Affordable Mountain Towns for Second Homes and Retirement

Outdoor recreation. Wide open spaces. Views to nourish the soul. Find a mountain home for the life you want — at an economical cost of living.

Here’s the methodology used by Apple Springs at Boulder Canyon to create this list of affordable mountain towns:

1. Deadwood, South Dakota (plus Sturgis and Lead)

Average Home Value: $168,000
State Cost of Living Rank: 7

Deadwood has many sides. You’ll find the audaciousness of the gold rush era, respect for and love of the surrounding wilds, and a sense of history and small-town virtue. The town boasts an abundance of entertainment venues, local shops, and diversions that attract tourism season after season.

Sturgis (average home value of $169,300) offers restaurants, bars, live music performances, and a rich cultural scene. Its most famous event is the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, attracting upwards of one-half million people per year.

Lead ($157,800) is situated near the Black Hills Mining Museum, a venue for learning about the history of gold in the region. Lead is also close to Terry Peak Ski Mountain and one of the trailheads to Mickelson Trail.

All three of these affordable mountain towns are minutes from Apple Springs at Boulder Canyon. Apple Springs is a secluded 250+ acre property with city-like services. The Black Hills National Forest and The Golf Course at Boulder Canyon border the property, providing residents with a wealth of recreational opportunities and community amenities.

Drive thirty minutes from Apple Springs, and you can reach South Dakota’s second largest city of Rapid City, national parks like Mount Rushmore, or some of the nation’s best sites for fishing, hiking, biking, and snowmobiling. With this unique location, residents have near-immediate access to essential resources, outdoor activities, and year-round entertainment.

2. Taos, New Mexico

Average Home Value: $304,900
State Cost of Living Rank: 6

People flock to Taos for its historical sites, incredible natural beauty, art scene, and outdoor recreation.

Popular attractions include the Millicent Rogers Museum, with its collection of Southwestern art and crafts. There’s also the Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s been continuously inhabited for over 1,000 years, providing a view into the region’s indigenous culture.

Winter sports are a top draw, with nearby Taos Ski Valley serving as a premier destination for skiing and snowboarding. As spring emerges, the snowmelt opens opportunities for river rafting and pathways for biking.

Residents can access healthcare services from several different facilities, including Holy Cross Medical Center. Taos County Public Transportation offers transit options for easy access to amenities and attractions.

3. Butte-Silver Bow, Montana

Average Home Value: $165,600
State Cost of Living Rank: 15

Known as “the richest hill on earth,” the history of Butte-Silver Bow is intertwined with the development of the mining industry. Both are on display at the World Museum of Mining, at the Mineral Museum, and with a tour of the Berkeley Pit.

Today, the area is also recognized for its outdoor recreation, entertainment, and fine dining options. Natural attractions include hiking in the surrounding mountains, a visit to “Our Lady of the Rockies” (a 90-foot statue situated on the Continental Divide), fishing, hunting, and skiing.

4. Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Average Home Value: $309,900
State Cost of Living Rank: 17

Coeur d’Alene is renowned for its stunning lake and mountain scenery. The Coeur d’Alene Resort invites guests to enjoy the view as well as spa services, fine dining, and recreation on the water. An alternative to the luxury experience, but no less beautiful, are the Tubbs Hill Nature Trails. They offer more than 120 acres and several miles of hiking pathways to explore, bordered by Lake Coeur d’Alene on three sides.

Like many of the affordable mountain towns on our list, Coeur d’Alene boasts a vibrant arts scene and excellent restaurants. Residents will also appreciate modern amenities and essential resources, including medical facilities, public transportation (through Citylink), and well-established year-round communities.

5. Ogden, Utah

Average Home Value: $221,400
State Cost of Living Rank: 25

Ogden is less than an hour’s drive to Salt Lake City, but it also provides easy access to Snowbasin and Powder Mountain ski resorts. Other seasonal recreation includes fishing and hiking. It’s also popular for paddle-sports, with 13,000 acres of lakes connected by a network of rivers.

Ogden’s vibrant downtown offers unique shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. The most well-known is Historic 25th Street, a center for art, cuisine, nightlife, and entertainment. Whether you live or visit Ogden, you’ll be able to shop at local and national retailers and take advantage of community health centers, hospitals, and other area services.

