Top 10 Reasons NOT to Move to Salida, Colorado

As many regular readers are probably aware, my wife and I recently relocated to the small mountain town of Salida, Colorado. While at first new moves are an exciting prospect filled with grand plans for the future, usually after I’ve lived in a place for a while I start having regrets… mover’s remorse, if you will.

View of Salida from the nearby Arkansas Hills Trail System.

So on that note, I give you the top 10 reasons that you should NOT move to Salida.

1. Not enough people.

With a population of only a little over 5,000, there just aren’t enough people in the town of Salida. If you enjoy sitting in gridlocked city traffic, fighting your way through crowded shopping malls, or standing in long lines at the grocery store, then Salida is NOT for you. Ever since moving here, I have sorely missed spending hours creeping through 5 lanes of exhaust-filled traffic just to get to the other side of town.

I mean, what kind of town doesn’t have a rush hour?! Instead, Salida has a beautiful historic downtown district that you can easily walk to, and is a quiet, safe community where kids ride their bikes to school and to the park. Where’s the fun in that?

Rush hour in Salida. Photo: chaffeecounty.net

2. Too many bike shops to choose from.

Despite not having enough people in town, there are too many bike shops to choose from. I mean, seriously: how do you choose which bike shop to go to if there are three (count ’em) awesome bike shops run by great people within two blocks of each other? I don’t want options: force me to only go to one shop because there isn’t another one within 50 miles, please.

3. Too many trails to choose from.

Whenever I get out the map and look at the massive network of trails in the greater Salida region as I decide where to ride on the weekend, I start to get overwhelmed and panicky. You see, I have this thing, where when I can’t make a decision I start hyperventilating and get all light-headed and dizzy. Not only that, but I get horrible gas and start farting constantly. I get that way when I look at the trail map, because there are just too many trails to choose from. I guess I just won’t be able to make a decision, otherwise I might have a nervous breakdown: I’ll just have to ride the 20-mile singletrack trail system that starts a half-mile from my back door.

Big mountains.

4. Too much snow in the winter.

The high-alpine trails that Salida is most known for get buried every winter under an average of 350 inches of the white stuff. If you want to go up in the mountains during the middle of winter, you’re going to have to resign yourself to breaking out the downhill skis and arcing waist-deep (or deeper) turns in Colorado’s champagne powder all winter long.

That said, if it’s going to snow… I want to shovel some snow, dangit! I just love having to unbury my truck before driving to get groceries, and I just love spending all evening shoveling my side walk, just so I can walk to the mailbox. But unfortunately, it only rarely snows in town. So despite the fact the alpine trails get buried, I don’t even get to spend time shoveling! Blasphemy!

Skiing powder at Monarch Mountain. Photo: Monarch Mountain Facebook Page.

5. Trails too hot in the summer.

The in-town trails just get too dang hot in the summer, thanks to the high-desert environment and lack of shade. Riding during the middle of the day on the lower trails can just be scalding. Unfortunately, if you move here, you’ll have to either get up before noon, resign yourself to cooling down on the world-class high-elevation trails, or just wait until the middle of winter to ride in-town… because remember, we don’t get to freaking shovel snow here.

Riding the Monarch Crest Trail above Salida, at 12,000ft.

6. Your car will collect dust.

Not only is there no traffic to sit in in Salida, but the stores, restaurants, and parks are all so close to the residential community that you might not even get to drive your car. Since it takes more time to start your car, go around the block, and find a parking spot than it does to just walk or bike, your car might start gathering dust. Add to that the dozens of different ride combinations that are accessible right from town, and your vehicle will start to feel neglected. Poor car 🙁

7. You’ll need to buy another bike… or 2 or 3.

Since your car will collect dust, you’ll just have to buy a townie bike for cruising to the post office and the bank. Oh, and some of the trails are so gnarly that you’ll just have to buy an all-mountain bike, but of course you’ll have to keep your cross country bike for the flowier trails and all the gravel road riding. And while you’re at it, you might as well pick up a road bike so that you can ride some of the passes, too.

8. Too many tourists.

While of course you just love sitting in traffic and you would miss it so terribly much in Salida, if there’s one thing I’m sure you can’t stand, it’s tourists. Salida just has too dang many of them… make them go away! Never mind the fact that Salida receives just a fraction of the tourists that places like Breckenridge, Crested Butte, Aspen, and just about every other town in Colorado receive. Also, never mind the fact that even though Salida doesn’t get as many tourists as these other places, the tourists that do come in help support a wide variety of restaurants and lodging establishments that a town of 5,000 would not otherwise have.

Look at all the people on these trails.

9. The trail system isn’t complete.

If you’re going to move somewhere, you want to move somewhere where the trail system is complete, don’t you? Well, don’t move to Salida then. These people don’t know when to call it quits: they keep adding new trails to the existing trail systems, and they keep working on connecting all the different long-distance trails and in-town trail systems together into one big network. Don’t you know when it’s time to call it a finished product, people?

10. You won’t want to travel anymore.

Speaking on a personal note, one of my favorite things about mountain biking is traveling to ride new places. Perhaps you feel the same way, too. One of the worst things about Salida is that the mountain bike trails are just so good and the mountains are just so gorgeous here, that I just don’t want to travel to anywhere else anymore. Everywhere I go, it just doesn’t measure up to Salida, and I’m left feeling disappointed. I guess I’m just going to have to stay home, then.

14ers off in the distance.

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