America is a beautiful country filled with varied landscapes, eye-popping attractions and friendly people everywhere you go. Imagine being a new-comer to America and trying to decide where you’re going to call home, which is a tough task considering there are so many choices from sea to shining sea.
Outside Magazine has done the tough work for natives and newcomers alike. The magazine surveyed American’s from all walks of life to find out exactly what makes their hometown so special in order to come up with a list of the 16 best adventure places to live in America, and four cities are in Colorado, including Denver, Durango, Gunnison, and Steamboat Springs.
Denver is number three on the list. The capital city of Colorado happens to be one of the fastest growing cities in the country with transplants being drawn to the big city appeal and eye-popping natural setting. There are few places where you can find the amenities of the big city life within easy reach of the Rocky Mountains and world-class skiing at such venues as Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Keystone, Loveland, Monarch Mountain and many more. The high country also offers amazing biking, hiking, rafting, and camping.
Hunters and fisherman enjoy some of the best of their sports in breathtaking venues just a short drive from Denver. The Mile High City also has a vibrant economy, outstanding educational opportunities, and professional sports teams, including the Denver Broncos, the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, the Colorado Rockies, plus professional soccer and lacrosse.
Number six is Steamboat Springs. Colorado has some pretty notable ski and adventure spots, so while you might not have expected a smaller city like Steamboat Springs to appear on the list, residents say it’s the city’s laid-back approach to adventure and the outdoors that has the biggest draw. Of course there is skiing, though Steamboat’s hills are a bit mellower than places such as Jackson Hole or Telluride, and the city is also adding to its increasing network of bike trails and Single Track. Outdoor companies such as Big Agnes, Smart Wool, and Moots all call Steamboat Springs home, which should be proof enough that this is someplace worthwhile.
Gunnison is number 11 on the list. When a town’s elevation is higher than its population, you know there’s going to be some great adventures to be had there. Gunnison is located 30 miles north of the famous Crested Butte Mountain Resort, so naturally skiing is a big draw for this town, but it’s not the only activity to be found. The nearby Hartman Rocks is located only a few minutes from town and offers over 8,000 acres of prime hiking, biking and climbing land while Gunnison Whitewater Park is an amazing venue for paddlers.
Other very important attractions in Gunnison or near Gunnison include Western State University, Blue Mesa (the largest lake in Colorado), Taylor Reservoir and Taylor River, and the breathtaking Black Canyon of the Gunnison River.
At number 15, Durango attracts people with its world-class biking, kayaking, and other outdoor activities, and they figure out a way to make it all work. Considering that the average home cost is around $360,000, it will take a bit of work, but Durango is certainly more affordable than many other Rocky Mountain meccas. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, rafting, or just appreciate being in the great outdoors, Durango has it all. The location offers seclusion, an environment that can be as relaxing or active as you wish, and the “Colorado Experience” on a grand scale.
Other cities on the list include: Seattle, Washington; Grand Marais, Minnesota; Ketchum, Idaho; Bend, Oregon; Hanalei, Hawaii; Bellingham, Washington; Boise, Idaho; Ludington, Michigan; Taos, New Mexico; Yachats, Oregon; Jackson, Wyoming; and Billings, Montana.