Discover 10 Affordable Mountain Towns in Colorado in 2022

We looked through all the latest data on cost of living and home prices to find the most affordable mountain towns in Colorado in 2022 for your next move.

Everyone dreams about living a quaint and rugged life in the Rocky Mountains, but many of the famous ski towns like Aspen, Vail, Telluride, and Breckenridge have gotten way too expensive in the last few years.

Therefore, we examined all of the charming mountain towns across the state to uncover the best hidden gems that are still relatively affordable and have homes available that cost less than the state average.

Our choices for the most affordable mountain towns in Colorado also take into consideration the desirability of each town, so that you would actually want to live in these places.

Affordable Mountain Towns in Colorado – Our Research Methodology

To determine the cheapest mountain towns in Colorado that are also nice places to live, we considered several main factors that make a town worth relocating to, such as:

  • Cost of living
  • Availability of affordable homes
  • Amenities and things to do
  • Safety
  • Overall livability 

Then, we gathered data from official sources like the US government and the FBI via sites like AreaVibes and Niche.com.

Then, we scored all of the mountain communities in Colorado based on these categories to find the most affordable Colorado mountain towns.

The Affordable Mountain Towns in Colorado for 2022

10. Manitou Springs

affordable-mountain-towns-in-colorado-manitou-springs

Population: 5,217
Cost of Living Index: 2% Above Colorado Average
Median Home Price: $570,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

We start off our list of the most affordable mountain towns in Colorado with Manitou Springs. It’s less than an hour drive from Pikes Peak and just four minutes from Rainbow Falls

It’s famous for its historic architecture and a great artistic culture, and although it mainly caters to tourists, it’s also quaint and homely.

There are various restaurants that offer a wide range of cuisines, and if you love to get outside, you’ll enjoy the local hikes and climbs.

The town embraces a fun atmosphere with an annual fruitcake toss, pie baking contests, ghost tours, ice cream events, and a lot more. If you’re interested in history, you’ll also enjoy the range of museums that the town has to offer.

In terms of living costs, it’s 4 percent lower than the national average, with cheap groceries but more expensive healthcare.

9. Salida

Population: 5,430
Cost of Living Index: 3% Below Colorado Average
Median Home Price: $545,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Salida is a cozy mountain town located where the Arkansas River runs from the valley into Bighorn Sheep Canyon.

It is small, but not tiny, and offers an excellent climate.

It has some great outdoor activities, including rafting and some history tours, and if you’re a fan of hot springs, you’ll be pleased to learn that it’s only about a 10 minute drive to the relaxing Poncha Springs.

Salida also has plenty of cultural significance. It was added to the National Register Of Historic Places in 1984, and birthed the Shavano Chapter of the Columbine Poets of Colorado.

Overall, it’s a quiet town that is good for families and has a nice, community feel, making it one of the top affordable mountain cities in Colorado.

8. Fairplay

affordable-mountain-towns-in-colorado-fairplay

Population: 797
Cost of Living Index: 6% Below Colorado Average
Median Home Price: $490,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Less than 100 miles from Denver, Fairplay offers a good nightlife and a nice variety of rural and suburban neighborhoods.

Its cost of living is about 6 percent lower than the average for Colorado, which can make a difference to your weekly budget. The town is best known for having inspired  the popular TV show South Park.

If you want to fall in love with some amazing scenery and try some great hiking trails, this is a fantastic place to live for all country-loving souls that want to escape from the chaotic rush of living in the big city, making it one of the best cheap mountain towns in Colorado.

7. Buena Vista

affordable-mountain-towns-in-colorado-buena-vista

Population: 2,690
Cost of Living Index: 7% Below Colorado Average
Median Home Price: $492,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

If you’re looking for cheap mountain towns in Colorado where you can combine small town life with a bit of vibrancy in the summer seasons, Buena Vista is a great place to live. It sees a lot of tourists during the warmer months, and has a good selection of outdoor activities and entertainment around the town.

Explore the parks, go ziplining, or try out some white water sports when the weather is hot. There are also climbing experiences if that appeals to you, and you can visit the twin lakes and Mount Elbert in just a half hour drive.

Overall, the atmosphere is friendly and the community is tight-knit, which is critical for such a small town.

6. Mancos

Population: 1,700
Cost of Living Index: 12% Below Colorado Average
Median Home Price: $429,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Mancos features a small-town feel where almost all of the residents know each other. Additionally, the crime rates in Mancos are very low, which makes it an attractive place for anyone, especially families looking for a cheap mountain town in Colorado. 

