2008 Picks – National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s Next Great Adventure Towns

September 2008 National Geographic Adventure Magazine features the 50 Best Places to Live: The Next Great Adventure Towns. Curious to know which mountain towns they chose as the best places to live this year?

National Geographic Adventure’s article features not just the best places for now, “but smart choices for the future”. From small towns such as Carbondale to large cities like Boston, “adventure 24/7 hubs loaded with outdoor options to urban players that offer a variety of jobs and cultural activities without sacrificing green space”.

There are always towns on the various “best” lists that make you wonder … wonder if they are laughing when they throw some of these places in or if they have ever spent a significant amount of time researching the areas. There are definitely a few on the list that will probably make you do a double take! Adventure town? Really? To each his own.

Nonetheless, there are more than a few solid picks for those looking to head up to the high country. Here are a handful mentioned, listed in no specific order.

Hood River, Oregon
”Judging by the signs above all the new restaurants, the recent arrivals are partial to sushi joints, wine bars and bistros with hard-to-pronounce European names. But this recreational boomtown hasn’t abandoned its roots — the focus here is still centered squarely on the action outside. Tucked between the looming basalt cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge, an hour east of Portland, Hood River is cementing its multisport identity with a new riverside park.”

Girdwood, Alaska
”Alyeska Resort’s ongoing $20 million revamp is putting adjacent Girdwood on the map with the four-star skier set. But savvy adventurers have long prized this bump-in-the-road town for its access to the half-million-acre Chugach State Park—home to countless glaciers, epic rafting, salmon fishing, mountaineering, cross-country skiing, and even windsurfing on Cook Inlet’s narrow Turnagain Arm.”

Carbondale, Colorado
”While still partly in the shadow of Aspen, 30 miles up the road, it’s forging its own identity as a self-sustained base for Patagonia-clad Ph.D.’s happy to stay close to home in the White River National Forest—all beneath the 12,000-foot twin peaks of Mount Sopris.”

Hailey, Idaho
”Hailey is only a 14-mile drive (or kick-and-glide on the Wood River XC Trails) to Sun Valley, but there’s nothing Gucci or Prada about this Mayberry town in the two-million-acre Sawtooth National Forest.”

Red Lodge, Montana
”Set beside Yellowstone National Park in the wooded Beartooth Mountain foothills, Red Lodge is the toned-down Jackson alternative—complete with a smaller (and less intimidating) ski resort on its 9,416-foot signature peak.”

Pagosa Springs, Colorado
”Deep within the 2.5-million-acre San Juan National Forest, this Rockies outpost shares much of the same terrain as Durango, 45 minutes east—with fewer crowds.”

Silver City, New Mexico
”Quaint, friendly, and affordable, southwestern New Mexico’s Silver City is what Santa Fe was before trustafarians took over. Hike or bike seven miles of rocky trails in the rolling Boston Hills, a reclaimed historic mining area overlooking town.”

Chattanooga, Tennessee
“In 15 minutes I can be on a mountain with hundreds of miles of single track. A ton of like-minded people are drawn here, thanks to the advocacy group Outdoor Chattanooga, and the town is thriving, with a new emphasis on the outdoors.”

To check out all of this year’s picks, visit The 50 Next Great Adventure Towns

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