The 7 Most Authentic Hippie Towns in Colorado

By Mary Anderson

The term “hippie” became popular in the 1960s when people began to reject conventional values and form a new subculture. What was once an act of rebellion has now become embedded into much of the Colorado lifestyle. Ranked the No. 5 Most Hippie State in the U.S. by the Estately real estate site, Colorado is home to several free-spirited towns that have many people screaming peace and love from their mountain tops. While Boulder or Fort Collins may come to mind first for some, I dug a little deeper to find seven of the most authentic hippie towns in Colorado.

1.    Manitou Springs

Manitou Springs sits at the base of Pikes Peak with a rich history and strong tourist scene. Originally intended to be a scenic health resort, this town of 4,992 people is known for its many mineral springs. Tourists experience the Bohemian vibes by shopping in one of their unique shops, getting a Henna tattoo or simply sitting at the park and people watching. As one of the most authentic hippie towns in Colorado, even the mayor has been seen wearing tie dye.

Hippies love beer too: At Manitou Brewing Company, with a tap selection that varies from week to week, they will even take suggestions on what you want them to brew.

2. Nederland

The Frozen Dead Guy Festival may be one of the more "unique" festivals that Ned has to offer.

The Frozen Dead Guy Festival may be one of the more "unique" festivals that Ned has to offer.

Located just 17 miles west of Boulder, Nederland could be the new hangout spot of some of the original hippies who now can’t afford the high cost of living in Boulder. It sits in a valley created by glaciers thousands of years ago and is home to many music and arts festivals including NedFest and Frozen Dead Guy Days. It is no surprise this is one of Colorado’s hippie havens; they even have a “Carousel of Happiness” that features more than 50 hand-carved animals.

Hippies love beer too: Very Nice Brewing Company only brews 3.5 barrels at a time but, like Manitou, they are willing to try anyone’s idea of recipes or ingredients.

3. Paonia

Located on the western slope, this sustainable town of 1,445 people is half hippie, half redneck. So much so, the local youth and middle school put on a show in 2014 called, “Hippies and Rednecks Unite,” a comedic embrace of the diversity found within this small town. Paonia is also home to the Solar Energy International Training Facility and is the founding city of Chaco Sandals, originally “Gecko” sandals.

Hippies love beer too: Revolution Brewing also participates in the town’s sustainability efforts by using all locally grown fruits and hops.

4. Crested Butte

With a population of 1,487, Crested Butte is the flower child of Colorado. Deemed the Wildflower Capital of Colorado, this town hosts an annual Wildflower Festival, taking place July 7-16this year. But that is not all this town has to offer for the hippies in the area. During the summer, there are events like yoga, art workshops and live music happening almost every day.

Hippies love beer tooThe Eldo Brewery & Taproom offers more than just a good drink. As a local hangout spot with live music most weekends and some week nights, it is the perfect place to soak up the hippie ski-town culture and quench your thirst.

5. Carbondale

With a slightly larger population of 6,427, Carbondale has been called the land Where Hippies and Ranchers Come Together, a name fitting for a town whose website advertises both an annual bike week and a rodeo on their home page. There also is a strong music and arts community, which the town showcases by hosting an art walk on the first Friday of every month.

Hippies love beer tooCarbondale Beer Works shows their hippie pride by naming their beers with monikers like Hippytown Wit and On a Whim IPA.

Photo: City of Crestone 

Photo: City of Crestone 

6. Crestone

Crestone makes the list as one of the most authentic hippie towns in Colorado in large part due to its spiritual practices. Once called the Shambala of the Rockies, this town of only 127 people is home to more spiritual centers per capita than anywhere else in North America. (Check out the list here) The town is also big on environmental practices of sustainability. They are currently working on 35 growing domes to produce organic plants, even in the snow.

Hippies love beer too: Crestone Brewing Co. shows their hippie pride and love for the town through their meaningful logo in which “four of the six points represent the beauty of nature, spirituality, history and connection to the cosmos.” Read all about it here.

7. Ridgway

Ridgway, with a population of 924, is a hippie’s dream. They are a Creative District, which means they have “arts and cultural assets and nonprofit as well as for-profit creative businesses, usually within easy walking distances.” In addition to shops like Second Chance Human Society Thrift Shop and Exotic Earth Coffee Roasters, they have a large farmers market featuring more than just food. Every Friday, there is live music and arts and crafts. The town is also home to Orvis Hot Springs, a non-sulfur hot springs which, in full hippie-form, is clothing optional.

Hippies love beer too: Colorado Boy Pub and Brewery practices hippie-like sustainability by getting all its electricity from the wind, heating up their water with solar collectors and feeding all spent brewing grain and yeast to local cattle.

 

Mary Anderson is a senior graphic communication and journalism double-major at Western Illinois University with a driving passion for both graphic design and writing. Currently based in Denver, when she is not interning at Thirst Colorado, she works to build her freelance career.