Alpenglow hitting the peaks of Grays and Torreys beyond the Frisco Bay Marina in Frisco, Colorado. Image credit Joey Reuteman via Shutterstock.

7 Of The Friendliest Towns In The Colorado Plateau

The Colorado Plateau is within the Colorado Basin and includes most of Colorado but also bits of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. Once home to indigenous farmers, the Plateau became a hot spot for mining and ranching. The Plateau rests between towering peaks and mountains and is dominated by mesas and valleys. This makes the area ideal for adventurers, snow lovers, and thrill seekers, with many friendly locals and towns to explore.

1. Silverton

Silverton CO, USA : The old town square with horse and buggy, shops, and mountains in the background.
Old Town Square in Silverton, CO. Image credit Christophe KLEBERT via Shutterstock.

Silverton is the county seat of San Juan County, Colorado. It is the largest town in this county and the only officially incorporated town. It is located near the Animas River and within a valley between two large mountain peaks. 

It was originally named Baker's Park after being settled by Europeans in the 1800s. Although, it was sparsely populated by both the Anasazi and Utes peoples long before the arrival of the Europeans. Since the region is fruitful, it is a great source of hunted food and wild edibles. Visitors today will be able to enjoy this town's many exciting outdoor activities, such as skiing and hiking. Despite its "most populated town" label in San Juan, it only has 622 permanent residents. However, this makes Silverton a very close-knit and welcoming town where everyone knows one another. 

2. Grand Lake 

Grand lake with no people due to the pandemic during memorial weekend.
Grand Lake, Colorado. Image credit Markel Echaburu Bilbao via Shutterstock

Grand Lake is a small town of just over 400 residents in the County of Grand, Colorado. The town gets its name from the massive lake known as Grand Lake. Grand Lake is Colorado's largest natural body of water and a popular vacationing spot. The town was established in 1881 and was the site of an early murder. Fredrick Nichola Salek was an early settler and pioneer who lived most of his life near Grand Lake. He lived in a cabin in the forest later in his life, where he was murdered in late summer in the 1920s. 

This story is now part of the local folklore but is by no means the dominating aspect of the region. Grand Lake is the most prevailing aspect of the area, with vast shorelines and plentiful fishing. Or, visitors can indulge themselves by swimming in the lake, boating, and simply taking in the lovely view. 

3. Steamboat Springs

Balloons float over Bald Eagle Lake during the 38th annual Steamboat Springs Hot Air Balloon Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Hot air balloons floating over Steamboat Springs. Image credit Rhona Wise via Shutterstock.

Steamboat Springs is a small municipality located in Routt County. It is the most populated municipality of Routt County, with approximately 13,000 residents as of 2020. Steamboat is often shorted to "The Boat" by locals and has produced the most American Olympians. It is located near the Yampa River, which flows for approximately 250 miles (400 kilometers) in western Colorado. 

Although Steamboat Springs has much more to offer than just a good river, fishing, or boating. Steamboat Township is also a prevalent skiing town, with Mount Werner being one of the best locations. Plenty of shops to explore and hot springs to unwind in exist. 

4. Woodland Park

The new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center contains exhibits, snacks and a gift shop.
Pikes Peak visitors center. Image credit Rosemarie Mosteller via Shutterstock.

Woodland Park is a quiet town in Teller County, Colorado. It is commonly included within the Colorado Springs, Colorado Metropolitan area, where most commute to work. Woodland Park is the main source of wood and other natural resources to Colorado Springs, aiding the city's economic development. The town is just under 6 miles long with no notable rivers or streams. It was originally settled by Europeans around 1887 for logging and wood. Its original name was Manitou Park, then Belmont, and finally, Woodland Park. 

Pike's Peak is this lovely town's most exciting and notable feature. Visitors can either drive up Pike's Peak Highway or take the Pike's Peak Cog Railway to the top of the majestic mountain. August is one of the best times to visit this town since there are several festivals, including the Mountain Artist Festival. 

5. Manitou Springs 

Beautiful Garden of the Gods Park with Pikes Peak soaring in the background, taken from the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center.
Garden of the Gods Park, Pike's Peak Mountain near Manitou Springs. Image credit John Hoffman via Shutterstock.

Manitou Springs is located at the base of Pike's Peak Mountain in western El Paso County. Although part of El Paso County, it is designated as a home-rule municipality in Colorado. It's been a popular vacation spot since the 1800s and is still an excellent place to relax and unwind. 

Founded in 1872, Manitou Springs began as a resort village in the 1870s. Its founders, William Jackson Palmer, and William Bell, believed the city's pure mineral springs had healing properties. Visitors would come to the town to experience the healing spas and resorts created by the founders. Today, visitors still visit the nine natural springs of Manitou. The water's free; travelers can fill their canteens before scaling Pike's Peak Mountain and enjoy the town's natural beauty.

6. Frisco

Friends hiking in the muntains. Girls enjoying beautiful Colorado mountain town on winter break. Snowcapped mountains and houses.
Hiking in snowy Frisco, Colorado. Image credit Margaret.Wiktor via Shutterstock.

Frisco is a home-rule municipality in Summit County. This grants the town a certain level of independence to make its own rules and laws. Lake Dillion is the city's most notable body of water and is a human-made reservoir. Frisco gained its name from the Frisco Lines Railway. It was chartered in 1879 as its population grew and more settlers moved in. It was a popular silver mining region, its main export for many years. 

Frisco is a popular ski resort today. These slopes also have snow tubing, sledding, and snowboard areas. However, the many slopes in the area are also excellent for hiking during the summer months. 

7. Vail 

Street in Swiss style at resort town of Colorado with individuals, Vail CO.
Swiss-style resort in Vail, CO. Image credit Andriy Blokhin via Shutterstock.

Vail is a popular vacation town in Eagle County, Colorado. As a resort community, it is well known for its hospitality and many resorts and shopping centers. Vail does not have a long history, having been officially established in 1966. Its founders, Pete Siebert, and Earl Eaton, wanted to make a thriving resort village near the Colorado Mountains. Vail is home to the Vail Film Festival, and Bravo! Vail. Both events are amusing and are only two examples of the many events in this little snowy town. 

The Colorado Plateau has many small towns which create a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. Visitors to these towns will be sure to experience all the pleasant and warm locals have to offer their guests. Although the weather is often cold, the people are certainly not cold in the slightest!

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