Colorado’s #1 secret getaway for recreation—or relocation
Kayak or paddleboard down the beautiful White River. Photo Courtesy: Rangely
Just ask Cindy and her husband, Mark. They were driving around Colorado on a recreational trip and decided to find a cool place to move—far from the hustle and bustle of where they lived in Brighton. They ended up loving Rangely so much that in a matter of months, they were settled into a beautiful yet reasonably-priced house in La Mesa, a development with homes that back up to acres of pristine Colorado wilderness owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Their taxes were slashed by 75% compared to their former Denver digs. OHV aficionados, Cindy and Mark now can ride their ATV and OHV out of their garage and into acres of Bureau of Land Management land. Rangely is home to the state’s only natural rock crawling park for off road vehicles—and just miles from peaceful Kenney Reservoir, where Cindy and Mark like to fish.
Cindy said that Rangely’s friendly welcome and small-town feel convinced them on their very first trip. The town also sponsors many events and activities, such as picnics, barbeques and other fun chances to meet and greet your neighbors. “If you thought the classic, American small town was a thing of the past, it’s still alive and well in Rangely,” she said.
“And when you walk out on the front porch, the Milky Way seems so close, you feel like you can reach out and touch it,” said Marketing Coordinator for the Town of Rangely Jeannie Caldwell. “Less light pollution means a nighttime walk in Rangely sparkles with stars you never knew existed.”
Rangely’s got it all
Just ask Kenney Reservoir boaters and fishing enthusiasts. Or hikers who marvel at the rock art in Painted Canyon or the high-desert vistas of Dinosaur National Monument, only 22 miles outside of town. Cedar Ridge, an immaculate nine-hole golf course, awaits your enjoyment as well as a recreation center with ample lanes for daily laps. Once you’re 63, the rec center is free—and graduated high schoolers who live here attend the highly-rated Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) with free tuition assistance from the Rangely Junior College District. That shaves thousands off the bill when transferring credits to a four-year degree elsewhere. Some students may opt to take advantage of generous starting salaries for those with Aviation or Dental Hygiene degrees–both majors are offered at CNCC. Or they can join the rodeo team!
“We’re happy to talk to anyone about the life we offer here in Rangely—whether it’s sharing our town and its surrounding playground with tourists for a weekend or weeks; or welcoming new folks who move here, you’ll get a neighborly feeling when you spend time with us,” said Caldwell.
The good life
You can buy a farm adjacent to Rangely’s wide open spaces or source a small-town, nearly crime-free apartment in the charming town center. A regional hospital, one of the highest rated of its kind in Colorado, provides additional peace of mind. There’s not a lot of traffic but a great information superhighway, thanks to the fiber optic cables that deliver lightning speed to remote workers’ Wi-Fi. Prior to working for the town, Caldwell worked remotely for a Cincinnati company for over a year from her home in Rangely. The upshot? Moving into Rangely means you’ve hit the jackpot: a lower cost of living in the Colorado high country.
Rangely is nestled in the White River Valley, and home to wild horses, deer, elk, antelope, migratory birds, coyotes, eagles, hawks, and mountain lions. The kids will love spotting their favorites from the car on the Dinosaur Diamond Byway—or on a hike around town.
Once the Rec Center reopens, kids can spend an afternoon at the pool, which includes a fun waterslide; or hit up the game room while Mom and Dad play racquetball in one of the courts (call for reservations – 970-675-8211). Daily admission for non-residents is just $2.50 per child; $3.50 for adults and $1.00 for seniors.
Fishing, rock climbing, hunting
Wintertime marks the opening of the Rec Center’s lighted outdoor skating pond—just bring your own hot chocolate in a thermos or visit one of the restaurants downtown after a twirl or two on the ice.The fall brings aspiring and seasoned hunters alike to Rangely — 28,000 people hunt here each year, probably because it boasts one of the largest elk populations in the world. For fishers among your family, Camper Park Ponds at the east end of Rangely is stocked each year with up to 1,000 trout.
There’s also a climbing gym at Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) that offers indoor climbing instruction year-round. In the winter, the college builds a 50 ft. ice tower and provides equipment to visitors and residents alike to clamp on their “crampons” and learn a super-fun, cold weather sport. Call CNCC for hours and more information.
A real Jurassic Park
Dinosaur National Monument was founded to preserve one of the world’s largest discoveries of Jurassic Age fossils—talk about a real Jurassic Park! Book a white water rafting trip you’ll never forget along the Green or Yampa Rivers. There’s tons of camping in the area with room to roam—you and the kids can really log some quality time far from the madding crowd. Many families source supplies in Rangely for their trip to the Monument, including paddleboard and inner tube rentals for use here and at the Reservoir closer to town. Lake Avery is also close to town (12 miles east) and features calm waters for even the youngest swimmers to enjoy.
Rangely has its own dinosaur mascot—Walter the hadrosaur. Science teacher Ellis Thompson-Ellis and her husband, Josh Ellis, were walking their dog outside city limits in 2014. Their Great Dane, Walter, randomly took a seat on the dino’s hip bone. Walter was eventually airlifted to the Craig campus of CNCC’s paleontology department after student paleontologists from CNCC and across the globe joined in the dig. The find is significant because skin-based impressions from the 75,000 year old fossilized Walter provide insights into these duck-billed dinosaurs’ appearance and biology.
Visit the pictographs and petroglyphs—the first is painted, the second, carved in stone—of the Ute and Fremont Native American tribes at Canyon Pintado, the “Painted Canyon.” Trails are variably accessible—with some impassable in muddy weather; yet many are graveled and perfect for OHVs, hiking or mountain biking. Inquire at the Chamber offices about guided tours here and at Dinosaur National Monument—you can even hire a White River Guide to take you and the family down the stretch of the river that starts in Rangely, with gorgeous campsites all along the water.
Rangely welcomes calls to its Chamber office for more details about where to source family fun on your next big trip—or to plan to relocate at one of Colorado’s most beautiful areas—with the friendliest neighbors around. Call (720) 505-7780 to reach the Town of Rangely’s Jeannie Caldwell. Like them on Facebook, too!