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Old 11-06-2018, 06:54 AM
1 posts, read 196 times
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We are retired and thinking of moving to South Fork area . Tired of traffic and crowds in Denver. Love outdoor activities. What is it like to live in South Fork?
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Old 11-06-2018, 08:39 AM
Location: Colorado Springs
2,686 posts, read 1,693,659 times
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You certainly will avoid traffic and crowds. South Fork is quiet, occasionally cold, and far from a lot of things. South Fork, while retaining a year round population, is primarily a summer camping resort. You will need to got to Del Norte, Monte Vista, and Alamosa for shopping trips, healthcare, some entertainment options, and more diversity of services. That means you are nearly an hour away from critical care facilities in Alamosa, if required. Primo healthcare is not a hallmark of the valley if that is something to be concerned with as you age.

Its been over a decade since I was in the area, so surely its changed some, as most of CO has. Depending on if you purchase in town or further out can be a very divergent experiences. If you have acreage with water rights, things are always interesting. The Valley if full of families that have been there for multiple generations. Some are very open and welcoming, so are downright hostile and it can usually center over water and transplants.

The area is beautiful. There is abundant outdoor recreation right out your doorstep. You aren't too far from Creede, Wolf Creek, and Durango. Across the valley are numerous small farm communities. There is a large bird watching event annually at the area nature reserve. There are elk farms, gator farms, and of course The Great Sand Dunes in the east Valley. Sargent school district is among some of the best academic performing schools in the state. High school sports still matter greatly in daily life. In South Fork, tourists are abundant in the summer, so be prepared to deal with an uptick in crowds during the warm months. At 4+ hours from Denver, it is a bit far for urban day trips, so you will avoid a large percentage of Front Range crowds. But because of that, those that come may spend some time there.

Do some searches on San Luis valley for more info about the general area. South Fork is at the far west side of the valley and not subject to the cheap land speculators that abound on the eastern side, but it is still an interesting place to live.
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:21 AM
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It is a weird town, and not in a nice way. You need to go there and evaluate for yourself. Look beyond the natural beauty around it.
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:35 AM
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
4,640 posts, read 9,152,115 times
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Why are you looking at South Fork out of all the small towns in Colorado? What is your criteria besides outdoor activities?

When my husband and I were looking at a retirement home, we spent a lot of weekends driving around to many different small towns in the state to get a feel for what the housing is like, distance to amenities (especially medical care), etc. I’ve always liked Cedaredge, but it was just too far from our family in Denver. We ended up in Buena Vista, which has a good balance of small town with everything we need. Prices have definitely risen a lot there in the last couple of years.
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:37 AM
Status: "Should have been a cowgirl!" (set 4 days ago)
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,317 posts, read 3,985,909 times
Reputation: 9541
The area around South Fork is certainly beautiful, but the town itself is mostly a pitstop at the crossroads of Highway 160 and Highway 149 which leads to the bustling metro area of Creede. You'd better enjoy winter driving because you are going to have to drive all the way to Alamosa to do your shopping or else head up over Wolf Creek Pass to Pagosa Springs. Highway 160 over Wolf Creek has been improved considerably, but it's still an icy winding roads in the winter months. Me, I'd die of boredom in South Fork, and I love the out-of-doors. But one can hike and cross country ski 24/7 for only so long. What made you choose South Fork, anyhow?

There are many small towns on the Western Slope that are nicer. I agree with Dreaming of Hawaii about Cedaredge. It's really in a scenic location, and you are closer to decent medical care up in Grand Junction. From South Fork it is an extremely long drive to get any real medical care anywhere. I also like Paonia and Crested Butte. Pagosa Springs is not a bad spot either.

I suggest you take a vacation out to the Western Slope and visit a selection of likely small towns. If you do that, I bet you drop South Fork off your list.

Last edited by Mike from back east; 11-06-2018 at 04:27 PM.. Reason: Typo.
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Old 11-06-2018, 02:52 PM
468 posts, read 194,001 times
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Wow, there are so many towns the size of Fairplay that are sooooo much better and not on a major, traffic jammed highway (285). Look at Cedaredge, Hotchkiss, Paonia, Palisade, Fruita, etc. So many better options.
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Old Today, 06:15 AM
Location: Woodland Park, CO
186 posts, read 170,759 times
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I think South Fork is in a very dangerous area fire wise as well. Eleven structures burned down in the town in 2002 in the Million Fire, and the entire town very nearly burned down in 2013 when it was completely evacuated for the West Fork Fire. An 11th hour change in wind direction is really the only thing that saved it. The town was only incorporated in 1992 making it one of Colorado's youngest towns overall. Based on it's susceptibility to high winds and fire danger, there probably shouldn't be a town there at all. It is a beautiful area though. Or was. The beetle killed tree death down in the San Juans is out of control.
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Old Today, 08:46 AM
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The valley, (San Luis Valley) has a certain pull for some peeps. My family homesteaded there in the early 1900's. It will always be home. South Fork would not be my first choice of small towns to retire in. Summer has some great activities, dances, cards, festivals, but then all Texans go home and you are left with an entry town and an hour trip to Walmart. The valley is COLD, and windy. Before moving to South Fork rent a home for a couple of weeks in January, hang out, because that's all you can do, then keep looking.
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