A view of Main Avenue in Durango, featuring Strater hotel. Editorial credit: WorldPictures / Shutterstock.com

8 Towns Perfect for Retirement in Colorado

With gorgeous scenery and an abundance of outdoor activity, it’s no surprise that Colorado ranks as one of the best states to retire in. The Rocky Mountains provide endless adventure for seniors to stay active, from hiking to horseback riding to world-class fishing. The quality of life here is unmatched. Although the cost of living is higher than the national average, there are still fiscal benefits. Property taxes are considered lower in the state compared to the rest of the country, and seniors receive tax benefits. The state allows a $24,000 deduction per year on all retirement income.

For seniors looking to set down roots, there are plenty of vibrant towns to consider that offer a dash of adventure yet still hold true to the art of slow living. Some are tucked behind a mountain pass, while others sit right along a pristine river. The small communities in Colorado are sure to capture your heart and make you want to stay awhile. Discover the best picturesque towns in Colorado to retire in.


A double rainbow after a storm in Monument Canyon in Colorado National Monument in Fruita, Colorado.
A double rainbow after a storm in Monument Canyon in Colorado National Monument in Fruita, Colorado.

Fruita is considered one of the best places for people who crave sunshine and milder winters, too. While other areas of Colorado are covered with snow during the winter, Fruita is known to stay relatively dry. The nice weather in the high desert fuels the outdoor culture and healthy lifestyle here, which keeps seniors active. There are plenty of hiking trails at McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area that provide magnificent views. 71 percent of the area that surrounds Fruita is considered public land, and the rich landscape holds geological fascination, such as the Colorado National Monument and the Grand Mesa. There are great fishing holes among the freshwater lakes and excellent flyfishing opportunities for seniors along the Colorado River. Beyond outdoor adventure, the town itself has plenty of low-key restaurants for seniors to socialize at and small eclectic shops to enjoy during a day one feels like wandering. Plus, Fruita is only about 12 miles away from Grand Junction, where there's a vibrant art scene and plenty of local wineries to gather at with friends. The quality of life here is incredibly high.

As far as the cost of living, the median sale price for homes is about $451,000, which is lower than the state average. Family Health West is in town and includes a hospital and medical center. Seniors also have the option to go to St. Mary’s Regional Hospital in Grand Junction.


Scenic view of Durango, Colorado during the fall with the changing color of the leaves.
Scenic view of Durango, Colorado, during the fall with the changing color of the leaves.

Surrounded by fresh powder ski resorts and famous for outdoor activities such as kayaking and hiking, Durango is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts to live out their golden years. The mountain town is perched at an elevation of 6,500 feet in southwestern Colorado and nestled between the Animas River Valley and the San Juan Mountain range. There are plenty of opportunities for seniors to stay active and have fun with friends. Retirees can explore the wonderous Mesa Verde cliff dwellings or take a scenic train ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad that winds through the mountains. The downtown area is referred to as “the living room of Durango” and is the heartbeat of the community. On days seniors want to stay close to home, there are unique shops and restaurants to go to and festivals that fill the streets throughout the year.

The cost of living is slightly lower than the state average. The median home sale price is about $589,500. As far as medical needs, despite being a somewhat remote community, Durango ranks high in the state for healthcare services. It is known for its top-rated medical facilities and hospitals, such as Mercy Regional Medical Center, a trauma III hospital.

Estes Park

Historic Stanley Hotel.
Historic Stanley Hotel.

Estes Park is an adorable mountain town that sits in a picturesque valley with Rocky Mountain National Park at its doorstep. It’s a small community and is a perfect place for seniors who love the outdoors and enjoy what the four seasons offer. The snow-covered peaks in the winter are quite magical, and the gold and red-toned colors in autumn are magnificent. There’s an abundance of wildlife here, and it is common to see a herd of elk pass through town on any given day. The historic downtown looks straight out of a storybook with rustic architecture and a log cabin feel. Over 300 local shops line the streets with unique art exhibits and pottery galleries for seniors to explore. As far as sightseeing goes, retirees can take visitors to The Stanley Hotel, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The hotel is the inspiration behind Stephen King's book The Shining, and rumor has it the building is haunted. For retirees looking to stick to outdoor adventure, a senior day pass is available for Rocky Mountain National Park, which provides year-round access to phenomenal hiking, fishing, and sightseeing.

With all that said, the great views come with a higher cost of living. The median home price is $630,000, which is higher than the state average. For medical needs, Estes Park Medical Center is a campus with doctor offices and a hospital.


Hot air balloon ride through Windsor, Colorado.
Hot air balloon ride through Windsor, Colorado.

Windsor is a fast-growing progressive community that's known for its small-town charm and neighborly way of living. The town has strong agricultural roots and is situated between the front range and the high plain region. Windsor is incredibly bike-friendly, with around 40 miles of bike paths to get seniors around. A popular route is the Poudre River Trail, which passes through beautiful open spaces and follows the scenic Cache La Poudre River. In town, seniors can spend time at a number of museums. There’s the Windsor Art and Heritage Center, which has rotating exhibits, and the Boardwalk Park Museum, which gives a nice narrative about the town's past. And if retirees want to switch it up and go to the city, Windsor is only a 20-minute drive to Fort Collins, the craft beer capital of Colorado. There are hip microbreweries, such as New Belgium, where retirees can join friends for a cold one. The region is also home to Colorado State University, which offers classes for seniors to continue their education.