6. Bozeman, Montana

Average Home Value: $446,400
State Cost of Living Rank: 15

Bozeman has a population of over 53,000 and is home to Montana State University. The nearby Bridger Bowl Ski Area and Big Sky Ski Resort are two of its most popular attractions, and in warmer months, outdoor enthusiasts will find fun rafting on the Gallatin River or hiking the Gallatin Divide.

Downtown Bozeman boasts shops, restaurants, and galleries. Locals will find plenty of options for daily essentials, from healthcare to grocery stores, and Bozeman’s location off Interstate 90 makes it one of the most accessible locations on our list of affordable mountain towns.

7. Whitefish, Montana

Average Home Value: $466,400
State Cost of Living Rank: 15

Whitefish is a picturesque town of just over 7,750, though summer and ski season tourism inflates those numbers significantly. It provides nearby access to Glacier Park, Whitefish Mountain Resort, and an extensive network of hiking trails. There’s also an active nightlife and several popular restaurants.

While Whitefish is home to local retailers and a few national franchises, a half-hour drive expands your options for groceries, pharmacies, and other essentials. Glacier International Airport in Kalispell is the closest airport, about 15 minutes away.

8. Leadville, Colorado

Average Home Value: $244,700
State Cost of Living Rank: 41

Leadville is one of the highest incorporated cities in America, with an elevation of more than 10,000 feet. This location offers stunning views of the central Rockies and puts the town within easy reach of winter sport sites. You’ll find venues for fat biking on groomed winter trails, dogsledding, ice fishing, Nordic and downhill skiing, and even snow-ziplining. Warm weather months provide opportunities for hiking, biking, and whitewater rafting.

Leadville has experienced a period of significant growth, resulting in an investment in infrastructure and residential development. There is a local hospital and several grocery stores, and the Leadville-Lake County Regional Airport is under 10 minutes away. It’s a great place to live for those who love the outdoors and the small-town lifestyle.

9. Joseph, Oregon

Average Home Value: $261,100
State Cost of Living Rank: 42

Joseph, with a population of a little over 1,000, is a small town with an artsy vibe and breathtaking landscapes. That population swells in the summertime thanks to the tourists who flock to Joseph for its outdoor recreation.

In warm weather months, Wallowa Lake and the Wallowa Mountains are popular for water sports, fishing, and camping. Wintertime creates a more relaxed, unhurried pace, with opportunities for sledding, skiing, and snowmobiling.

Joseph is dotted with art galleries and museums, and it plays host to several seasonal festivals and music concerts. The town is accessible via Joseph State Airport and is about one hour’s drive from Interstate 84.

10. Hood River, Oregon

Average Home Value: $433,400
State Cost of Living Rank: 42

Like Bozeman, Hood River is a more sizable option in our list of affordable mountain towns, with a population around 24,000. Its location provides dramatic views of both its namesake river and Mt. Hood, and the town is only an hour away from Portland.

Popular outdoor activities around Hood River include hiking and mountain biking, and the steep walls and year-round winds have helped it lay claim to the title of “the world’s windsurfing capital.” The town has a vibrant arts scene, varied dining options, and local wineries. There are also multiple healthcare facilities, such as the Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, to support the community.

Popular alternative locations, by the numbers

  • Telluride, Colorado AHV: $443,500 / CoL Rank: 41

  • Bend, Oregon AHV: $462,400 / CoL Rank: 42

  • Estes Park, Colorado AHV: $463,400 / CoL Rank: 41

  • Leavenworth, Washington AHV: $413,800 / CoL Rank: 46

  • Breckenridge, Colorado AHV: $479,400 / CoL: 41

Selecting a location that’s right for you

Each of the affordable mountain towns in our list offers a different experience, whether you’re considering it from the standpoint of attractions, size, resources, or accessibility. Still, this is just the beginning of your exploration.

If you’re looking for a second house or a place for vacation, you want to know more about the town’s resources and lifestyle. You may also want to learn about buying property and building a home in the area. Planning for retirement? Understand how far your dollar will go given taxes and the cost of living. If you are considering Apple Springs at Boulder Canyon, our site offers several guides to help in the process.

Discover a mountain home with soul-satisfying views, city-like services, extensive amenities, and a close-knit community. Learn more about the northern Black Hills and Apple Springs.

Apple Springs at Boulder Canyon
20673 Wildberger Rd
Sturgis, SD 57785