Series on finding the perfect location for your mountain home

Buying a second home in the mountains has always been a goal for Denver homeowners. Escaping to your own mountain getaway is a big part of the Colorado lifestyle.

Because all of us Denverites dream of leaving the city behind to relax in the mountains, I decided to outline the top places for locals to shop for a mountain home.

See previous mountain home area real estate profiles: Winter Park and Breckenridge-Frisco.

I talked with friends, opened up my mountain town rolodex and did research on the top places to search for a mountain home and some relevant information about them.

People are more willing and able to buy a mountain home than ever before. I have noticed a trend — Denver buyers are actually sacrificing size here to budget for a second home in the mountains.

With all this growing interest, I wanted to create a guide to help folks ready to search for their second home west of Denver. Third up: Buffalo Creek.

Nearby but far away

It is easy to narrow your scope to resort towns when looking for a mountain home. Buffalo Creek is an excellent non-resort option to consider.

Flowing streams, rock-capped peaks and open space — typical Buffalo Creek views.

Located in the foothills southwest of Denver, an hour drive from downtown, Buffalo Creek is all about space and serenity. Your dollar goes further here — think a year-round home on second home budget.

Buffalo Creek borders the Pike National Forest, with access to numerous trailheads. If you like fishing and mountain biking, look no further. The north fork of the South Platte River holds world-class fishing and the mountain biking around Buffalo Creek, which includes a segment of the Colorado Trail, is the second best in the state.

A small cabin in Buffalo Creek is around $300,000. For about $450,000, you can find a newer home with more square-footage on three to five acres of land — ample space for a tucked away mountain retreat.

Average price-per-square-foot is only $156 and homes spend an average of 115 days on the market.

Because Buffalo Creek is less developed, buyers must be prepared to ask a lot more questions — it is authentic mountain living up there. Property lines must be made clear and structures such as septic tanks and wells inspected. Be sure to ask about service providers, winter maintenance and fire mitigation.

I have also found that areas in the foothills with proximity to Denver do exceptionally well as Airbnbs or VRBOs.

Buffalo Creek doesn’t offer the dining, shopping and entertainment Colorado’s resort towns do. But if what you are looking for is open space and peace — within an hour of Denver, miles from I-70 — Buffalo Creek can provide.

This awesome weekend getaway recently sold in nearby Pine, Colorado. The two bedroom, three bathroom, 2,049 square-foot holds an open concept interior and rare river frontage, a fisherman’s dream. Sold for $684,000.