Bike, hike, raft, climb―these towns welcome adrenaline junkies

Favorite Small Towns for Getting Outdoors
Brown Cannon III
Moab's signature red rock



Bike, raft, climb rocks, think

Population: 4,779

What a house costs: $265,000

The vibe: How in love with the outdoors is Moab? So in love that one of the community’s main activities is trail maintenance. What do you expect from a town surrounded by millions of acres of public lands ― Canyonlands and Arches National Parks among them ― where mountain biking and river running can be daily activities? Moab has drawn world-class athletes like rock climber Steph Davis, author of High Infatuation: A Climber’s Guide to Love and Gravity. Says Davis, “I think Moab is the most beautiful place in the world, and it is just the right size. The landscape is open yet creates a sense of intimacy and safety because there are always cliffs and canyons keeping it from feeling too vast and open. Somehow, it’s very easy to think here.” –Lisa Taggart

Meet your neighbors over: Tofu satay and curried rice at Eklectica cafe. Volunteer brush-clearing workdays at Lower Porcupine Singletrack trail. An order of jalapeño beer fries and a pint of Scorpion Pale Ale at Moab Brewery.

On Saturday: Mountain bike the Slickrock Bike Trail or hike in Arches National Park. Have lunch on the trail and do more exploring, but come back in time for tapas at Center Cafe or Rocky Mountain game at the Desert Bistro.

Inside scoop: “A lot of people who live here say the same thing: ‘The first minute I saw this desert, I knew it was my home.’ ” –Steph Davis, rock climber and author

Next: four more outdoorsy burgs 


Population: 325

What a house costs: $345,420

The Sierra gold-mining town hosts the annual Downieville Downhill mountain bike race.


Hood River, OR

Population: 6,736

What a house costs: $318,500

East of Portland, the windsurfing capital of the continental United States also has some of the world’s best fruit.



Population: 8,158

What a house costs: $369,000

Acres of pristine ranchlands, ocean vistas from nearby hills, plus Merriman’s, one of Hawaii’s best restaurants.



Population: 7,131

What a house costs: $249,000

Home to the National Outdoor Leadership School and terrific hiking in the adjacent Wind River Range.



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