Street view of Jasper, Alberta, in summer time season. Editorial credit: Shawn.ccf /

7 of the Most Hospitable Small Towns in The Rockies

Imagine waking up every day in the Rocky Mountains, enjoying the warmth and friendliness of a small town. While this might sound like a fairytale, for some people, this is a reality. People who live in the Rockies tend to share a love for outdoor recreation, adventure, and nature. This often makes a community of like-minded people surrounded by the beauty of the mountains. From the friendly small town of Waterton, Alberta, to the art community in Taos, New Mexico, towns in the Rocky Mountains have some of the friendliest communities. Here, we will explore the friendliest towns in the Rockies and discover what makes them special. 

Jasper Alberta

Welcome to wonderful and formidable Jasper, Alberta.
Welcome to wonderful and formidable Jasper, Alberta.

When it comes to visiting the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Banff often takes center stage. However, Jasper is another small mountain community worth a visit. The town has been an important spot in history as the meeting place of different indigenous groups. Today, over 26 indigenous groups stay connected to the area in some way. Learn about the history of Jasper by visiting the Yellowhead Museum and Archive. 

Jasper is more remote than other mountain towns but has everything you need to explore the mountains comfortably. Since Jasper is more remote, there are typically fewer crowds, which makes hiking and exploring the town more serene. The Valley of The Five Lakes is an easy hike for everyone to enjoy. Beyond hiking, there are other outdoor activities to enjoy in Jasper, such as climbing, exploring magnificent icefields, and kayaking. 

Waterton Alberta

Views of the main street in Waterton, Alberta. Editorial credit: Todamo /
Views of the main street in Waterton, Alberta. Editorial credit: Todamo /

Another friendly Mountain town in Alberta is Waterton. Here, you can witness the magic of where rolling parries meet the rocky mountains. Waterton is full of natural beauty and history. Learn more about the area's history by visiting Waterton Historical Vignettes. They showcase the stories and photographs of Waterton's rich history. While more than 400,000 people travel through the town throughout the year, Waterton is never crowded. 

Whatever season you visit, there will be an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. There are several good hikes in Waterton. A popular one is Red Rock Canyon Parkway. The short day hike is well known for its abundance of argillite, an iron-rich red rock that runs through the layers of mountains. 

Buffalo Wyoming

Aerial view of Buffalo, Wyoming which is at the base of the Bighorn Mountains.
Aerial view of Buffalo, Wyoming, which is at the base of the Bighorn Mountains.

Buffalo, Wyoming, is a quaint town in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains. Here, you will find the comforts of Western hospitality in family restaurants and a community with a rich history. The Occidental Saloon is a hotel and restaurant whose history dates back to the early days. Today, it offers a unique hotel stay where guests are fully immersed in the community's history. 

The town also has several historical sites to explore, including the hideout of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Learn more about the town's history at the peak of the Old West at the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum. There are artifacts at the museum that will sweep you back into the past, including clothes, medicine bags, and old-timey weaponry. The stunning scenery in Wyoming has also served as inspiration for the local artist community. To see local works, visit the Wyoming in Color Art Gallery. After a visit to the art gallery, head to Big Horn National Forest to see the nature inspiring the locals. 

Taos New Mexico

Taos Pueblo in New Mexico.
Taos Pueblo in New Mexico.

Another mountain town with art worth checking out is Taos, New Mexico. Taos combines the beauty of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and New Mexico's high desert with history, art, and community. While the town is small, it hosts over 70 art galleries, showing just how much the scenery of Taos inspires artists. In Taos, you will find a diversity of artwork, from rock art on canyon walls to the pottery of the Pueblo People.  Some popular art galleries include Blumenschein Home and Museum, Martinez Hacienda, Water Works Gallery, and Golden Anderson Studios. Another one of Taos's claims to fame is the historic Pueblo buildings, which include the Taos Pueblo, a spot that was home to indigenous groups for years. Beyond art and history, enjoy the scenery in Taos. Similar to other mountain towns, Taos is a great spot to ski, hike, and mountain bike, depending on the time of year. 

Estes Park Colorado

An autumn afternoon at Downtown Estes Park, with The Stanley Hotel and Rocky Mountains in background. Colorado, USA.
An autumn afternoon at Estes Park, with The Stanley Hotel and the Rocky Mountains in the background. Colorado, USA.

Estes Park is a friendly mountain town in Colorado known for its breathtaking geography. Estes Park is near mountains, pristine lakes, and Rocky Mountain National Park. The town has around 6000 residents and several visitors every year who come to enjoy the outdoor scenery. Due to its proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park, there are plenty of hiking opportunities near town. Those looking for a challenge should try Longs Peak for stunning vistas. Visitors looking for a family-friendly hike should try Bear Lake Loop. Whatever your hiking level, there will be an option for you to explore the mountains. 

A popular spot for visitors around town is the Estes Park Pie Shop. Here, visitors will feel like they are part of the community as they indulge in the famed local pies.  Considering the natural beauty of Estes Park and the tight downtown community, it's no wonder this Colorado town has such a friendly, inclusive environment. 

Park City Utah

Park City Utah View from Summer Ski lift.
Park City, Utah. View from Summer Ski lift.

If you love the mountains, cinema, and the hospitality of small towns, Park City in Utah is the perfect mountain town for you. Located just 32 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, Park City offers stunning mountain views and is every outdoor enthusiast's paradise. In the summer, Park City is a paradise for hikers and mountain bikers. The Lost Prospector is an easy 4.5-mile trail offering spectacular mountain views. In the winter, the small mountain town offers opportunities to ski and enjoy the charming, cozy village vibes. Every January, the town attracts filmmakers and film lovers with the Sundance Film Festival. Whether you are in town to enjoy the film festival or the mountains, Park City is a unique town that will make for a memorable stay. 

Whitefish Montana

Mainstreet in Whitefish, Montana, still has a smalltown feel to it. Editorial credit: Beeldtype /
Mainstreet in Whitefish, Montana, still has a small-town feel to it. Editorial credit: Beeldtype /

Most people have heard of Glacier National Park, but not as many have heard of Whitefish, Montana. The small Montana town is at the base of Big Mountain and has a friendly population of around 8,500 residents. The scenery in Whitefish is enough to take anyone's worries away. From snow-capped peaks and pristine lakes to the mountains of the nearby Glacier National Park, there is an abundance of natural beauty to explore. Whitefish is particularly well known as a friendly destination where locals are well known for their warmth and approachable nature. For anyone looking for some theatre, check out the Alpine Theatre Project, which showcases musicals, plays, and concerts. This is the perfect town for anyone looking to explore beautiful mountains while being a small town. 

Those looking for a destination with stunning scenery and small-town vibes should plan a visit to one of the mountain towns on this list. From the friendly community in Estes Park, Colorado, to the quaint history-rich town of Buffalo, Wyoming, these mountain towns are some of the friendliest in North America. If you're looking for a vacation destination this year, look no further than the Rocky's. The mountains are sure to leave you feeling recharged, and the friendly communities will open your heart.

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