My Trip Journal


Day 1: Granite


Day 2: Buena Vista


Day 3: Nathrop


Day 4: Browns Canyon


Day 5: Salida


Day 6: Poncha Springs


Day 7: Poncha Pass

Follow Your Dreams. You Only Live Once.

Chaffee County, Colorado. The mountains. The wide open spaces. The Arkansas River. And the people. Nothing beats living here.

For seven consecutive days, on April 1-7, 2010, I hiked through Chaffee County from north to south.

The idea started when I was a teenager, when I daydreamed about what it'd be like to walk a long distance on railroad tracks. Then 20 years later, as a resident of Buena Vista, I constantly noticed the dormant railroad tracks that travel from Leadville all the way to Salida, and my desire to do such an adventure was rekindled.

On the first day, I began one mile north of Granite at the county line of Lake and Chaffee counties. Those railroad tracks beside the Arkansas River guided me south through Granite, Buena Vista, Johnson Village and Nathrop. Eventually I hiked through scenic Browns Canyon and made it to Salida, the county seat.

From Salida, I left the railroad tracks and to make it a true north-to-south journey, I continued to Poncha Springs and ascended Poncha Pass, site of the southern county line.

In all, the estimated mileage was 61 miles. On this page are my photos and story.

Adjacent Photo: Click to view the map at a larger size. The red line shows my route from north to south. The far ends of the county are cut off, but you get the point. This Chaffee County map was provided by Collegiate Peaks Realty.

Common Questions

How did I document this trip? I snapped photos and posted them on daily pages on this website. (The left column on this page has all seven days for you to read.)

Chaffee County Did you camp? Naaaah. I'm not much of a camper. I live in Buena Vista and coordinated with friends who shuttled me to starting and ending points.

Did you go alone? One friend hiked with me from Stonebridge portage area (south of Browns Canyon) to the southeast side of Salida on Monday (4/5), but that was it. I live in Chaffee County and this region is home. It's not like I was in a foreign country where I didn't speak the native language.

How long was the trip? Seven consecutive days.

Do trains travel on these railroad tracks? No, they do not. These tracks are the old Denver & Rio Grande Western line. Trains stopped running in 1997.

Chaffee County Photo Inspiration

Mount Harvard
Hike To Mt. Harvard

Mt. Princeton
Sunrise Colors Over Mt. Princeton.


Fall Colors In The Sawatch Range.

About Steve

Steve Garufi

My name is Steve and I live in Buena Vista. I am a writer, photographer and Colorado poster child. Mountain fever brought me to this region five years ago ... Read More

Thank you for visiting! -Steve :)

Links: Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest


Thank You Page: Acknowledgements

Other photos:
Colorado Sunset
Mt. Antero, Mt. Princeton, Mt. Yale
Ruby Mountain
Vicksburg and Winfield
Cottonwood Pass
South Cottonwood Canyon
Buena Vista Rainbow
St. Elmo Ghost Town
Fourmile Hike
Turret, CO
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