”Colorful Colorado” — nicknamed so because of its extreme differences in geography from one side of the state to the other — is arguably the most diverse and visually spectacular state in the Union. Colorado has the highest mountains in the Continental United States; large tracts of land covered in forest; portions of the Desert Southwest; steep, high-volume rivers; and over 345 sunny days per year.
Within the continental United States, 80% of the mountain peaks with elevations of at least 14,000 feet are found in Colorado. The coldest places in the lower 48 are in Colorado — Gunnison drops below zero 60 days of the year. The largest river in the West, a river with the state’s namesake, begins in the Centennial State. The deepest, narrowest canyon in the United States, the Black, is in Colorado. And, the largest organism on the planet is in Colorado, a grove of Quaking Aspen near Hotchkiss.
While the entire state has a great deal to offer, there are gems within the God’s country that is Colorado. The top 21 towns/small cities in Colorado are:
The only municipality in Mineral County, CO, Creede is at the eastern end of the San Juan Mountain Range. Creede has a year-round population of only 400 people, but that number increases dramatically during the summer months as visitors flood into the San Juans for vacation and recreation.
Like many of the one-time mining towns of the San Juans that were established during the gold and silver rush of the 1890s, Creede’s economy is now driven by tourism. Creede’s visually spectacular geography and its wide range of recreation activities — hiking, climbing, mountain and road biking, rafting and kayaking, ATV trails and 4×4 roads — keep the town buzzing from May until August. From September until November, the town provides lodging and services for bear, moose, deer and elk and duck and goose hunters.
Creede is one of the most beautiful places in Colorado. It would be higher on the list if it had a ski area next to the town or a big river to run in a raft. In terms of beauty, however, there are few places in Colorado that can match the aesthetics of Creede. While there are other mining towns in Colorado that have produced more riches — though they are few and far between — Creede is home to some of the biggest names in the history of the West.
Calamity Jane spent a good deal of time in Creede as did Bat Masterson. Robert Ford, the coward that shot Jesse James in the back of the head as he hung a picture above the fireplace mantle in his home was shot in the back of his head as he played poker in Creede.
Some of the attractions around the town of Creede are the Rio Grande National Forest, which is 1.8 million acres large, the headwaters of the Rio Grande River and the Wolf Creek Ski Area, which is within an hour’s drive.