Founded in 1880, Salida was originally a railroad town and was a significant link in the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. After World War II the railroad began pulling back its operations in Salida. Many residents in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s worked either in local ranching operations or commuted north to Leadville to work at the Climax Molybdenum Company. Today the most prominent business in Salida is tourism, consisting of skiing at Monarch ski area, whitewater rafting, kayaking and outfitting, particularly on the Arkansas River. Salida is home to the annual FIBArk kayak race, one of the oldest whitewater races in North America.
Salida is located at .(38.531442, -105.996090)
The Sawatch Range runs north and south and is located roughly 30 miles west of Salida. Methodist Mountain, which is a major feature on Salida's southern horizon, is the northernmost mountain in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. To the north of Salida is the Arkansas Valley and Buena Vista, Colorado.