16 Best Small Towns to Live in Colorado as Ranked By a Local

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It’s a great place to challenge yourself to hike a 14,foot mountain the area has plenty , bike the Arkansas Hills and Methodist Mountain trail systems, or do like the locals do and hang by the shady shores of the Arkansas River, which runs through town. The climate in Colorado tends to be dry, but this little agricultural haven produces some of the state’s best tree-ripened fruits — apricots, cherries, peaches, pears — and hosts a fall Ciderfest that celebrates all things apple with boot-stomping music and food.

If local fruit doesn’t get you excited, head to the town’s well-regarded Creative District, an area full of shops, artist studios, and galleries, or visit one of the local wineries. Crested Butte is one of the few Colorado ski destinations that has managed to retain its small-town feel. You won’t hear Crested Butte mentioned alongside resorts like Vail and Aspen, and that’s exactly what makes it so great.

The skiing is steep, the town is extremely cute, and in the summer, it evolves into a go-to mountain bike destination with more than miles of trails. If you time it right, you might even catch the wildflower season — yet another thing the town is known for. If you don’t want to stray too far from the city, head to Manitou Springs, which is an easy, minute drive from Colorado Springs.

Manitou is just far enough outside the city to provide that mountain-town feel without losing its accessibility. You can make your way up Pikes Peak a 14,foot mountain and visit the Manitou Cliff Dwellings just as easily as you can hit up Manitou Avenue’s hip boutiques before grabbing a bite at Swirl , a local wine bar.

It may be just 15 minutes by car from Aspen, but Snowmass Village has a feel all of its own. In the winter, life revolves around its ski area, which is part of the four-mountain Aspen-Snowmass family. And in the summer, it’s all about biking and hiking in the Elk Mountains, which is arguably the state’s most beautiful mountain range.

Make the Limelight Snowmass which is ski-in, ski-out in the winter your home base and enjoy exploring the quaint village before jumping into the day’s adventure.

This historic mining town has a population of 1, residents and has plenty to offer the modern pioneer. Crested Butte is a highly desirable place to live because of its close proximity to downtown shops and the K community school.

Located about five hours from Denver, this beautiful mountain town offers world-class skiing throughout the winter. It is home to the Crested Butte Mountain Ski Resort, which has more than 1, acres of terrain that ranges from beginner to expert level. This authentic mountain town is off-the-beaten-path yet so close to everything! Steamboat Springs is nestled in the Rocky Mountains about three hours northwest of Denver.

It is most known for its famous hot springs, like Strawberry Park Hot Springs , and small-town charm and character. It has a laid-back, friendly atmosphere which is perfect for anyone seeking refuge from big city living. This resort town in the Rockies boasts an endless list of things to do, including soaking in hot springs, skiing, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, and hiking.

You can catch an orchestra concert and discover history at the Tread of Pioneers Museum. Ouray is a historic town that has it all. From extreme sports to relaxing hot springs, there is always something to do.

Named after Chief Ouray of the Ute Tribe, the town was established in the s by miners and prospectors. With a population of 1, people, Ouray County is considered one of the best places to live in Colorado overall. The small mountain town is a premier destination for ice climbing and winter activities thanks to the Ouray Ice park and the annual Ice Festival. It is also well-known for showcasing the unparalleled beauty of the San Juan Mountains, with hundreds of hiking and biking trails in the summer.

Paonia is a very small town located in Delta County. Named after the peony flower, Paonia has a population of just over 1, as of There is an artist-in-residence program in the town, a theater, and plenty of art workshops. Like other small Colorado towns, Paonia has an abundance of outdoor activities available year-round. Hiking, river rafting, and fishing are all very popular among locals. What really sets Paonia apart is its agriculture and the area is known for apple trees and peonies.

The city produces a very large amount of vegetables and fruits thanks to its lush, fertile landscape. Abundant fruit harvests set the stage for numerous festivals. Farm-to-table restaurants abound, as do wineries and art galleries. Creede is a picturesque town that sits at the headwaters of the Rio Grande River.

