Is there such a thing as too busy for mountain towns?

Rocky Mountain National Park (Kevin J. Beaty) rocky mountain national park; nature; tourism; wilderness; kevinjbeaty
Rocky Mountain National Park (Kevin J. Beaty)

As Colorado’s mountain towns continue to see record numbers of visitors, the locals are starting to wonder how much is too much.

The Denver Post’s Jason Blevins dove into the issue. As those towns experience all-time highs in sales tax revenues, lodging occupancy and traffic counts for the fifth year in a row, the residents are growing weary of what has become an almost year-round tourist season.

Hilary Cooper, a longtime Telluride resident who begins her term as San Miguel County commissioner in January, told Blevins, “My measurement on the street is that people — business owners and workers — were overwhelmed this summer. It’s evident in so many ways. Businesses were unable to provide quality service. Workers are stressed out. There are public safety concerns when the drive-in traffic is constantly circling town looking for a parking place.”

Just as people have been loving some of Colorado’s parks and trails nearly to death, they’re loving the mountain towns to a breaking point. Vacation season for most, after all, is the busiest work season for those who work in vacationland hospitality. It also diminishes the kind of quality of life that year-round residents want — one with an emphasis on peace and quiet in nature.

Of course, as Blevins reports, this also means tons of tax money. Here are some of the numbers he cites:

Estes Park: June 2016 up 10 percent over June15. YTD through June up 8 percent

Winter Park: July 2016 up 57 percent over June 2015. YTD through July up 40 percent

Crested Butte: July 2016 up 14 percent over July 2015. YTD through July up 17 percent

So, yeah, not everyone is mad about the tourist flood.

There’s a lot more to dig into here. Read the full story over at the Post.

Ashley Dean

Author: Ashley Dean

Ashley Dean covers dining and nightlife, and other odds and ends. She previously covered music and did some copy editing for the Denver Post, the Colorado Daily and the Daily Camera. She's from New York, likes her bourbon straight and has strong opinions about Kanye West. She can be reached at, 303-502-2804 or @AshleyDean.