Front Range Western Suburbs? (Golden, Applewood, Arvada)

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by error cooled, Jul 31, 2017.

  1. error cooled

    error cooled anything but asphalt

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    Yes, another flat lander moving to Denver - I swear I'm not an idiot and will contribute to society....

    My wife and I (early 30s) are moving from Northern Va. to Denver early next year. We are going to rent for a bit close in, probably in the Highlands or Sunnyside. We plan on eventually settling west in a SFH.

    Right now we have a few neighborhoods in mind and will be scouting on foot in a few weeks. Specifically, we are looking at Golden, West Arvada and Applewood.

    Here's what we are looking for. I'd sincerely appreciate any direction or thoughts neighborhoods from the perspective of an ADVRider.

    - Quick access to unpaved roads into the mountains - the closer the better
    - Older neighborhood with larger lots and shade / trees (50's Ranches are fine, cookie cutter mcmansions no)
    - Near light rail
    - Some type of walkable city center
    - Not Boulder Prices

    I'm bringing my XR, an old Land Cruiser and look forward to joining the riding community :freaky.
    #1
  2. doc_ricketts

    doc_ricketts Thumper jockey

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  3. Boricua

    Boricua Been here awhile

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    Welcome to the most insane housing market outside of California. Are you aware of the rental prices in Denver proper? I strongly advise you to check things before you decide on a specific neighborhood. A 900 sq ft in the highlands go for $2,500 a month. Houses. Older neighborhoods close to the light rail can cost you as much as Denver proper. Anywhere withing walking distance of a light rail station is considered Denver. You might get lucky in Arvada since is not one of the more diserable towns. Nothing really wrong with it just not hot real estate.

    BTW Denver already catch up to Boulder

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  4. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    You are moving to the new L.A. be prepared for over crowding, grid lock etc. not what you think it is. You need to live close to your work, or it will be a nightmare commuting. "Close to trails" at you kidding. This land is fragile, very fragile, and very over used. so trails are getting grid locked and closed from over use and abuse. You probably have more opportunity with less crowds where you are coming from. N. Va can be pretty nice, this is very different. Think L.A., but without the infrastructure to handle the crowds. And without the laid back attitude. total aggression, especially on the roads and highways. It's not the dream everybody seems to think it is. "Wish we all could live in the mountains", or "Move west, thats where you wanna be", that panacea doesn't exist anymore, maybe it never did.
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  5. Proveick

    Proveick Long timer

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    The truth.
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  6. error cooled

    error cooled anything but asphalt

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    That's a pretty dark assessment that does give me pause - maybe that is the point? The opportunities to ride here are decent, provided you have the tolerance for the 120 minute drive into the mountains. A nightmare commute here is 70 minutes, thankfully I can work remotely if need be and the wife can hopefully find a laid back gig close to home. I'd move to Bozeman but the wife would kill me.. I'm all ears though and appreciate the color.
    #6
  7. error cooled

    error cooled anything but asphalt

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    Don't mind the high rent for a few months, but would like a lateral move mortgage wise - hence Golden or Applewood. Thank you for the insight.
    #7
  8. cidi

    cidi cidi

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    You will have at least a 120 min ride to get to decent riding that is not overcrowded (and therefore dangerous.) we do not have private riding areas, which is great, except there is not much policing so some people will treat these trails like a closed racecourse and it only takes one collision to ruin your day, season or worse. So while the above statements sound really depressive they are spot on.
    Since you still have a little time, may I suggest the following:
    Pull up google maps with the traffic layer, then zoom out so you have all of the denver metro area and at least Idaho springs ( west on I70) and Bailey ( southwest on Hwy285). Set yourself a reminder to look at those maps Mo - F 6:00am - 9:00am and 3:00pm - 7:00pm.
    On sat and Sunday check between 8:00 &10 and sundays from 1:00pm. Also check out cdot.org for traffic and Staus sign messages.
    Do this for about 3 weeks and you can quickly tell the pattern of traffic jams.
    Now imagine winter with regular snows, and skier traffic.
    This should give you a good idea on what to expect.
    Lastly, riding areas within 90 min will be crowded unless you can get away during the week.
    Hope this helps.
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  9. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    Watching traffic patterns is a great idea. We do that all the time, its the only way to get where we need to go. I plan my excursions by the traffic flow. We have a place in the mountains. Grand Lake area. It's 117 miles door to door. Hit the traffic right, and its 2 1/2 hours drive. Hit it wrong it easily can be 6 hours. When I was 16, ~1970, I could count on It being 2 1/2 hrs, now it is rarely less than 3 hrs. The bad drivers over driving their abilities, or the road conditions or what ever makes the drive that used to be pleasant, a nerve racking nightmare. So for example...........If you plan to head up I-70 out of Metro Denver into the mountains, anytime on Friday, expect slow and go off and on for 20+ miles, at time it could be for 100 miles, all the way to Vail., and more. That won't end until late Saturday night. More as the day progresses. Then the same on Sunday getting back. And that's the off season, add ski season, and its much worse, with slick roads added in for some extra excitement. The west is NOT what so many think it is. The dream never existed. It was just someone's sales pitch that caught on, more than a 150 yrs ago, and still exists today. I was born here, Have lived a few other places, travel for work. I like living at high altitude, I like the high altitude sun, and dryness. Many have trouble with either the altitude, or dryness, or both. Don't buy a big yard, there is no water. Water rationing is a common thing, EVERY year. And the price to water a lawn can be high. We have a large lawn. I have seen $800/month in water bills to watch it be brown and dying. Don't plan on a fireplace, the air pollution made fire places pretty much outlawed many years ago. The bus system isn't horrible, but seldom goes where you need to go. Light rail is expensive, and so over crowded its hard to use, and the parking at light rail stations is so limited, that you probably won't find a parking place. They now often charge for parking at the light rail stations.
    There are some great mountain roads (paved) to ride out of the metro area up into the mountains. But you have to get to them. The dirt riding is pretty crowded. So probably Rampart Range is the most popular. I live about as close as you can get, and still be in the metro area. Usually about an hour drive, maybe a little less depending on traffic. Lots of wooped out pea gravel, mostly single track. You take you life in your hands, riding there on weekends. lots of head on possibilities around blind corners, and the ATV and side by sides on the single track are scary. I'f I'm going to ride there on a weekend, I hit the trail before 07:00 and get done before 11:00. The alcoholics/ pot heads are still hung over and in camp , or looking for a bag of potato chips to steal for breakfast.
    Speaking of that, the "Squaters" have taken over in droves on public lands, and they are not always "Mellow". They call it "living off the land" that means, anything that is not chained down, and can be fenced quickly, is gone in 10 seconds. It's become a real problem in historically quiet places where you could leave your camp unattended all day, and not worry about it. No longer.
    #9
  10. MurphCO

