The Front Range is full of small towns with great outdoor access. But Fort Collins stands above the rest thanks to its backcountry terrain (like 10,276-foot Cameron Pass), its prime location on the brown-trout-filled Cache La Poudre River, the great biking scene, and, of course, the microbrew-dominated economy.
“The biking is largely supported by the beer culture,” says Adam Irrer, who helps run Michigan’s Coppercraft Distillery and lives full-time in Fort Collins. “New Belgium started it by funding things like a bike library, so that people can get a bike when they come into town.”
Active, educated young people are flocking here—the population has grown more than 10 percent in the past five years—but the ample breweries and yoga studios have helped it maintain a laid-back vibe.