Fort Collins Colorado Relocation Guide
Fort Collins, Colorado
Fort Collins, Colorado is one of the major choices for places to live in Colorado. It is located just a short drive
from Denver, making it an easy location to live in or to visit from the capital city! Fort Collins is a unique and
vibrant town, home to Colorado State University. Unlike in other Colorado cities, Fort Collins features both the
city life, snow-capped mountains, beautiful clear lakes and clear-running rivers. Fort Collins residents have no
trouble getting outdoors all year round. Fort Collins consistently finds itself on lists of the best places to live in
the United States. In 2003, it was even chosen as one of America’s best places to live by Men’s Journal magazine.
Fort Collins’ proximity to the mountains provides unmatched access to the beautiful, Coloradan outdoors.
Residents and Visitors can find a huge range of activities both in the mountains and right there in the city. No
matter what kind of activity you’re looking to do, you can happily find it in or close to Fort Collins. Below are
just a few of the great options for activities in Fort Collins.
One of the most beautiful and frequently visited sites in Fort Collins is Horsetooth Reservoir. Located only a few
minutes outside of Fort Collins, you can enjoy a wide range of activities, beautiful lodging and much more. The
history of the area contributes to the beauty of this area. In 1933, the Poudre Valley was years into a severe
drought and experiencing frequent dust storms. Farmers in the area realized they needed more water to satisfy
their crops and worked together and with the government to build the Horsetooth Reservoir.
While the reservoir still serves to quench the area’s thirst in times of drought, it is also used for recreation.
Today, the 6.5 mile-long reservoir is a favorite recreation spot for many residents for a variety of outdoor
activities. This area is frequently used by residents and visitors for water activities such as boating, fishing,
swimming, stand up paddle boarding, water skiing, and even sailing. Surrounding the reservoir are plenty of
trails perfect for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and enjoying a remote picnic. Along these trails you
may find excellent spots to enjoy rock climbing and bouldering.
You can even camp or set up your RV along the reservoir. If you don’t quite like the outdoor living grind, you
can cozy up in a condo or bed and breakfast in the local area. There are so many options for individuals and
families to enjoy the reservoir, there is no question as to why this is such a popular spot!
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is a must see for anyone living in or visiting Colorado. Fort Collins is the closest
large city to the vast and beautiful national park. With such close proximity, Fort Collins residents and visitors
have a full range of activities at their disposal.
Rocky Mountain National Park offers countless trails and areas perfect for the avid hiker or mountain biker. The
park is really quite spectacular. It covers 410 square miles and includes 18 peaks above 13,000 feet, 150 lakes and
a scenic road called Trail Ridge Road running through it. You can find beautiful spots suitable for a picnic if you
are looking to travel for a day trip, or great places to camp, if you are looking to spend a few days out in the
If outdoor adventure doesn’t excite you enough to spend your days and nights in the wilderness of the national
park, you can take Trail Ridge Road through the park and find the town of Estes Park, where you can enjoy the
small mountain town and observe wildlife from the comfort of your car. If you’re a fan of spooky things, you
can book a stay at the Stanley Hotel, where they filmed The Shining.
The Gardens on Spring Creek
The Gardens on Spring Creek are located in Fort Collins and offer its visitors with a Botanical Oasis of 12 acres
of botanic gardens and over 300 North American Butterflies. At the Gardens, you will find various garden
themes to explore such as designated areas for a Rock Garden, Sustainable Backyard, Foothills Garden, a Prairie
Garden and even more. The different gardens showcased are meant to show its viewers different kinds of
vegetation that grows in Colorado.
The Gardens can be enjoyed by people of all ages! Whether you are there to enjoy some nice family time,
maybe visiting for a romantic evening on a date, or bringing a group of school children there on a fieldtrip,
there is something for everyone. The Gardens also features a large, outdoor amphitheater where you can catch a
show while at your visit to the Garden.
The Fort Collins’ government website has a page dedicated to Recreational Activities. This page is meant to act
as the community’s resource for staying active and connected to the rest of the community. They offer
programs and activities for people of all ages and abilities in their quarterly recreation guide.
Aside from the sports offered through the school district program, there are plenty of both adult and youth
leagues for residents to participate in. If any traditional sports are your jam, then you will be sure to find an
option for you through the recreational information page of the Fort Collins’s website.
Camps and Summer Activities
Fort Collins offers many resources for children who are out of school for the summer. There are many options
for children’s summer camps and many other activities to keep them busy in the summer. There are camps for
art, sports, and for getting out into the outdoors.
Gyms and Rec Centers
There are plenty of options for residents to get active at the gym or take some laps around the recreation
center’s pool. Fort Collins residents are generally active, utilizing the outdoors for physical activity. If you are
looking to fit a workout into your busy day, just choose one of the gyms to join and you are all set! There are
plenty of options.
Fort Collins is located at the western base of the “Front Range”. This is basically where the mountains of the
West start to meet the plains of the Midwest. Fort Collins is about 65 miles north of Denver and just 45 miles
south of Cheyenne, Wyoming. The Cache La Poudre River runs through Fort Collins, while the dry Great Plains
lie just barely to the east. The city sits at an elevation of 5,003 feet above sea level, just a few hundred below that
of Denver, the Mile High City.
The geography of Fort Collins is consistent with many of the localities in Northern Colorado. However unlike its
neighbor to the east, Greeley, Fort Collins enjoys a more mountainous landscape. Like most of Colorado, Fort
Collins is a fairly dry place. Though it does feature the Cache La Poudre River and various mountain lakes for
Fort Collins has a comprehensive transportation system that brings its residents and visitors around the city and
to other near-by locations. Transfort is the public transportation system in Fort Collins and is proud to offer its
residents with excellent service that meets the community’s present and future transit needs.
