When a lot of people think about the Western Slope, most of the time they're thinking of places like Grand Junction, Delta, Montrose, and Telluride. If you actually live out here in western Colorado, you know that there is way more on offer than just four towns.

Today, we're going to take a quick look around the area, and spotlight some of the towns you don't hear about nearly enough when people talk about the Western Slope. These aren't the biggest towns, but they aren't necessarily the smallest either. No matter the size, these towns pack enough charm to give even the most jaded travelers an ample education in the spirit of the Western Slope.

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Nucla/Naturita

Naturita, Colorado is the smallest town that we're highlighting, and is frequently lumped in together with the slightly larger Nucla when people talk about the area. That might have something to do with the fact that they share a fire department, but we're taking advantage to quickly expand this list from 5 to 6. Fun fact: the name "Nucla" is actually derived from the word "nucleus", as its founders' intended for it to be the center of the area's farming. Meanwhile, "Naturita" is Spanish for "little nature".

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Norwood

Head south from Nucla and Naturita, and you'll find the wonderful town of Norwood, Colorado. Home to around 551 people, Norwood was also the home of American mountain climber Charlie Fowler, who famously went missing and was later found dead in China in 2006, along with partner Christine Boskoff.

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Hotchkiss

Named for pioneer Enos T. Hotchkiss, according to Wikipedia, Hotchkiss, Colorado is easily written off as "Delta's Little Brother," if you want to be a jerk. That would discount a great small town that also happens to be the home of North Fork High School, which serves students of both Hotchkiss and Paonia.

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Paonia

Paonia, Colorado, speaking of which, boasts not one, but two local breweries. Both were established before the start of the decade: Paonia United Brewing Company came first in 2017, followed by the more Belgian influences of the Chrysalis Brewery the following year, in 2018. Short version: Paonia is a great place to get drunk.

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De Beque

With a population of around 493 people as of the last census, De Beque is among the smaller towns we're highlighting today. But boy oh boy, can they make just as much noise as the rest of the Western Slope of Colorado. Be on the lookout in August for the Rodeo and Parade that make up Wild Horse Day.

Join the Conversation

Obviously, there are plenty of other towns on the Western Slope that don't get enough love. If you have a town you want to nominate,  let us know on social media and with your handy mobile app. You never know: we may feature your town next time.

Photos: Tour the Ghost Town of Independence, Colorado

Down the slopes off Colorado Highway 82 sit the empty miner's cabins and the ghost town once called Independence. This once important community was nearly the county seat of Pitkin County but ultimately lost out to Aspen. See the cabins that are still standing today and visit the Roaring Fork River nearby. Maybe you'll find some gold!

WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.

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