“Beyond the Peaks: 12 Delightful Small Towns in Colorado”

Several mountain communities in Colorado are ideal for those who want to get away from it all and enjoy nature. Colorado is a skier’s dream with some of the country’s biggest and best resorts, but it’s also a hiker’s heaven with its abundance of parklands, rugged terrain, magnificent rivers, and virgin woods.

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Natural and cultural wonders abound in this state, which has a long tradition of silver mining and is now known as one of the most free and progressive in the Western Hemisphere.

12 Delightful Small Towns in Colorado

1. Ouray

A lot of people refer to Ouray as the “Switzerland of America” because of its beautiful mountain scenery. So, you may go trekking in the beautiful Box Canyon Falls Park or ice climbing at Ouray Ice Park, which draws daredevils from all over the world.

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12 Delightful Small Towns in Colorado
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The historic Beaumont Hotel and the Ouray City Hall, both constructed of brick, are reminders of the affluence that came to the region in 1875 when prospectors sought to profit from the many silver and gold mines that were located here.

True Grit (1968) lovers will be pleased to know that Ouray was the setting for several sequences.

2. Trinidad

The first settlers arrived in Trinidad long before Colorado’s 1876 statehood. The area’s proximity to the Santa Fe Trail, an old trade route, attracted Spanish and Mexican residents in the 1860s.

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12 Delightful Small Towns in Colorado
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North of Trinidad, in the notorious Drop City, the first rural hippie commune, was founded in 1965 and lasted until its abandonment in the 1970s. Due to its 23 marijuana stores, or one for every 352 people, Trinidad has been christened “Weed Town, USA” today!

In addition to its counterculture and cannabis culture, Trinidad is rich in history, which may be explored at the Trinidad History Museum.

3. Glenwood Springs

True to its name, Glenwood Springs is one of Colorado’s mineral spring towns. It is also the county headquarters and most populated town of Garfield County in West Colorado. The hot springs here are great for relaxation, but that’s not all you can expect.

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Sunlight Mountain Resort has skiing, Hanging Lake has a beautiful boardwalk for hikes, and you can also go paragliding, rafting, fishing, and more. The Downtown District of Glenwood Springs is the spot to go for culture, cuisine, and drinks; it was selected “Most Vibrant Small Town Arts Environment in the United States” in 2015.

4. Manitou Springs

Historic structures abound at Manitou Springs, which dates back to its 1872 founding as a “scenic health resort” made possible by the town’s natural mineral springs. Manitou Springs Historic District is yours to explore at your leisure, and it’s filled with restored homes and hotels.

12 Delightful Small Towns in Colorado
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This resort town is situated near the breathtaking, otherworldly Garden of the Gods, which has red rock spires and scrublands. It is sometimes called the “Saratoga of the West.” Nearby Cave of the Winds Mountain Park also offers ziplining, caving, and ropes courses.

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5. Frisco

The town of Frisco is perfect for skiers and snowboarders. The Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, and Keystone ski areas are all within a reasonable driving distance. In addition to cross-country skiing, the Frisco Nordic Centre offers other winter sports.

In the summer, Frisco Adventure Park is great for bicycling and hiking, in case you do not like skiing. Seasonal activities at the neighboring Dillon Reservoir include ice fishing and snowmobiling in the winter and yachting and rainbow trout fishing in the summer. Frisco is ideal for those who love the outdoors.

6. Silverton

Situated in a valley in the San Juan Mountains is the historic town of Silverton, known for its silver mining. Since its mining days, the town has transformed into a major ski resort, drawing in guests with its quaint, rural allure.

Silverton is a great place for skiers of all skill levels to enjoy the winter snow on the gently rolling mountainsides, which are situated at an elevation of 9,000 feet above sea level. In the summer, the hillsides transform into sun-kissed meadows, and hiking paths wind their way past cascading waterfalls.

