The population of Hotchkiss is just under 1,000 people. The town is located between Blue Mesa Reservoir and Delta, Colorado on Highway 92. Hotchkiss is one of two towns on this list that was founded by pioneer Enos Hotchkiss, a civil war veteran that moved west with his two brothers Rosewell and Preston in the late 1860s from New York. After making his fortune in Lake City, CO mining gold, he moved to the North Fork Valley to enjoy milder winters where he established the namesake town.
While there are many recreation opportunities around Hotchkiss — as there are in most places in Colorado — Hotchkiss is not famous for its outdoor opportunities. Though Hotchkiss is certainly a beautiful place, it does not have spectacular views of high mountains and snow covered peaks like those found in the heart of the Rockies. Nor does Hotchkiss have the dramatic rock formations found in the deserts to the West.
The reason Hotchkiss is on this list is because of its climate.
Hotchkiss is located on the threshold between the high mountains of the Colorado Rockies and the deserts of Western Colorado. As a result, the valley in which Hotchkiss is located is large, lush and green and offers arguably the nicest year-round climate in the state.
Hotchkiss has temperate weather almost year around. The city does not suffer from the bitter cold winters that are typical of most of its neighboring towns. Neither does Hotchkiss suffer from the incredible summer heat that the Southwest is known for having. Hotchkiss is the best of both Colorado worlds: cool summers and warm winters.
Some of the attractions around Hotchkiss include the Black Canyon and the Gunnison Gorge as-well-as the Morrow Point, Crystal, Blue Mesa and Crawford Reservoirs. The San Juan National Forest — home of the world’s largest organism — is also close by.