Officially my favorite mountain town..
Trip Start Apr 08, 2011
25Trip End Sep 10, 2011
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I've been through quite a few towns over the last year and a half (but actually not many in Colorado yet including Telluride.. so we'll see if this changes).. and this one is by far my favorite. As a visitor, it almost has it all. It is pretty remote and so grocery shopping is limited to a pretty dinky little store and there's not much for shopping for any other goods.. but you can head to Montrose for all that. Golf is lacking too. There's no skiing here either (must go to Telluride) but I find that to be a good thing.. as it isn't too overbuilt. I'm willing to say it is the most charming town I've ever been to.. well maybe Carmel.. but it's close.
They call it the Switzerland of America and I've been to Switzerland and find nothing false about that statement. You are sandwiched between snow-packed mountains on all sides with the raging Uncompahgre River filled with snowmelt going right down the town center. Seriously was considering staying here for all of June.. but I have to get to Denver for a bit.. but plan to bring Alex back in tow as they have excellent rock climbing here. They are actually world-renowned for their ice climbing with an Ice Park where they have competitions here. If anyone wants to see the epitome of a mountain town, then this is the only place you need to go. Actually, maybe you should never come here as every mountain town after will be a disappointment.
The town center retains its history as a mining town from the late 1800s with many historic buildings, yet is classy in every other way. There's no cheesy tourist shops like you see in so many other towns (i.e. Jackson). But I do think they are trying to milk the Swiss comparison as much as they can as I see some buildings with definitely a Swiss architectural theme. There are excellent restaurants, shops, cafes, coffee shops, and breweries all lined down the main street. There are natural hot springs at the town entrance too for a dip in 95 degree water.
The amount of foot and car traffic is light but just enough to make it feel lively. The town's footprint is so small due to the proximity of the mountains you can walk anywhere within a few minutes. Walk in any direction and you have a towering mountain above you with cascading waterfalls rushing down.. there are so many hiking trails that start from the town center I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed... and even more trailheads start a few miles away via the myriad of 4x4 trails here. I could go on... The only thing is I hear it gets hot in July (90s) and is pretty cold in the winter as it is at 7700 feet. It would be difficult to live here fulltime as it is very small ( I believe population is 900), but is ideal for a month at a time.
To top it off the RV park here.. is right on the river in the town center.. is the best RV site I've had yet in the sense of convenience to town yet inside my RV it sounds like a raging river all day long. Never had a better nap. No sound machine necessary.
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