Nearby Rocky Mountains ranging to 4300 m (14 110 ft)
300+ days of sunshine, little rainfall, very low humidity, moderate climate
Pleasant summers, warm days, cool nights
Typical summer high temperatures would be 24 to 30 deg.C (75 to 86 deg.F)
Pleasant winters, lots of sunshine, snow rarely stays on the ground long
Typical winter high temperatures would range from 2 to 21 (!) deg.C (35 to 70 deg.F)
The population of Fort Collins is 137 200 (2009 city estimate). The population growth rate is 1.4% per year (2009).
Fort Collins is officially classified as a metropolitan area by the Census, and is the fifth largest city in Colorado. Outside of the Denver metro area, only Colorado Springs is larger than Fort Collins.
The population includes over 22 000 students at Colorado State University.
48.2% of Fort Collins adults over age 25 have a college degree, and 16% have a post-graduate degree.
The population of Larimer County is about 293 000 (2009 county estimate).
Most people have immigrated from other states.
The town has been growing rapidly for the last 30 years, and continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the US.
Fort Collins is known for friendliness of people and low crime rate.
Facilities and activities for seniors are excellent, and Fort Collins has become a popular retirement center.
Population is 89.6% White, 8.8% Hispanic, 2.6% Asian or Pacific Islander, and 1.0% Black (2000 US Census—adds to more than 100% because the Census now allows people to indicate more than one race).
Fort Collins is the county seat of government for Larimer County (also the largest town in the county).
It is located about 105 km (65 miles) north of Denver, and about 72 km (45 miles) south of Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Other towns in county are Loveland (2009 population estimate 66 215), Estes Park, Wellington, Laporte, Timnath, Red Feather Lakes, Berthoud.
Nearby towns (in Weld county) are Greeley, Windsor.
Primary employment is white collar. According to zillow.com (8/2010), the "main types of people" who live here are "Corporate Climbers — High-income, high-expense urban singles"; "Stable Nuclears — Higher-income urban family"; and "College Life — Students in higher education".
Fort Collins' growth has resulted in considerable sprawl, and the city's population has spread southeast to nearby Windsor, and is now beginning to spread northeast to Wellington. This has resulted in heavy traffic and longer commutes, and the accompanying automobile-induced air pollution. But how bad traffic seems to you may also depend on where you're from (people from 'back east' and from California tell me that our traffic is not nearly as bad as we think). There is a public bus system, used extensively by public school students, college students, and those without cars. There are also other transportation options for seniors. The city website has more information under "Transfort".
Interestingly, a July 2008 report from Allstate Insurance indicates that drivers in Fort Collins ranked second (after Sioux Falls, SD) among the US's 200 largest cities for safe driving! And we've been second now for three years in a row. The report states that Fort Collins motorists are 25.5% less likely than the national average to get into a collision. For comparison, Denver ranked #48, and Aurora (a Denver suburb) ranked #50. So we must be better drivers than we thought.
Fort Collins keeps getting high rankings from various magazines, such as Money Magazine and Forbes, for best place to live and similar. The city has also been ranked as a good place for seniors.
Cost of Living
According to one survey, cost of living in Fort Collins is 11% lower than Denver, while local employers pay an average of 6% less than Denver employers. Compared to Orange County, California, cost of living in Fort Collins is almost 23% lower, and local employers pay an average of 11% less than Orange County employers.
3 public school districts in county
Poudre R1 (Fort Collins, Wellington, Laporte, Timnath, mountain areas)
Thompson R2J (Loveland)
Park R3 (Estes Park)
A number of private and parochial schools
Colorado State University
Front Range Community College
Rocky Mountain National Park (1 hour)
Estes Park (1 hour)
Poudre River Canyon (30 minutes)
Fort Collins Municipal Railway historic city streetcar (trolley rides in summer)
Clydesdale horses and tour at Anheuser-Busch brewery
Several well-known microbreweries (craft breweries) in Fort Collins, including New Belgium Brewing Company, Odell Brewing Company, Coopersmith's Pub and Brewing, and the Fort Collins Brewery.
Hiking/backpacking in the Roosevelt National Forest and Arapahoe National Forest
Climbing "14ers" (Colorado's 54 peaks over 4267 m/14 000 ft are all climbable, mostly without technical gear; the nearest 14er to Fort Collins is Longs Peak at 4301 m/14 110 ft; about a 2-hour drive to the base, 8 hours to climb, non-technical, primarily in August)
White water rafting (some canoeing) on the Cache la Poudre River
Bicycling (extensive bicycle/pedestrian trail system) in town, particularly along the Poudre River
7 golf courses in Fort Collins, 12 more in immediate area
Wildlife in Town
It is common to see foxes throughout town
Canada geese are not native, but were carefully transplanted here over 50 years ago; now they are everywhere
You can sometimes hear coyotes howling in the distance at night
The occasional black bear wanders into town from the nearby foothills
In May 2011, students at two west Fort Collins elementary schools were required to remain indoors for several hours due to a mountain lion being seen near the school
We have far fewer poisonous critters than most places, and have some prairie rattlesnakes in the foothills
Mosquitos can be annoying at dusk, but they're better behaved than in many other parts of the country (they can carry west nile virus and equine encephalitis)
And remember, by far the greatest dangers to people in Fort Collins, as elsewhere, are drivers
The local economy has been strong, and Fort Collins/Loveland unemployment was at 6.1% in December, 2009 (compared to 7.5% Colorado rate, and 10.0% US national rate at that time). But the area also has a reputation as one where finding a job can be difficult, and where salaries for comparable jobs may not be as high as in some other areas.
Here are the county's top 12 employers according to the chamber of commerce website (8/2010):
Colorado State University
Hewlett-Packard and its spin-offs
Eastman Kodak Colorado Division (actually in nearby Windsor)