Living in Westcliffe & Custer County
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Even if you’ve visited Westcliffe a handful of times, you’re probably wondering, “What is it like to live here?”
(And if you haven’t been here, let’s plan your visit!)
To help answer that question, we’ve put together guides on Westcliffe in the summer, fall, winter and spring. And you can also check out our guide to a few of the activities found in and around Custer County.
But to give you a better sense for the community—and some of the more practical questions you have may have about living here—keep reading.
Community & Lifestyle
Westcliffe is truly a one-of-a-kind town. It’s one of the last places you can live surrounded by natural beauty of this magnitude–without crowds, traffic, and eye-popping real estate prices.
More and more, it’s a refuge for people seeking an escape from the Front Range congestion.
Here, it’s easy to enjoy the Great Outdoors in peace and solitude. The Wet Mountain Valley is true ranching country. At last count, 7.5% of the population in Custer County live on farms and ranches, compared to just 1.4% for the state of Colorado. Furthermore, 40% of Custer County’s land is State and Federally owned, and most of the Sangre de Cristo range is designated a National Wilderness area. Plenty of elbow and breathing room.
While small in size, Westcliffe is large in charm. Our picturesque downtown, set in the shadows of the Sangre De Cristo mountains, is home to art galleries, boutiques, and shops. Farmers markets, concerts in the park, plays, and parades fill our event calendar. You really can be as busy as you want to be here.
But one of the most special parts about living in Custer County is, without doubt, the genuine sense of community. It sounds trite. Until you get here and experience it yourself.
It’s more than just knowing your neighbors. Or being on a first-name basis with your UPS driver. It’s a neighbor happily volunteering to plow your driveway. Or your butcher knowing to save your favorite cut of meat.
There’s a genuine ‘neighbors helping neighbors’ feel, and a camaraderie that makes it easy to make new friendships. It’s a small town filled with truly great people. And we’d love to have you join us.
While, thankfully, Westcliffe is somewhat off the beaten path, it’s within easy reach to several urban areas.
Denver is a 3 hour drive north, and Colorado Springs is 90 minutes northeast. In addition, Pueblo, Canon City, and the fun town of Salida are each within an hour drive.
The Colorado Springs Airport (COS) offers direct flights into ten major U.S. cities: Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Orlando. And a shuttle service from Colorado Springs to Denver International Airport also runs several times daily. For those making the journey via private plane, SilverWest Airport is just 9 miles south of Westcliffe.
Amenities & Entertainment
Larger towns are easily accessible from Custer County, but you’ll likely find little need to leave for amenities and services. In fact, for a county of our size, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the quantity and quality of options.
Below are just a few highlights. To explore more, be sure to check out the Custer County online business directory or FindItinCusterCounty.com. (And if you need recommendations, I’m happy to help any time – just contact me.)
Health & Fitness
Movies & theatre
Westcliffe’s Cliff Lanes is a state-of-the-art bowling alley with 8 lanes, plus an arcade, community room, and restaurant.
Custer County, and Colorado in general, is very dog-friendly. Find excellent local veterinary care at Cliffes Veterinary Clinic or High Peaks Animal Hospital. For some fun, take your four-legged friend to Dundee Memorial Dog Park in Silver Cliff. This off-leash, fenced dog park features agility equipment and a splash pool.
Of course, you can find comprehensive, excellent medical care 60 to 90 minutes down the road in Salida, Pueblo, or Colorado Springs.
But now thanks to Custer County Medical Center, you don’t have to travel at all for many services.
Their growing team provides outpatient care, limited emergency care, referrals, basic x-rays, lab services, on-site physical therapy and visiting specialists. A prescription vending machine also means you can receive common drugs on-site. And best yet, they recently partnered with Salida’s Heart of the Rockies Medical Center, which opens up opportunities like visiting specialists and direct-access laboratory services.
Custer County School District is a PreK-12 public school system with quality education and a a variety of clubs and athletic activities, including football, basketball, band, drama, Future Farmers of America, and more.