The cost of living in Windsor is slightly lower than the state average. The median home sale price is a little below $650,000. As far as medical needs, Windsor is located in a tri-city area. Poudre Valley Hospital is ranked as one of the best regional hospitals and is about 17 miles away in Fort Collins. Seniors can also go to UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, which is within the same traveling distance.


Welcome to Golden sign along Washington street in Golden, Colorado. Editorial credit: Paul Brady Photography / Shutterstock.com
Welcome to Golden sign along Washington street in Golden, Colorado. Editorial credit: Paul Brady Photography / Shutterstock.com

The town of Golden is not only one of the best places to retire in Colorado but is nationally ranked as well. The former Gold Rush town sprawls along the foothills of the Rockies and offers seniors the benefit of having access to both outdoor recreation and city life. Golden is located 17 miles west of downtown Denver and about 72 miles east of popular ski resorts such as Breckenridge and Keystone. The community thrives on a healthy lifestyle and has plenty of retirement recreational centers that keep seniors active and social. Seniors can spend the day hiking at Golden Gate Canyon State Park or indulge in the plentiful mountain biking and cycling in the area. For those looking for a challenge, cycling to the top of Lookout Mountain offers sweeping views of the foothills, and you can visit the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave. One can spend a day at the Colorado Railroad Museum or the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum.

With the high quality of life, seniors will find the cost of living here is a bit pricey. The median home sale price is around $915,000. On a positive note, the town is known to have easy access to healthcare for seniors. With that said, there are several medical campuses. Commonspirit St. Anthony Hospital is one of the main hospitals.


Public Park in Montrose, Colorado.
Public Park in Montrose, Colorado.

For seniors looking to be around other seniors, Montrose is an ideal place to set down roots, considering about 19% of the population is 65 years and older. Montrose has a small-town, outdoorsy feel and is loaded with character. It sits on the western slope of the Rockies and is surrounded by rugged wilderness as far as the eye can see. Seniors can explore the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area, which offers excellent hiking, fishing, and rock climbing. On the other hand, seniors who want to hang around town can visit the botanical garden and learn more about the different flowers and plants they can grow in their backyard. Further, the area is rich in history, and seniors can visit the Ute Indian Museum and learn about the Ute Tribe, the first Native American people to call this beautiful place home.

The cost of living here is more affordable compared to other regions of the state. The median home sale price is about $565,000, which is below the state average. Montrose Regional Health is the main medical campus, and seniors can have peace of mind knowing that a hospital is in town.

Buena Vista

Mountains in Buena Vista, Colorado.
Mountains in Buena Vista, Colorado.

Buena Vista is a laid-back small mountain town in south-central Colorado that used to be a well-kept secret. It has gained enormous popularity over the years and for good reason. The historic downtown still has a bit of a Wild West feel and has picturesque views of the Collegiate Peaks as its backdrop. Seniors looking for outdoor adventure and a challenge will be kept busy here. There are 12 peaks that rise above 14,000 feet in Chafee County, where Buena Vista resides, making the county a popular spot for summiting fourteeners. And the Great San Dunes National Park and Preserve is only a few hours away. The laid-back community sits along the Arkansas River, providing easy access to fishing and excellent whitewater rafting. After a long day of exploring, retirees can relax and soak at one of the nearby geothermal hot spring pools. Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort is about 15 minutes south of Buena Vista. For slower days, the downtown area offers restaurants and shops for seniors to socialize at, and the historic courthouse houses the Buena Vista Heritage Museum, where one can learn about the region.

The cost of living here is much higher than the state average. The median home sale price is around $880,000. Buena Vista Health Center is a clinic in town seniors can go to, and Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in Salida is the closest medical campus with a hospital, which is about 25 miles away.

Woodland Park

Rusty Metal horse and wagon sculpture behind the Colorado Midland Railway Depot in Woodland Park. Editorial credit: Rosemarie Mosteller / Shutterstock.com
Rusty Metal horse and wagon sculpture behind the Colorado Midland Railway Depot in Woodland Park. Editorial credit: Rosemarie Mosteller / Shutterstock.com

Known as the city above the clouds, Woodland Park is a cozy town that sits at 8,500 feet above sea level and offers sweeping views of Pikes Peak. It’s a popular spot for seniors who enjoy outdoor activities, considering there are plenty of hiking trails and gorgeous sightseeing. Seniors can visit Horsethief Falls, spend a long day trekking the Centennial Trail, or explore Eleven Mile State Park. During the summer, the town itself is bustling with outdoor concerts and festivals and has a popular farmers market that comes to life on Fridays. The area is also home to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, a sanctuary for hybrid wolves, coyotes, and foxes. Seniors can learn about conservation efforts underway and how these animals are vital to the ecosystem.

As far as the basics go, Woodland Park is 30 minutes west of the Colorado Springs metropolitan area, so seniors have easy access to big box stores for supplies. The median house price is $618,000, which is slightly higher than the state average. UCHealth Pikes Peak Regional is a top-rated hospital and is located just outside of Woodland for seniors to attend to their medical needs.

Colorado is the ideal place to retire for people who want to get outdoors and have fun. From the western slope to the front range, the state offers endless adventures such as hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. The Rocky Mountains are breathtaking, and the four seasons are magical to witness no matter what corner of the state you live in. Small mountain towns are right next to world-class ski resorts, while communities closer to Denver offer great medical facilities. Seniors will benefit from the low property taxes and retirement perks. Housing costs are a bit more here, but the price tag is outweighed by the unmatched scenery and high quality of life. Whether seniors are looking for a lively town or a quiet and small community, they will surely find it in Colorado. And while heading to the river or trekking one of the many fourteeners, this beautiful state might just become your forever home.

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