Colorado’s winter resorts conjure images of world-class sports facilities, chic apres-ski amenities, and bustling main streets, but home prices can reach in the millions. (Take Vail, for example.) However, this doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream — or business plan — to own a vacation home in one of the state’s ski towns. It just means you have to think outside the box and house-hunt in one of the Centennial State’s lesser-known locales, like idyllic Idaho Springs.
The town, located just 30 miles west of Denver, was just named as one of the top 10 best places to invest by property management company Evolve. Based on metrics such as median home price, expected rental revenue, and cap rate, Idaho Springs rental owners could add $51,000 to their yearly income, while homes in the area cost, on average, around $571,000.
“Located near top-notch ski resorts such as Winter Park, Arapahoe Basin, and Copper Mountain, Idaho Springs, Colorado, offers investors an opportunity to own a property that will attract guests who want to be near great ski areas without the high daily rates and tourist congestion,” Greg Davis, an expert with Evolve, told Travel + Leisure. “Owners in the area have seen an increase in the cap rate in the last year due to a rise in median rental revenue.”
However, Idaho Springs is far from being a single-season destination or one that draws visitors only with its winter sports recreation. Known as the birthplace of Colorado’s Gold Rush — prospector George Andrew Jackson first discovered the valuable metal here in 1859 — Idaho Springs also became famous for its healing hot springs, welcoming travelers for 160 years. Visitors interested in the town’s mining history can tour what was once the longest mining tunnel in the world, the Argo Mill and Tunnel.
And for those who prefer to stay above ground, the town offers an endless list of outdoor activities that run the gamut from whitewater rafting down Clear Creek to horseback riding, ziplining, hiking, fishing, or rock climbing. Mount Blue Sky, one of Colorado’s 58 fourteeners, is also near the town, offering the most breathtaking views from its summit to Rocky Mountain National Park and New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo Mountain.
And if you want to hit the slopes, Loveland Ski Area, a favorite of Coloradans, is a 24-mile drive and rewards guests with 728 hectares of skiable areas.
Davis also explained that, unlike other places where you’d need to invest in a sprawling home to attract interest by renters, the most booked properties in Idaho Springs are “smaller, one-to-two bedroom homes with mountain views and added amenities like hot tubs.”
If you’re looking to rent your property in Idaho Springs, invest in a home that provides easy access to downtown and outdoor adventures. According to Evolve’s data, homes located just outside the town’s official limits or within five to 10 miles from places like St. Mary’s Glacier, Echo Mountain, Indian Hot Springs, or Georgetown Lake perform the best with renters.