Cañon City - view along Main Street, Colorado

8 Towns in Colorado that Are Ideal for Seniors

American TV host Mr. Rogers once said, “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” In that sense, one’s autumn years don’t have to be thought of as the end of one's life but the start of something beautiful, and what better place to experience that beauty than the state of Colorado?

With more than 300 days of sunshine, the Rocky Mountains, snow skiing in the winter and river rafting in the summer, state parks, hiking and rock climbing, Colorado is a haven of nature. Many towns have a thriving art scene and community events and festivals throughout the year. The state has a population of 5,839, 926 with 16% of those over the age of 65 (Census Bureau). It’s considered by many to be one of the healthiest states in the country, in fact, US News and World Report Health ranks it in the top 10 healthiest US states and with access to top health care. According to the state’s website, taxpayers at least 65 years of age can deduct their social security income, which helps stretch those retirement dollars. While the state isn’t known for having a low cost of living, Denver and Boulder are mostly responsible for driving up those averages, however there are many smaller towns that offer a more reasonable cost of living.


Salida, Colorado is popular for white water rafting.
Aerial view of Salida, Colorado

Located in rocky mountains and bounded by the Arkansas River Valley and Monarch Mountain, is this charming little town. Back in the 1800 Salida was a stagecoach stop, today its on the National Register of Historic Places. Boasting the largest historic district in the state, the downtown is full of old Western buildings. The Hutchinson Homestead & Learning Center is the perfect place to learn about pioneer life. The SteamPlant Theater is the place to go to catch a local production. Salida is an outdoor paradise full of hiking and river rafting and fishing activities. The climate has four seasons and low humidity.

Fibark Whitewater Festival in Salida Colorado
Fibark Whitewater Festival in Salida Colorado, via SWKrullImaging /

Salida has a population of 5,809 residents with 22% of them 65 years of age and older (US Census Bureau). The Heart of the Rockies Regional Center is a small 25 bed hospital that is well regarded, and it’s been around since 1888. Seniors will appreciate the free public shuttle service through Chaffee Shuttle to and from medical appointments, shopping, and local events. The winters are long, and the location is remote, but it’s an affordable and beautiful place to retire. The median home price is $377,500 and the median household income is  $62,668 (US Census Bureau).

Manitou Springs

Eclectic Victorian Architecture in Manitou Springs Colorado
Eclectic Victorian Architecture in Manitou Springs Colorado, via SWKrullImaging /

Just outside of Colorado Springs, is the town of Manitou Springs. The population is 4,912 and 15% are 65 years of age and older (Census Bureau). The resort town is known for its healing mineral springs, mountain vistas and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. In the early 1890s the town was a health resort, known for its clean air, and that attracted many tuberculosis patients. The downtown has a sparse suburban feel with many coffee shops, restaurants, and shopping. Marigold Café and Bakery has great coffee and carrot cake. Melting Pot has excellent fondue, and Annas Apothecary has natural cures for one’s ailments. 

The Mountain Cliff Dwellings are a historical gem. These red sandstone dwellings are over 800 years old, and one can explore them on a self-guided tour to see how American Indians once lived. There are caves to explore in Cave of the Winds Mountain Park. There are of course plenty of hiking and biking trails to explore nature. The town has mountain views and great campsites.  

The summer weather is pleasant and dry, and the winters are relatively mild. UCHealth Memorial Hospital in nearby Colorado Springs, is ranked as the 4th best in the state, by US News and World Report Health. The median home price is $449,200 and the median household income is $65,703 (Census Bureau).

Buena Vista

Aerial view of Buena Vista, Colorado
Aerial view of Buena Vista, Colorado

Situated between the Arkansas River and the Collegiate Peaks, the chill town of Buena Vista has a lot to offer. The town has a population of 2,859 and 11% are 65 years of age and older (Census Bureau). Of course, there’s the mountain views and hiking, but there’s also river rafting and fishing. The town has the Aqua Hot Springs, with its natural geothermal mineral hot springs, yoga and meditation room and vacation rental options for one’s out of town visitors. First settled in 1864 the downtown has many historic buildings to explore. The climate is semi-arid with cold, but mild and dry winters and warm summers. According to Bankers Life, Buena Vista is great for retirees with its lower-than-average property tax rate. Sales tax doesn’t apply to food and medicine, and seniors can deduct $24,000 annually from all retirement income. The median home price is $335,900, and the median household income is $39,535 (Census Bureau). The town also has a low crime rate.

Cañon City

Historic downtown in Canon City, Colorado
Historic downtown in Canon City, Colorado

The town of Cañon City, with its population of 17,157 (24% 65 and over) abounds in nature’s splendor (Census Bureau). It’s known for many parks, hiking, rafting, and climbing. Red Canyon Park has 600 acres of red rock formations. Hogbacks Open Space has miles of trails through pinyon and juniper trees. Royal Gorge Bridge and Park has one of the highest suspension bridges in the US and there’s also the railroad there with 24-miles of stunning nature to explore. There are even murder mystery games to participate in and they have Christmas Santa themed events around the holidays. 

The town is close to Colorado Springs and Denver. The historic downtown is walkable and has great shopping and is known for its art galleries, such as the Fremont Center for the Arts. There’s also the nearby award-winning wine tasting at the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey.