12 Delightful Small Towns in Colorado
Image Source: 12 Delightful Small Towns in Colorado

To experience the town’s mining history firsthand, visitors can ride the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad’s steam path.

7. Crested Butte

Before the mining industry began to wane, Crested Butte—another one of Colorado’s magnificent mining towns—used to dig coal and silver. These days, the town is bustling with tourists who come to see the East River Valley and all its breathtaking natural beauty.

12 Delightful Small Towns in Colorado
Image Source: 12 Delightful Small Towns in Colorado

Although the town is mostly known for skiing and snowboarding, it also hosts popular rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, and fishing activities during the warmer months. The town also boasts the distinction of being the birthplace of mountain riding. Who knows whether it’s true, but mountain bikers can’t deny that Crested Butte is a great place to ride.

8. Vail

The Vail Ski Resort, home to the biggest ski mountain in Colorado, is, without a question, Vail’s most prominent feature. All the skiing and snowboarding you could ever want is within easy reach of the town, so if you’re here for the skiing, you’re in for a treat.

In addition to the breathtaking alpine landscape—which includes picturesque sparkling lakes, pine woods, and snow-capped mountains—the town itself is very appealing. Visit Vail Village for an authentically old-world experience, or lose yourself in the Lionshead district’s maze of narrow streets and brightly colored buildings designed in the European style.

9. Creede

Creede may be a little town, but it has a lot of history. Creede skyrocketed from 600 in 1889 to more than 10,000 in 1891, thanks to the silver boom of the late 1880s. After the silver boom petered out, the hordes of people who had come to Creede to earn their fortunes departed, and the town’s population has since dropped to below 300.

This location is perfect for filming due to its scenic mountain setting and original structures from the late 19th century.

Creed has been the setting for several films and TV shows, including The Shootist (1976, starring John Wayne) and The Lone Ranger (2013).

10. Breckenridge

While Colorado’s Vail Ski Resort is certainly the largest, the most popular ski resort in the state is Breckenridge, which also happens to be one of the most popular in the Western Hemisphere.

12 Delightful Small Towns in Colorado
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Breckenridge was founded on the mining industry, yet skiing is probably the main attraction for any tourist. The town’s scattered log and clapboard houses, some of which date back to the late 19th century, represent the richness that came from prospecting. Also, this area is great for hiking; in the summer, you can see wildflowers along the beautiful paths in the Blue River.

11. Telluride

Historic structures abound in Telluride, a town with its origins in the mining boom of the late 19th century. They are a big part of the town’s character, so it’s probably the place to go if you want to experience life as a miner from yesteryear.

Restaurants and shops dot the 80 acres that were formerly a silver mining camp in the Downtown area, making it an ideal destination for exploration. Telluride is conveniently located near a gondola, making it an ideal starting place for ski trips. Whether you want to hike or drive, Bridal Veil Falls is a must-visit for anybody looking to take in the breathtaking scenery surrounding this picturesque town.

12. Steamboat Springs

As with many other Rocky Mountain towns, Steamboat Springs boasts not one, but two excellent skiing resorts. Located on Mount Werner, just outside of town, is the famed Steamboat Ski Resort. The smaller Howelsen Hill Ski Area, named for the man who introduced ski-jumping to Steamboat Springs in 1913, is another option.

12 Delightful Small Towns in Colorado
Image Source: 12 Delightful Small Towns in Colorado

You may try white-water kayaking on the wild Yampa River if you’re looking for additional aquatic adventures. Plus, the region surrounding Steamboat Springs was formally recognized as an ideal riding destination by the League of American Bicyclists in 2011, so you’re in luck if you’re an avid cyclist.

Read more: London to Plymouth Bus: Timing, Class, Affordable Prices, Luxurious Amenities

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UW Stephen
UW Stephen
With UW Stephen as your guide, you'll embark on a literary journey that transcends borders, immerses you in different cultures, and fuels your wanderlust for new horizons.

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