Here in Colorado, we’ve got plenty of great activities for people to attend to. However, we are one of the best places for outdoor exploration.

You’ve got great trails that can lead you to some historic areas of natural devastation, like the remnants of the Castlewood Dam. You can also take great photos of abandoned places that fit in with the serenity of the Rockies at places like the Crystal Mill.

However, Colorado has no shortage of mountain towns, and over the years, they have received national acclaim for various reasons. It could be because of the natural coziness that makes them great for the winter. In other cases, they have been noted as great places to celebrate the holidays with family.

Recently, a study done by Architectural Digest was performed to find the Top 50 Best Mountain Towns in the country. As it would turn out, Colorado dominated the list with a total of 9 different mountain towns within the Top 50.

They ranked each town based on their climate, entertainment, and recreation options amongst other things. In the end, they gave each town a score. Let’s take a look into the top 3 Colorado Mountain towns first before diving into the others.

Third Best Mountain Town in Colorado, According to Architectural Digest: Ouray


According to the list, Ouray is the third-best mountain town in Colorado, coming in with a total score of 88.88. Within the Top 50, it just missed out on making the Top 10, coming in 11th.

Ouray has become a bit of a hotspot recently after gaining quite a bit of national attention for being the “Switzerland of America”.

Nestled in the Western Slope and right off the famous Million Dollar Highway, Ouray is a fantastic destination with a ton of history. Originally sitting on land that was occupied by the Ute Nation, it became a mining town in the late 1800s.

Since then, it has become a fantastic summer hotspot for people looking for a mountain getaway. They have a fantastic 4th of July celebration, where the local fire department sprays people with hoses. There’s also a ton of great hikes in the area.

Second Best Mountain Town in Colorado, According to Architectural Digest: Aspen


Architectural Digest placed Aspen as the second-best mountain town in Colorado. It also ranks 6th nationally, with a total score of 91.47.

They acknowledged it is probably the most recognizable mountain town on the whole list. It’s really not uncommon to hear about a celebrity visiting the town, for example. They acknowledge it is by far the most expensive place to settle down on the list, with the average home price going for $3.03 million.

There are other things to do than just going people-watching and going to expensive stores, however. It’s obviously well renowned for its world-class skiing, but there are still plenty of great snowshoe hikes you can take. You can also go ice skating, go tubing, ride an alpine coaster, or take a sleigh ride.

Best Mountain Town in Colorado, According to Architectural Digest: Telluride


Telluride is the highest finisher for Colorado on the list and placed second overall with a total score of 99.05. This is not the first time Telluride has received national attention like this, finishing first on Money Inc.’s list earlier this year. It was only beat out by Red Lodge, Montana for the top spot.

While Telluride’s housing market is extremely expensive, with the average home going for $1.8 million, this place is an absolute dream for tourists around the world.

Not only will you find elite skiing in the winter, but there are so many activities as well. You can do essentially everything you can do in Aspen during the winter, including going ice climbing and soaking in the natural hot springs.

However, summer in Telluride can be just as great. You can do the usual mountain activities, like taking hikes, but the historic town offers two amazing events as well. In June, you can head over to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival to see many national touring acts. On the other hand, the Telluride Film Festival takes place every Labor Day Weekend and showcases a ton of films with Oscar buzz.

With all this being said, it makes sense why Telluride takes the cake as Colorado’s best mountain town almost across the board.

The Other Six Mountain Towns That Placed on Architectural Digest’s List


Crested Butte came in at 44th place, with a total score of 71.79. It too serves as a great spot for both skiing and summer activities, like checking out the wildflowers.

Two towns were in the 30s Colorado, with that being Vail and Breckenridge. Vail placed 36th and had a final score of 74.31. Breckenridge placed 32nd with a score of 76.69.

Both Steamboat Springs and Glenwood Springs were placed in the 20s. Steamboat Springs finished 26th with a final score of 79.73, while Glenwood Springs placed 24th with a score of 80.42. 

Finally, Durango finished within the top 20, finding itself as the 18th-best mountain town with a final score of 84.96.

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