Land Prices in Cortez: For $80,000 you can buy more than 5 acres—with water tap—that are dotted with pinon and juniper and offer views of the La Plata Mountains and Mesa Verde.
Why we love it: When most people think of Colorado, they think of the annoying conga line of traffic heading west from Denver into the hills. But there’s more to the state than the vast exurb sprawling off I-70. Take Cortez.
Located in the Four Corners region of the state—where you can straddle UT, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado simultaneously—Cortez sits on the high desert, while offering tantalizing views of the San Juan’s sky-scouring peaks. The town itself is a jumping-off point for all kinds of tourist destinations, including Mesa Verde National Park, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, the Ute Tribal Park, the stunning Dolores River Canyon, two scenic byways and much more.
Cortez attracts down-to-earth, outdoorsy types; the town itself has 294 acres of parks, trails, nature areas and preserves, a disc golf course as well as traditional links, great Mexican food restaurants (Navajo tacos!) and no Starbucks. Good mud can be had from one of the town’s independent java joints such as the Silver Bean, which operates out of a vintage Airstream.
Why you’ll love it: An intimate wine and arts festival where you can actually talk to the vintners, temperate weather, a diverse population, great farmer’s markets for sourcing local meats and produce, and only 45-minutes from phenomenal skiing at Durango Mountain Resort.
A bit off the beaten track—Cortez is 275 miles from Albuquerque, the closest big city—but nonetheless is attracting retirees and families who want to live in a beautiful, friendly place.
Cortez Web Resources: www.visitmesaverde.com/
Photos by: www.visitmesaverde.com