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Along a River Deep in the Spectacular Rocky Mountains, Little Dolores is an Outdoor Adventure Hub Popular with Rafters, Cyclists, Fishermen and More
Seven thousand feet above sea level in rugged southwestern Colorado, the scenery is breathtaking and the air is thin. It is here in a canyon at the mouth of the Dolores River Valley near the eastern edge of McPhee Reservoir that Dolores makes its home. A ranching community in the 1870s, the little town was later kept alive by the railroad.
With the San Juan National Forest to the east and the Canyon of the Ancients to the west, today Dolores is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts. Residents are a hardy bunch and spend weekends fishing, camping, hiking, biking, rafting and cross country skiing. Tourists stop in on their way to explore the ancient cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park, 20 miles to the south. The small downtown is along the river and includes shops, a handful of hotels and motels, the Dolores River Brewery and the Dolores Food Market, which carries gourmet items. The Dolores River Festival is a town highlight and features great food and toe tapping music. The farmers' market happens every Wednesday and runs from May to October. Thirty acres of pretty parks with ball fields, trails and river access provide further ways to play outside.
Homes include cabins, chalets, ranch ramblers and Victorians. Three RV parks cater to road warriors and are nestled in the woods. Trendy, upscale Telluride, home to the Telluride Blues Festival, the Telluride Film Festival, the Telluride Jazz Festival and numerous celebrities, is just an hour and a half away.
Population: 950 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 45%
Cost of Living: Meets the national average
Median Home Price: $410,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 70s and 80s, and winter temperatures are in the single digits and teens. On average, the area receives 18 inches of rain and 68 inches of snow per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez, eight miles away, accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez, eight miles away, is accredited and is an Adult Level IV trauma center.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes, and both it and the community center have clubs and classes.
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 37%
Is Colorado Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Notes: Dolores started to lose a bit of population in 2020 but it is rebounding. This is a remote place with one two-lane highway in and one two-lane highway out. Winters are long but summers are spectacular. The town plows roads in the winter but residents complain that it does not remove snow berms created by the plowing. Locals value their privacy. Wifi is available. Home prices have increased 14% since last year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the isolated location should be kept in mind.
Similar to California, the Colorado area was surrendered to the United States in 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War. It did not become a state until 1876, 100 years after the nation's birth.
The Centennial State's geography includes high plains, deserts, foothills, and mountains. Its Rockies are part of the 3,000-plus mile geologic uplift known as the North American Cordillera. More than 50 of the Cordillera's peaks taller than 14,000 feet are in Colorado. Outdoor recreation ranges from backpacking and climbing to road cycling and skiing.
With roots in mining and agriculture, Colorado's economy has branched in many directions. It currently has a high concentration of tech and scientific research companies. Food processing, manufacturing, and tourism round out the state's industries.
The Centennial State maintains a long list of superlatives. It has the highest paved road, the deepest geothermal hot spring, and the nation's largest concentration of scenic byways. Colorado is the only state in the Union to reject the Olympics and one of the first to legalize recreational marijuana.
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