Transfort has a staggering 23 routes, really offering all that they can to get people from place to place as easily as
possible. Most of the routes are local to the city, but others reach locations far outside of the municipality. The
FLEX is a regional bus route that services riders to get between Fort Collins, Loveland, Berthoud, Longmont and
The Transfort website is easy to navigate and they even have systems to track your bus. This allows you to find
the best route for you, see what time the bus is coming, how long your ride is and everything else you need to
know. A single ride on the Transfort is $1.25 with a discount for those above 60 and those who qualified as
disabled. Children and CSU students and faculty travel for free. Even the late night downtown ride service is
completely free. Transfort offers a paratransit service for individuals with disabilities. It is easy to use, just dial
the correct number and you can receive door to door service.
With such a large university local in the city, there are plenty of resources and amenities for residents and
visitors to enjoy. There are extensive shopping options both in the traditional mall, where you can find well-
known department stores and other retailers, as well as small boutique stores in the historic downtown. These
stores are locally owned and operated, giving residents a taste of the authentic heritage of the area.
There are plenty of recreational centers for Fort Collins’ locals to enjoy. Staying active is no problem when you
live in such close proximity to the beautiful outdoors. With the additional options of gyms and sports leagues,
there is no excuse not to get in or stay in shape!
There are so many delicious restaurants and bars to choose from while in Fort Collins. Wherever a college goes,
good bars usually follow. When people come from various locations to one city, there are bound to be delicious
cuisines from all over the country and world.
There are plenty of hospitals and care facilities in Fort Collins, which should bring residents comfort. There are
various hospitals that are equipped to deal with any issue you are experiencing. There are also specialty care
facilities that specialize in medical areas such as dental, orthodontic, vision, and child care centers. Whatever
needs you have will be met with full satisfaction in Fort Collins.
AVERAGE HOME SALES
As seen above, the cost of living analysis done by Best Places finds that Fort Collins is significantly more
expensive than other US locations and a bit more expensive than other places in Colorado. The median home
cost in Fort Collins is $389,700 compared to $384,000 for Colorado, and $231,200 for the United States.
While Fort Collins median home sales are above that of the Colorado average, if you want to live in an urban
area Fort Collins is an affordable option. Average home sales in areas close to Denver or Boulder are much
COST OF LIVING
Fort Collins is an affordable location to live in Colorado, but it is not necessarily cheap. Best Places does an
analysis of the affordability of locations and uses a scale of 100 to do this. The average cost of living in the
United States is 100, that is the standard. Fort Collins falls around 118.3 on this scale, making it a bit more
expensive than the nationwide average. On the other hand, the Coloradan average is 121.1, meaning Fort Collins
has a more affordable cost of living than most other places in Colorado.
Most other categories analyzed by Best Places lie below both the Coloradan and national average. Housing,
however, is a bit higher. The average cost of housing on the scale in Colorado is 166.1, while Fort Collins lies at
Fort Collins has a semi-arid climate, experiencing all four seasons (to the fullest extent). While the city does
boast 300 days of sunshine a year, the average snowfall averages around 55 inches! Luckily, the snow usually
melts within a few days due to the hot mountain sun that we see almost daily.
Though the area experiences a significant amount of snow, winter temperatures average around 57 degrees,
making it a fairly mild season. Summer highs usually reside around 85 degrees, with an average of a comfortable
71 degrees. All in all, the city averages 15 inches of rain every year, and 55 inches of snow.
Though it is a smaller city, Fort Collins offers a wide variety of shopping options for its residents and visitors.
The historic downtown offers shoppers a unique and fun experience. You’ll find one of a kind pieces at locally
owned and operated boutiques, or the flea markets and antique shops. Residents of Fort Collins will all tell you
about the artistic influence of the area. Art plays a large role in the community and this can be seen through the
vast number and variety of galleries in the area. These galleries cover a wide range of art including
contemporary, realistic, and even rock and roll history art. Small shops and galleries are in large populous
around the historic downtown, making it a great activity to walk through.
Scattered throughout the town, you can find western wear shops. Here, you will be reminded of the area’s
heritage while shopping for authentic cowboy boots, hats and bolo ties. Western art is also at no shortage, you
can find this in galleries or in these western wear shops.
In a more typical fashion these days, the city also has a Foothills Mall which features retailers that are regional,
national and international. The local mall has all the amenities of big city shopping, including large department
stores, delicious restaurants and even a movie theatre. In the winter months, you can take your family for a nice
skate on the ice rink located on the mall’s lawn.
Fort Collins resides in the Poudre School District where there are around 30,000 students and 53 schools in the
district. The area offers a significant number of public schools that are comprised of traditional K-12 schools,
elementary schools, middle schools and high schools.
There are around 20 private schools in Fort Collins. These 20 schools all offer various specialties, meaning there
is absolutely the potential for you and your student to find an education system and structure that fits their
unique needs perfectly. There are plenty of pre-school options for your little ones to attend before they are able
to get into the traditional school system.
In addition to the private and public K through 12 schools offered in the area, Colorado State University is also
located in the municipality. CSU is a public university that offers students an excellent education with affordable
in-state tuition if applicable. Many of the high schools in the area take advantage of the college and even offer a
partnership where students have the ability to take some courses at the university. This is meant to invigorate
the high school curriculum and give students access to higher-education courses.