Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Grand Junction, Colorado
Unassuming Grand Junction Sits Next to Two Rivers on a High Desert Plateau in Rugged Western Colorado and Has an Eclectic Population, a Cozy Downtown and Abundant Outdoor Recreation
Mellow Grand Junction sits at the confluence of the Colorado River and the Gunnison River on a high desert plateau west of the Rocky Mountains in rugged western Colorado. It dates from the 1880s and has had a history of cattle ranching, farming and energy exploration. Today, it is home to Mesa University (11,000 students).
An unassuming, quiet place, Grand Junction has a mix of outdoor types, families and retirees in addition to college kids. The downtown area is cozy and cute with outdoor restaurants, art galleries, sculptures, breweries and tree lined streets. The University's lovely Moss Performing Arts Center hosts music and theater productions. Grand Junction is also known as a mountain biking hub, with riders coming from across the West to test their skills on nearby world class, single lane mountain trails. Residents enjoy hiking and camping in nearby, canyon-laced Colorado National Monument and rafting and fishing along the rivers. The paved Riverfront Trail takes walkers and riders from downtown to the town of Loma, 20 miles away.
Neighborhoods within town are typically suburban and well maintained with bungalows, ranch ramblers and raised ranch ramblers. Downtown has a variety of home styles, including lofts and early-19th century homes. Outside of town, beautiful properties are nestled in the scrub brush and rocky red terrain. Gorgeous Redlands Mesa is a master planned development that is often called one of the world's most exceptional golf course communities.
Population: 68,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 40%
Cost of Living: 4% above the national average
Median Home Price: $425,000
Climate: This area has a semi-arid to arid climate. Summer temperatures can reach 100 degrees, and winter temperatures are in the teens, 20s and 30s. On average, the area receives 8 inches of rain and 20 inches of snow per year. The elevation is 4,640 feet above sea level.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes (and one is a Level IV adult trauma center and one is a Level II adult trauma center).
Public Transit: Yes, and the city has a regional airport. Amtrak has a station here with daily service to California and Chicago.
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 39%
Is Colorado Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The Grand Valley, where Grand Junction resides, is a "bathtub" that traps bad air. Mesa County has an ordinance that limits open burning - weeds, yard waste and farm fields - but a large wildfire in California or Utah can still affect ground-level air, making life difficult for people with respiratory issues.
Notes: Grand Junction sits along Interstate 70 but can still feel a little isolated. The population has grown 10% during the last decade, and home prices have increased 2% since a year ago.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Similar to California, the Colorado area was surrendered to the United States in 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War. It did not become a state until 1876, 100 years after the nation's birth.
The Centennial State's geography includes high plains, deserts, foothills, and mountains. Its Rockies are part of the 3,000-plus mile geologic uplift known as the North American Cordillera. More than 50 of the Cordillera's peaks taller than 14,000 feet are in Colorado. Outdoor recreation ranges from backpacking and climbing to road cycling and skiing.
With roots in mining and agriculture, Colorado's economy has branched in many directions. It currently has a high concentration of tech and scientific research companies. Food processing, manufacturing, and tourism round out the state's industries.
The Centennial State maintains a long list of superlatives. It has the highest paved road, the deepest geothermal hot spring, and the nation's largest concentration of scenic byways. Colorado is the only state in the Union to reject the Olympics and one of the first to legalize recreational marijuana.
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