    MurphCO Been here awhile

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    If you can work remotely and can tolerate a 70 minute commute, then why live in Denver at all?

    What part of town is your job going to be located?
    #10
  11. Boricua

    Boricua Been here awhile

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    Disagree, Denver is Denver. Nothing compares to LA. Traffic is bad but it does not come even close. However, LA does not have to deal with winter weather. Anyway, getting out of town and out into the wild takes a bit. Everything within two hours feels crowded on weekends. On weekdays you might have the trails for yourself.

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  12. Geolander

    Geolander Scruffy Nerf Herder

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    I can't wait to get off the front range. Wanna buy my house for market value? It's only 200k more than I bought it for 4 years ago.
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  13. Moto Beak

    Moto Beak Professional Amateur

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    Look at the old town Arvada area. Older neighborhood, fun little downtown scene, and we'll have light rail service whenever RTD gets their shit together (already a year behind schedule with no good estimate for starting service). And if you ask nicely I may be ready to move by then and sell you my house. :D
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  14. Geolander

    Geolander Scruffy Nerf Herder

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    ...what the fuck is applewood?
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  15. LookMaNoHands

    LookMaNoHands Reformed pirate...

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    You're probably facing that with any of the western suburbs. I've lived in Lakewood for 20 years now, won't comment on The "good old days"

    It's 9 miles downtown for me, if I leave at 5 and hit the gym for an hour it's under 20 minutes. Leave at 630 to go straight to work and it's often closer to an hour.

    It's 75 miles to Breckinridge, hiked a wilderness trail there Sunday. Left at 645am, 2.5 hours with traffic going up only to find the trailhead completely overloaded and people parked up to a mile from the trailhead along the road. Didnt go more than 5 minutes without stepping off the trail to let someone else pass. OHV trails are no different. 5.5 hours to drive home due to massive wreck that closed the highway. Seems like this is the new norm, summer or winter.

    Not necessarily trying to dissuade you, just painting a pic from a long time resident who's starting to think about other options.


    #15
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  16. LookMaNoHands

    LookMaNoHands Reformed pirate...

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    Centered NS on 38th, W of Wads are the boundaries I generally think of. Not sure that's 100%
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  17. Fidget

    Fidget Informed Guesser

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    My deed says Golden, my mail says Arvada. I'm out at W. 60th & Easley. Easy access to Coal Creek, Golden Gate and Clear Creek for pavement. Table mountain and White Ranch are a few minutes to hike/mountain bike.
    West Arvada is getting more crowded and there is no sign of letting up.
    Big difference between working from home or needing to be somewhere for your job.
    #17
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  18. Boricua

    Boricua Been here awhile

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    Colorado tourism is trying to deal with the runaway success the ski towns had promoting themselves as summer destinations. They are looking for ways to spread people out and away from the I70 corridor and the central mountains. These days I spend more time south and on the western slope. I spend an extended weekend with the family near Cortez and between Cortez and Grand Junction. It was a haul at 7 hours driving time form home. However, the experience was well worth it.

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    That's Grand Junction to Cortez via 141 and 145 ending in Hovenweep Cajon ruins on the UT side of the border.


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  19. bobfab

    bobfab Long timer

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    Denver sucks, dont come. Overcrowded, overpriced, not worth it.

    San diego too, weather is awful.
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  20. nmalozzi

    nmalozzi airheaded

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    Are you guys seriously equating the Front Range to LA? Talk about being over dramatic. Sure, Denver isn't the cow town it once was, but it's no LA. Hell, it isn't even as bad as Philly, NYC, or Boston (probably DC as well, but I haven't been there in over 20yrs). I'll give you that getting out to ski on the weekend is a nightmare, but that's 100% optional travel. Yea it sucks, but you don't HAVE to go skiing. You HAVE to go to work everyday though, and those commutes really are not that bad.

    To the PO: I can't comment on trails. I don't ride dirt, and avoid hiking any trails close by. So I think I'd just focus on minimizing the commute to work if you have one. Applewood is nice, but no real "downtown" nearby, just dispersed shopping centers and restaurants. I actually like Old Town Arvada, and it's only going to get even more popular once RTD opens the light rail station. Golden is cool, but if it was me I'd just head to Morrison or even into the hills once you're that far west. I just feel it's overpriced for how far from downtown Denver it is. May as well live in the hills at that point. For background, we live in Edgewater and love it. Close to downtown, JeffCo taxes/school district, easy access to all the highways for points west when we need them. Homes are on the small side, but that's our preference and the little downtown is fun and growing... plus the Highlands hot spots are easily bikeable.
    #20
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