The town also provides all of its residents stunning views, and offers a wonderful community spirit.

Its cost of living is also low, which makes it a great option if you’re working on a budget, and it’s not far from the Ute Mountain Reserve and the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. It is nestled between Chicken Creek and the Mancos River, and if you fancy a trip out of town to go camping, you won’t have a long drive to handle.

Of all the affordable mountain towns in Colorado, this might be one of the best for getting out into nature.

5. Pagosa Springs

affordable-mountain-towns-in-colorado-pagosa-springs

Population: 1,966
Cost of Living Index: 17% Below Colorado Average
Median Home Price: $429,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

If you love outdoor life whatever the weather is, Pagosa Springs may be the place for you. It’s an old family town where all the residents know each other, feel connected, and help each other out.

As the name suggests, Pagosa Springs has some incredible hot springs, but you can also enjoy things like trail riding, Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park, a ski resort, and rafting experiences. Whatever you want to do, you’ll find something in Pagosa Springs.

Meanwhile, you’ll enjoy a lower cost of living than the average for Colorado, which makes this town attractive for families on a budget, although most people rent, rather than owning their properties.

4. Leadville

Population: 2,614
Cost of Living Index: 11% Below Colorado Average
Median Home Price: $350,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Only a 15 minute drive from Turquoise Lake, Leadville is another of the affordable mountain towns in Colorado, and it has a lot going for it. It’s also only 50 minutes from Mount Elbert, which makes it an ideal spot for anyone who wants to spend time out and about in nature.

It is also the highest town in all of North America, at over 10,000 feet above sea level.

The activities in Leadville include the scenic Leadville Southern Railroad, which offers a great blast from the past and incredible alpine scenery that will not fail to impress.

There’s also the National Mining Hall of Fame Museum, which is amazingly big given the small town that houses it.

In addition, there is a great range of restaurants and dining options, with multiple cafes, ethnic food, and some fantastic eating experiences.

3. Westcliffe

affordable-mountain-towns-in-colorado-westcliff

Population: 399
Cost of Living Index: 15% Below Colorado Average
Median Home Price: $353,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Westcliffe is tiny and quaint, and it has the atmosphere to match, with a good sense of community. It is also just an hour and a half from Colorado Springs. 

This is a wonderful place to be if you value peace and greenery, and most of the activities around the town reflect that. You can enjoy pack trips, trails, and camping. You can also have some fun with llama trekking and the town even has a little theater, too.

With the lower than average cost of living, this will appeal to anyone looking for cheap mountain towns in Colorado.

2. Alamosa

Population: 9,671
Cost of Living Index: 19% Below Colorado Average
Median Home Price: $236,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Although it’s still on the list of cheap mountain towns in Colorado, partly thanks to its amazingly low living costs and median home prices being below $250,000, Alamosa is one of the bigger towns on this list.

Because of its size, the town boasts access to some great amenities, including a wildlife refuge, Splashland, a recreation center, a brewery, a climbing wall, and much more.

You can also enjoy some excellent cuisine here, including a Mexican restaurant, some Chinese and Vietnamese food, and a great pizzeria.

There are also breweries to check out, and all in all, this is a very affordable place to live.

1. Trinidad

affordable-mountain-towns-in-colorado-trinidad

Population: 8,280
Cost of Living Index: 20% Below Colorado Average
Median Home Price: $182,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Just under a 2 hour drive from Colorado Springs, Trinidad is conveniently located on the I-25, and it offers some extraordinary surrounding views.

You may want to check out the Trinidad Lake State Park, which is just 8 minutes out of town, where you can camp, hike, and enjoy some stunning Colorado weather.

If you’re into history, there’s also the Trinidad History Museum that is packed with unique stories and features.

Trinidad is a wonderful place for those who enjoy the great outdoors, and with its highly attractive cost of living and low home prices, it is the most affordable mountain town in Colorado.

Affordable Mountain Towns in Colorado – Summary

Overall, the most affordable mountain towns in Colorado based on cost of living and home prices are:

  1. Trinidad
  2. Alamosa
  3. Westcliffe
  4. Leadville
  5. Pagosa Springs
  6. Mancos
  7. Buena Vista
  8. Fairplay
  9. Salida
  10. Manitou Springs

They all offer a relatively cheap way of life high in the mountains so that you can experience a quiet and rugged life for an affordable price.