Westcliffe

In a joint effort with neighboring Silver Cliff, this remote town at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains became the state's first International Dark Sky Community in 2015. Nestled in the quiet Custer County, mountains shade the town from light pollution to the east preserving the dark nights that provide a perfect backdrop for stargazing year-round. Once a mining town, Westcliffe's 568 residents now thrive mostly on agriculture and ranching but spring and summer festivals attract tourists from around the world. In July, the town's bluegrass festival and jazz camp bring a lively soundtrack to the scenic setting, and the Ride the Rockies bike race ended in Westcliffe in 2015 putting it "on the map" as a cycling destination. Abutting the slightly denser Silver Cliff to the east, Westcliffe's mile-long Main Street is host to charming shops, lodging, dining, and friendly locals.

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