It is one of the most beautiful towns in Colorado due to being in one of the most popular backcountry regions. Whether your pleasure is arts or history, this remote mountain mining town is for you. This southwestern Colorado community is part of the San Juan Skyway.

With an elevation of over feet, Silverton is one of the highest mountain towns in Colorado. It is also a famous mining town and a National Historic Landmark that houses around people. Although Silverton is more secluded, there are plenty of activities for residents to enjoy year-round. Stroll along the downtown district to see well-preserved buildings or ride the famous Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Other activities include ice skating and snowmobiling in the winter and backcountry touring in the summer.

A multitude of natural hot springs along with resorts and a pair of free pools make this community highly desirable, as well.

There are numerous art galleries and museums, as well. Music in the Mountains, a classic musical festival, takes place in nearby Durango. From Gold Rush-era charmers to Wild West wonders, Colorado’s smaller burgs offer a pleasing mix of history, recreation, and relaxation. Known for legendary skiing thanks to its location at the base of the magnificent Tenmile Range, Breck as locals call it also boasts more than structures dating back to the Gold Rush days.

These whimsically painted buildings, part of the National Historic Register, make a guided tour through the gorgeous downtown a must. Outdoorsy types might want to leave time for a trek up nearby Quandary Peak, one of Colorado’s 58 mountains that measure 14, feet or taller. The highest town in the U. There’s wilder adventure afoot, too, with miles of groomed winter trails in the area for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and more; in the summer The Arkansas River serves up stellar fishing.

Dubbed “The Wildflower Capital of Colorado,” Crested Butte celebrates pretty posies with its beloved Wildflower Festival each July, including hikes, garden tours, and photography classes. Skiing, of course, is king here come winter, but in the warmer months miles of mountain biking trails make traveling on two wheels tempting.

Meanwhile, campers can pitch their tents in the nearby Gunnison National Forest with primitive to full-service amenities. Quirky Lyons , just 20 miles away from Rocky Mountain National Park , offers laid-back coffee houses, cool bars, and a smattering of excellent restaurants where live music is often on the menu. There’s an artist community here, which means good galleries, and tubing in the summer on the North St.

Vrain Creek that winds through town. Don’t miss staying at WeeCasa , a tiny home hotel that’s one of the country’s most unique—and adorable—places to lay your head. Sitting snug in Brush Creek Valley surrounded by 3, acres of mountain terrain, Snowmass Village is home to the monumental Snowmass Ski Area, the second-largest in Colorado.

But even after the powder melts, this little town settled by ranchers more than a century ago still provides plenty of diversions, from whitewater rafting to weekly rodeos. The funkily named Fruita is home to Dinosaur Hill and The Trail Through Time at Rabbit Valley, both of which feature fossils of the long-gone critters, as well as the Museum of Western Colorado: Dinosaur Journey , where visitors can check out skeletons, robotic dinosaurs, and scientists preparing bones for display in a real laboratory.

A bit bigger than many of the towns on this list, if not quite the size of Fruita, Rifle still exudes plenty of bucolic splendor. Hunters come looking for game like elk, pheasant, and moose in the surrounding White River National Forest and the Grand Mesa area, while spelunkers love to explore the limestone caves at Rifle Falls State Park pictured , also known for its soaring foot triple waterfall.

If you’d like to get on top of the rock rather than within it, the park serves up world-famous climbing, too. Looking for off-the-wall? Ned ‘s Frozen Dead Guy Days , held each March, is a festival celebrating a Norwegian fellow who was cryogenically preserved outside of town following his death in the ’80s.


What is the best small town to live in colorado. 15 Best Small Towns in Colorado (+ Reasons to Visit Each!)

Steamboat Springs. Manitou Springs.


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Steamboat Springs. The Best Small Towns in Colorado · Alamosa · Cañon City · Crested Butte · Lake City · Leadville · Ouray · Paonia · Explore More of Colorado. Pagosa Springs.


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