lions, antelope, cottontail rabbits, and snow shoe hares are also native to this area.  Local winged prey includes blue grouse, ptarmigan, and wild turkey.




The Poncha Lodge Motel is the closest lodging establishment to Monarch Mountain Ski Resort. Known for 100% all natural Rocky Mountain snow, Monarch Mountain offers some of the best and most affordable family skiing in Colorado.  Minutes away from downtown Salida, Poncha Lodge Motel offers the perfect destination for your vacation.

Backcountry Snow Sports

Snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing are also popular winter activities for adventure seekers. Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort is a favorite destination in and of itself, or as the exclamation point after a fun day exploring the mountains.  If you’re too tired to head out after a hard day of exploring, just relax in our hot tub, right here at Poncha Lodge Motel.