The greatest places to live in the West 2011
LAND STARTS AT: $6,000 per acre
AVG. HOME PRICE: $225,000
Authentic Western living, outdoor adventure, and history—that’s Sheridan. This community of 16,000, tucked between the Big Horn Mountains and Little and Big Goose Creeks of north central Wyoming, is far from just a stop en route to Yellowstone National Park or Mount Rushmore National Monument. Many make Sheridan their primary destination. Its downtown takes you back to the late 1890s and is anchored by the Mint Bar and the Historic Sheridan Inn, where Buffalo Bill auditioned acts for his Wild West Show. To see how a 125-year-old working cattle outfit operates, visit the Eatons’ Ranch, also a dude ranch. From rock climbing and hang gliding to fly-fishing, golfing, and snowmobiling, outdoor sports are also a local attraction. Mix that with traditional old-West values, and it’s hard to argue with Sheridan’s claim of being the “Best Western Town in America.”
ROCKY MOUNTAIN LEATHER TRADE SHOW, May (leathercraftersjournal.com)
BOZEMAN TRAIL DAYS, June (bozemantrail.org)
81ST SHERIDAN WYO. RODEO, July (sheridanwyorodeo.com)
BIG WEST ARTS FESTIVAL, August (bigwestartsfestival.com)
LAND STARTS AT: $10,000 per acre
AVG. HOME PRICE: $215,000
Named after William Frederick Cody, a.k.a. Buffalo Bill, this northwestern Wyoming town lives the old Western spirit without trying at all. It starts with the atmosphere of Old Trail Town and its roots to Butch Cassidy and General Custer. Visit the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (pictured), and stay at the Irma Hotel, built in 1902 by Buffalo Bill himself and named after his beloved daughter. Bellying up to the hotel’s original cherrywood bar is to time travel (before the shots). Coupled with the scenery of nearby Yellowstone and the Shoshone National Forest, it’s the perfect place to spend a day—or a lifetime.
BUFFALO BILL BIRTHDAY BALL, February (codychamber.org)
COWBOY ACTION SHOOT, June (highlonesomedrifters.com)
CODY STAMPEDE, July (codystampederodeo.com)
BUFFALO BILL ART SHOW AND SALE, September (buffalobillartshow.com)
MILES CITY, MONT.
LAND STARTS AT: $500 per acre
AVG. HOME PRICE: $125,000
Once upon a time, after the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Milestown was a fort to contain Native Americans. Not long after, though, Miles City emerged as a hub for livestock sales, railroad traffic, and characters like “Calamity” Jane. Today, the frontier spirit still exists at the Range Riders Museum and the Custer County Arts and Heritage Center, and of course the annual World Famous Miles City Bucking Horse Sale (pictured). Look around and just about every building has roots to the town’s humble beginnings. This is rustic Montana living at its best.
WORLD FAMOUS MILES CITY
BUCKING HORSE SALE,
EASTERN MONTANA FAIR,
MUSIC ON WINGS BLUEGRASS
CAÑON CITY, COLO.
LAND STARTS AT: $3,000 per acre
AVG. HOME PRICE: $125,900
Definitely off the beaten path, this community 100 miles southwest of Denver combines a dusty frontier town from the 1860s Pikes Peak gold rush with an outdoor playground full of breathtaking scenery. Redefine the term “hang ’em high” at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park which, at 1,053 feet, is the world’s highest suspension bridge. If you’re not the adventurous type, terra firma awaits at Buckskin Joe, a restored frontier town, complete with mountain men and reenacted gunfights.
ROYAL GORGE PRCA RODEO, May (719-252-3707)
MUSIC AND BLOSSOM FESTIVAL, May (ccblossomfestival.com)
WESTERN HERITAGE DAYS, June (westernheritagedays.com)
FREMONT COUNTY FAIR, July (fremontcountyfair.com
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