The climate is quite comfortable, all year round, for Colorado. Should the time come for more care, there are several senior care facilities in the area, including Havilahome, Friendship House at The Home, Royal Gorge Manor Apartments, Legacy Center, and Garden Park Villa. St. Thomas More Hospital is in Cañon City, but given its proximity to Colorado Springs and Denver, there’s also easy access to the state’s best hospitals. The median home price is $218,200 and the median household income is $52,648, making it quite affordable (Census Bureau).

Holly Hills

Street view in Holly Hills, Colorado
Street view in Holly Hills, Colorado

A suburb of Denver, Holly Hills is one of the top retirement towns in Colorado. The town has a rural feel, with a population of 2,843 (19% 65 and over), yet it's still close to the big city (Census Bureau). The quaint town offers picturesque mountain views. Most people own their own homes and have large yards. The downtown has bars, restaurants, and coffee shops, but one is just a short drive to Denver for an excellent foodie scene. There are many churches in town to nurture one’s spiritual life and community. There are several excellent senior living facilities nearby, including: HighPointe Assisted Living and Memory Care and Pinewood Lodge. According to US News and World Report Health, nearby UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital is ranked first in the state. The median home price is $533,000 and the median household income is $134,722 (Census Bureau).

Cherry Hills Village

Red and yellow colored trees near lake on sunny day in October Cherry Hills Village
Red and yellow colored trees near lake on sunny day in October Cherry Hills Village

Known for its grand homes combined with the charm of its downtown, Cherry Hills Village is the perfect spot to retire if one has the means. Settled in the 1920s and sitting at about 5,340 feet of elevation. 22% of the population of 6,426 are 65 years of age and older (Census Bureau). There are over 30 miles of trails to hike, 47 acres of parklands and the exclusive Cherry Hills Country Club with its PGA championship golf course. This town likely isn’t for those on a fixed income, but if one has some money to spend, this is the place to do it and make the most of those *golden* years… the key is gold. There are many communities with equestrian trails. There’s a variety of home styles, so it won't be difficult to find the perfect home on a mature tree-lined street. There are some outstanding festivals throughout the year to get more connected with the community. Some examples include the Annual Exotic Car Show, the Annual Winter Celebration, and the Outdoor Movie Night in the summer.  

The median home price is $2,000,001 and the median household income is $250,001, making Cherry Hills Village an expensive place to live, however, it's not hard to see why it's so popular (Census Bureau). With access to light rail, it’s easy for a senior or anyone to get around.  Of course, with the proximity to Denver, there’s access to all the big city stuff and the top hospitals discussed previously. The climate has warm summers and cold, snowy winters.

Estes Park

Long's Peak rising over Estes Park, Colorado.
Long's Peak rising over Estes Park, Colorado.

The town of Estes Park is an ideal location for retirees who love the outdoors and are looking for a good local art scene. The community is over 100 years old and sits at an elevation of over 7,500 feet. The population of 5,942 has 38% 65 years and over (Census Bureau). Like with many other Colorado towns, it’s common for retirees to be snowbirds that escape the winters to places like Arizona or Florida. Located at the base of the Rocky Mountain National Park, this is a town full of nature’s wonders. Wildlife like bear and elk are regularly seen. Nearby Roosevelt National Forest is a must and Estes Park Aerial Tramway connects the town to the top of Prospect Mountain. The bustling downtown is filled with over 300 shops and many restaurants. Patterson Glassworks is the place to find handmade pitches and bowls. Coffee on the Rocks is the place to get one’s coffee and the Dunraven At The Estes Park Resort has a hearty menu and some amazing views. 

The median home price is $463,400, and the median household income is $56,166 (Census Bureau). Estes Park Health is a local, small-town hospital that prides itself on having “big-hospital expertise”. There are several well-regarded senior homes in the area, including Brookdale Longmont and Hillcrest of Loveland. Estes Park is about an hour and a half hour drive to Denver and under an hour to Boulder. The summers are warm and dry, the winters are cold. The city has more than 200 days of sunshine per year.

Columbine Valley

The town hall (city hall) of Columbine Valley, Colorado
The town hall (city hall) of Columbine Valley, Colorado

Founded in the 1950s, the Denver suburb of Columbine Valley in Arapahoe County is a great place to retire. The population of 1,701 has 35% 65 and older (Census Bureau). The downtown has a rural feel, but of course, the town is a short half hour drive to Denver. Known for its friendly locals and breathtaking Rocky Mountain Views, Columbine Valley is an outdoor enthusiasts' paradise. The climate boasts low humidity and “endless” days of sunshine. The summer concert series is hosted at the town hall and there’s a 4th of July fireworks celebration. The Carson Nature Center is the place to visit with its five lakes and abundant wildlife. Nearby towns include Littleton and Englewood. In Littleton, there’s the AdventHealth Littleton General Hospital and as previously detailed, Denver offers the top hospitals in the state. The median home price is $542,000 and the median household income is $1,058,600 (Census Bureau).

Retire to Colorado 

While states like Florida and Arizona are more often thought of as ideal places to retire, if one is a nature lover and committed to leading an active lifestyle, consider retiring to Colorado. While there are states with warmer weather in the winter, California is expensive and high in tax, and while Florida and Arizona are more affordable, they have oppressive heat in the summer. Colorado flourishes in sunshine, even in the winter, and their summers are dry and comfortable. Many towns also have a great art scene and friendly residents. 

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