No matter that the median home price is quickly approaching a half-million dollars – Durango just ranked No. 3 on a list of “America’s 15 most livable hiking towns.”
The website RunRepeat, which focuses on shoe reviews, released the rankings based on a location’s opportunity for outdoor adventure, as well as “stable employment, affordable housing and access to ... arts, dining, education and culture.”
“Cities like Portland, Seattle, Denver, Boulder, and San Francisco are great places to live with obvious access to the outdoors, but we wanted to highlight places that didn’t require seven figures to own property,” RunRepeat wrote.
The website says Durango, unlike other popular Colorado mountain towns, has been immune from population growth, citing the city’s population 10 years ago at about 15,000 people compared with today’s – about 18,000.
It doesn’t take into account La Plata County’s overall population, however, which has had substantial growth over the past 10 years. About 49,600 people lived in the county in 2007. The population is now approaching 60,000.
RunRepeat wrote that Durango is the most expensive locale in the top 5, but argues the Southwest town “pales in comparison” to other nearby Colorado mountain towns.
The website does not underestimate Durango’s hiking opportunities, citing nearly 50 hikes and more than 115 miles of trails near town, including Animas Mountain Trail, Perins Peak and the Colorado Trail.
Though the rankings, published Aug. 20, do boast the “awe-inspiring canyon filled with broad vistas, breathtaking cliffs and little to-no human interaction” of the Hermosa Creek Trail, which was burned and closed after the 416 Fire this summer.
Regardless, RunRepeat says, “If you yearn for a taste of the Wild West, endless mountains and a gateway to both alpine and desert country, Durango offers everything a lover of the outdoors could ask for. Try it on and maybe soon you’ll be calling this hip little outpost home.”
The towns that bested Durango were Boise, Idaho, at No. 1 and North Conway, New Hampshire, at No. 2. The town of Asheville, North Carolina, placed at No. 4 and Dayton, Ohio, placed at No. 5.