Wondering about Colorado front range area

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Looking to relocate to Colorado front range area; Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs and outlying areas. Can anyone give me some idea about that area. Weather (good or bad?), can you garden there? soil? how expensive is land? Homeschooling? Any strange zoning or things to watch out for in buying land? Any information would be helpful! Thank you. Renee

-- Renee Wahlen (aerie@dotnet.com), February 21, 2002


I lived in Wyoming/Montana for a number of years and had friends in Denver and Colorado Springs.

First: Very expensive. Lots of people moving into the area. That entire "strip" from Ft. Collins in the north, to Colorado Springs in the south is being built up at an incredible rate and has been for the last 10/15 years or more.

Weather is pretty much "high desert/mountain" ... closer you get to the mountains the more snow you're going to have. It may not be as long a winter as you get in the mountain areas further north in Montana and Wyoming, but there is a lot of snow, it does get cold ... less of course down around Colorado Springs, more north around Ft. Collins.

It's dry ... there are water problems, rainfall is very limited ... like I said, this is sort of a "high desert" type climate. If you're used to weather in Idaho/Utah/Montana ... northern California mountains ... you'll like the weather. If you think the southeast is wonderful and are used to a lot of spring/summer rainfall you may not.

The zoning regulations are getting tighter all the time with all the people moving into the area. Different counties will even have different regulations, plus the state regulations. Check, don't figure on a resident even being able to tell you what the newest ones are.

On the other hand, it's beautiful country ...

-- SFM (sportpony@yahoo.com), February 21, 2002.

My sister used to live there. She loved it, but she mentioned she had to fertilize the lawn a few tims a year to keep it green.

-- Terri (hooperterri@prodigy.net), February 21, 2002.

Would agree with SFM on everything. Water is getting to be a big problem on the front range. There are way too many people and not enough water and they are constantly fighting and trying to take water from the farmers in the San Luis Valley and even trying to get water from us here on the Western Slope. Water rights are a BIG issue here. Also, you have to be aware of what your rights may be when you buy land here. You may own the land but you might not own the water rights or the mineral rights, etc.

My grandparents built a cabin in 1960 in Green Mt. Falls (which is just outside of Colorado Springs, at the foot of Pike's Peak) I spent my summers there for the next 10 years. It was beautiful then but now with all the people you have smog just like LA. Thick, yucky, brown smog that will obscure your view of the mts. I have friends that live in Colorado Springs and when ever we go to see them I am so glad when we can leave that smog behind. There is constuction everywhere. All I see is houses and concrete now.

I would not want to live on the front range (just my personal opinion) and I do have lots of family in the Denver area, too. Way too expensive there. Research it carefully.

-- Billie in W. CO (bbsowell@earthlink.net), February 21, 2002.

I live in the area you specified, halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs. I agree with the post above. This is no longer homesteading type country, you cannot buy land and plunk a trailer on it. The soil on my acreage is sandy, but a little bit north of me it is clay. Growing season is from May 20 to September 10. High altitude makes it hard, not impossible, to grow tomatoes, peppers and melons. As mentioned above water is a problem we get about 13 inches of precipitation per year. Right here I have Ponderosa pine trees, known as the Black Forest, slow growing so depending on them for a wood supply is not feasible.

Land is expensive. Developers buy the old ranches and turn them into developments with covenants, many where no animals allowed. This area used to be cattle ranches. Land to the far north of Denver is farming country at a lower altitude where the soil is better and gardening is easier.

This areas' job market has been hit with layoffs like everywhere else.

Hope this helps.

Wilma in Colorado

-- Wilma F. Johnstone (WilmajWilma@netscape.net), February 21, 2002.

SFM, Billie and Wilma are absolutely correct. And, you'd better have a high paying job(s) if you intend to live there. While prices are lower NE of Boulder the distance necessary to travel to/from work are horrendous. Everytime I travel I-25 or I-76, I think I'm in So. California.

As anyone who knows anything about I-70 East can attest, those who moved out to Parker are anything but country anymore. The airport migrated with them and soon afterward their quiet skies became no more.

Wyoming is cheaper, but I must stress, you need multiple jobs if you're even thinking about living here. High elevation is not easy to deal with let alone live in. Anything above 7000-ft is difficult and if you're not in good condition, the health services are poor.

-- George (wycowboy2@yahoo.com), February 21, 2002.

I also agree with what has been posted. I live about 30 minutes North of Denver. This area used to be fairly inexpensive, but the cost of living has skyrocketed. 2 yrs ago we bought a very rundown modular (1600sq ft) on 1.3 acres for $125,000. We'd been looking for *2 YEARS* for horse property we could afford! We just had the place appraised for $165,000 cuz we are looking to relocate. Most of the homes in this area are selling for even more. My parents live south of denver on 7 acres with nice home, barn, and metal garage. They bought 9 yrs ago for $129,000 and currently appraised for $250,000. This is a modest home (1200 sq ft) in need of some minor remodeling. As far as weather goes it depends on what you like. My hubby & I are both from warm places (CA & TX) and both think it's quite cold here. But we have friends who just love it here. The mountains are beautiful. We get quite a bit of spring rain, but have had several flash floods. Lots of hail damage too (we've had our home repaired 2xs in one year!). Snow varies. This year is very dry, hardly any snow & that will hurt ski business & water dependant farmers. There have been layoffs, but there seems to be plenty of hands-on & entry level jobs still. Anything medical in in high demand & pays well. If you have to commute you need to know that traffic sucks! I grew up in So CA and can tell you the traffic here is just as bad. And yes, we do have smog but I personally don't find it as bas as CA smog was. I hate to sound totally negative, but the bad outweighs the good in our opinion. Our mane beef is the SKY HIGH cost of living. That is why we are looking into other areas.

-- ellie (elnorams@aol.com), February 21, 2002.

All I know is that it's very expensive - lots of people moving in from Texas, California. It is a beautiful place of God's green earth, though, that's for sure! ;)

-- hmm (h.m.metheny@att.net), February 21, 2002.

Renee: I live about 30 miles east of Colorado Springs. Here raw land, no well or power is going for $1000 to $2000 per acre. If you are careful and don't buy in a "subdivision", you won't have all the covenants to deal with, but we recently got zoning, so you can't put an old shack up anymore without having building inspections, etc. Yes, you can garden, we do. You can't irrigate like you can in some places, unless you buy someplace with a commercial well on it. You have to be careful to get a permit for a "domestic" well if you wish to water livestock or gardens. If you want more specifics about this area, or any info I can help with, email me. Jan

-- Jan in Co (Janice12@aol.com), February 22, 2002.

Jan,I was waiting to see if you'd answer. We are quite a ways north of Jan but same prices. We are in Weld county, which surrounds Greeley. I work just outside of Denver...30 miles...30 minute commute (no traffic). There are good deals in Colorado...it depends what you want. I LOVE the weather.

-- DW in CO (djwallace@ctos.com), February 23, 2002.

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