Moving to Colorado
Home to some of the wealthiest communities anywhere, it’s no wonder President Theodore Roosevelt referred to this healthy, hearty and handsome land as the “Switzerland of America.”
Moving to Colorado? With the highest average altitude of any US state, the common saying in the Centennial State is, “Go to the mountains—it’s good for you!”
And Coloradans should know: They boast the lowest rate of obesity in the country, along with 1,500 peaks over 10,000 feet high and 54 monsters over 14,000 feet high.
Review the following tips to keep your move to the Centennial State from getting too rocky!
- Be prepared to pay tolls when moving to Colorado.
- You don’t need any moving permits, but check on local parking restrictions before moving to CO.
- Avoid moving in the winter. Colorado gets heavy snowfall in the colder months, which combines with ice and makes for hazardous driving conditions.
- If moving to CO during the winter months is your only option, take all necessary precautions. Your vehicle needs to be winterized by a professional mechanic so it can weather any storm. You should also make sure to have a charged cell phone with you at all times, and remember to keep a toolbox, first-aid kit and emergency provisions (including a blanket) in your vehicle. It’s also smart to read up on driving in snowy and icy conditions.
- Always give yourself plenty of time on the road. Weather can change at the drop of a hat, and especially around busy areas such as Denver or resort towns, congestion can lead to long delays.
- If you’re driving a moving truck, check your brakes regularly. Going downhill in rainy or snowy conditions can be hazardous and scary and you want to be confident your vehicle’s safe.
- Even though temperatures might not seem high in the mountains, protect your skin from sun exposure with clothing, hats and sunscreen.
Check out our downloadable planners and checklists.
Cities and Metro Areas
If you’re in search of an active lifestyle in one of the most beautiful areas in the world, then moving to Colorado might be just the thing for you.
From cosmopolitan Denver, the state capital, and Colorado Springs, a military hub located in one of the world’s most beautiful natural settings, to Boulder, a renowned college town, and Aspen, playground of the rich and famous, you’ll find a wide variety of places to choose from when moving to CO.
Other notable communities include Pueblo, Durango and Vail, as well as suburbs Lakewood, Thornton, Arvada, Westminster and Centennial.
Cost of Living
With its amazing natural surroundings, clean air and healthy lifestyle, moving to Colorado is an enticing prospect. However, as with any move, it’s important to first consider how the cost of living in Colorado will affect your household’s finances.
In the US, the cost of living varies from state to state and is determined by factors such as the availability of natural resources, food and housing, as well as local and state taxes and the costs of education and healthcare. That’s why an island state like Hawaii can be extremely expensive to call home, and a state like Kentucky, where the availability of land and local production of food helps keep prices low, can be much more affordable.
So where does Colorado fall in that spectrum? The state as a whole is in the top 20 most expensive states to live in, and certain cities like Denver have a much higher cost of living index than most. The median home value in Colorado is a little over $308,000, while Denver specifically is over $350,000 (according to Zillow). Median listing prices are $367,000 and $439,000, respectively.
Highways and Public Transport
You’ll soon find out when moving to Colorado that though it’s the highest state in the US, it has one of the best infrastructures. The state works hard to maintain all roads for maximum driving safety, which means you’re likely to encounter some construction along your route during the summer.
In winters, snow might lead to closed-off roads and bridges, while melting snow and spring rains can cause potholes and other damage to the road surface. When moving to CO, always remember to check with the Colorado Department of Transportation to see if there are any delays. Amtrak and reliable public transport in the form of intra- and intercity buses provide passenger service along the Denver route from east to west, as well as to a number of ski areas.
- Roads: Colorado has a well-developed highway system that connects its urban areas, while residents rely on county roads to reach smaller communities. The I-70 is the primary east-west route and the I-25 is the most important north-south route.
- Railroads: Amtrak provides passenger transport along the Denver-Grand Junction line, as well as to a number of other stops in the Centennial State.
- Public Transport: If you’re moving to CO, know that it has a number of public transit organizations that provide regional, citywide and statewide bus service.
- Airports: Colorado has 11 primary airports that cater to commercial air travel, including Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport and Telluride Regional Airport. There are also a number of smaller airports, and one international airport: Denver International Airport, the world’s fifth-busiest airport, and infamous for implementing a fully-automated luggage sorting system that, after costing millions and causing significant job losses, failed repeatedly.
The Centennial State’s climate is just as varied as its topography, as you’ll discover when moving to Colorado. Overall, the state has a semi-arid climate, with cool temperatures and low precipitation that becomes less in the west of the state. In the east, winters are dryer, while spring gets the most amount of precipitation, and summer weather can vary from one minute to the next, with frequent heavy winds and severe thunderstorms with large hail. If you’re moving to CO, you’ll experience summer temperatures ranging from 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and winter lows between 35 and 47 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on location and elevation.
There are a number of top-notch educational institutions you can attend when moving to Colorado:
- Elementary School: Three of the top-ranked elementary schools are Challenge School in Denver, Aurora Quest Academy in Aurora and High Peaks Elementary School in Boulder.
- High School: The Vanguard School in Colorado Springs, Ralston Valley Senior High School in Arvada, and Telluride High School in Telluride are some of the best high schools in the state.
- Higher Learning: If you’re moving to CO, note that it is home to the United States Air Force Academy just outside of Colorado Springs, as well as the University of Colorado school system. Other notable schools are Regis University and Johnson & Wales, which are both situated in Denver.
If you’re moving to Colorado, your one-stop shop for government information will be Colorado’s Official State Web Portal. Here are a few important facts and specific resources:
- You don’t need a moving permit in Colorado.
- There’s no excise tax, but both the state and your city levy a sales tax when you buy a vehicle.
- Colorado has five toll roads: the 47-mile E-470 that runs along the east side of the Denver-Aurora area (note that the fees here are among the highest in the nation); the Northwest Parkway that connects the E-470 to the US-36; Pikes Peak Highway that runs from Cascade to Pikes Peak; Trail Ridge Road (US Highway 34); and Colorado State Highway 5, which is a scenic route to the top of Mount Evans.
- After moving to CO, you can register to vote as soon as you have your CO driver’s license by mailing in a voter registration form. The deadline to register is 29 days before Election Day.
- Trash and recycling are regulated by your city, which contracts it out to a private company. If you live in a remote area, you might have to take your trash to the landfill or contact a privately owned waste management company yourself.
- You must apply for a CO driver’s license within 30 days of moving to Colorado. The cost for a 5-year license is $21.
- You have 90 days to register your vehicle at your local County Clerk’s Office after moving to CO. The fees are based on the age, weight, taxable value, purchase date and the type of license plate you want for your vehicle, and an emissions test is required. It’s important to note that most counties will not provide information about pricing over the phone, as registration fees are much higher than elsewhere. To quote one County Clerk, “I’ve had grown men cry at my desk.” However, you can see a general breakdown of the costs at the Adams County website.
- It costs $7.20 to transfer a title and $5 per page for a lien recording.