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Best Time to Visit Colorado – Complete Guide for All Seasons 

Best Time to Visit Colorado – Complete Guide for All Seasons 

Colorado is a state that has it all… Stunning nature, fun events in the city, quaint mountain towns, iconic fall colors, and amazing ski resorts set within the majestic Rocky Mountains. 

With so many things to do and see throughout different times of the year, it can be hard to choose when to plan a trip to the centennial state. 

The best time of year to visit Colorado is dependent on what you’re looking to do. Are you planning an epic road trip? Wanting to see the iconic views? Are you looking for a weekend trip to the buzzing city of Denver or want to escape to the mountains for a few days? 

With over 300 days of sunshine in a year and an endless list of things to do around the state, you can’t go wrong. Use this guide of the Best Times to Visit Colorado to help you plan your next trip to colorful Colorado!

1. When to Visit for the Best Weather in Colorado

Though I’d argue that Colorado has pretty much the perfect climate year-round, there are a few times of year that have especially ideal weather. 

For that perfect weather, plan your trip to Colorado sometime between June through September. Thanks to the high elevation and dry climate, it never gets too hot in the summer with days reaching highs of 80 or 90 but nights still cooling off to 50 or 60. Pack a few light layers and you’ll never be too hot or cold!

Summer months (June through September) are the perfect time to experience all that Colorado has to offer. 

Head outdoors for a scenic hike in the Rocky Mountains or catch a show at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre for an unforgettable night. Visit the Great Sand Dunes, take a hike in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, or stay in one of the many quaint mountain towns and enjoy the sunshine, long days, and Colorado mountain air!

Because summer has the best weather, you’ll probably run into more crowds and traffic during this time of year. But with so much nature to explore and so many things to do during this time of year, it’s definitely worth it to come to Colorado during the summer!

2. Best Time to See Fall Colors in Colorado

Fall just might be my favorite time of year in Colorado. You can’t really understand the beauty of the fall colors in Colorado until you’re standing in a grove of glittering yellow aspen trees surrounded by the beauty. It’s truly stunning and definitely worth a visit to Colorado in the fall!

To experience the best of the fall colors, plan your visit between mid-September and mid-October. It changes from year to year depending on the weather, but typically the leaves start changing about the second week of September. By the end of September, you’ll find stunning fall foliage just about everywhere! 

The prime time for fall colors in Colorado is the first two weeks of October. Depending on the weather, this is historically when most of the leaves are in full color. 

The northern mountain and areas with higher elevation are on a slightly earlier schedule than the southern mountains, so take that into consideration when planning your trip to see the fall colors. By the end of October, most of the leaves will have fallen.

3. What Time to Visit Colorado to Avoid Crowds

If you want to experience Colorado without feeling overwhelmed by crowds, then I’d suggest avoiding planning a trip during peak travel times. 

Summer becomes a busy time in Colorado with many families taking summer vacations here and visitors flocking toward the mountains for the beautiful hikes in great weather. This means that prices of hotels and rental homes can spike during the summer season. 

To experience Colorado without crowds, come later in the fall (October or November) or early in the spring (March, April, or May). 

You may miss out on the fun summer and winter activities but will definitely get to experience the state without as many visitors. These months are perfect to take a weekend vacation in a Colorado mountain town to enjoy a slow, relaxing weekend. 

Check out Breckenridge, Vail, Frisco, Boulder, or Estes Park for mountain towns to visit in the late fall or early spring.

4. When to Visit Colorado for Sking

With perfect ski weather for 5 months of the year and world-class ski resorts set within the Rocky Mountains, Colorado has become one of the most popular places in the U.S. for skiers to visit in the winter. 

There are many high-quality ski resorts that are within a couple-hour drive from the airport, so whether you’re an experienced skier or a newbie wanting to try it out, Denver is the perfect place for your next ski trip.

To come out for ski season, you’ll want to visit between late November and late March. Most resorts open for the year by the third week in November and most will close around the beginning of April. 

Come to Colorado anytime in between to enjoy some of the best skiing in the country. March is historically the snowiest month of the year in Colorado. For some powdery runs but not too frigid temps, hit the slopes in March! 

PRO TIP: If you’re driving from the airport in Denver, the road to the mountains (I-70) will get very crowded on Friday and Sunday afternoons. If you can plan your trip to accommodate not being on the road during those times, you can save yourself from one major traffic headache!

Popular places to ski in Colorado: 

  • Vail Ski Resort – a world-class ski resort, very popular but worth the hype!
  • Breckenridge Ski Resort – 180+ runs for all levels, close to a fun downtown area for those wanting to mix skiing & mountain town life
  • Loveland Ski Area – reasonably priced, 1-hour drive from Denver
  • Winter Park – many runs for various experience levels, 1-hour 20-minute drive from Denver

5. Best Time to Visit Colorado for Hiking

For the best hiking weather, plan a trip out to Colorado between late May and mid-October

With over 300 days of sunshine per year and the stunning geology of Colorado, this is quite the place for hikers. 

From half-day hikes just outside Denver to quaint mountain towns full of hiking trails, there are an unlimited number of hikes to take in Colorado and you’ll find hikes for all experience levels.

If you’re an experienced hiker, cross “hike a 14er” off your bucket list by choosing one of 58 mountains in Colorado with peaks higher than 14,000 feet! Alternatively, if you like a little learning with your hiking, try the Paint Mines Interpretive Park!

Due to the high elevation in the mountains, it can be a bit chilly and still snowy in the mountains in May. If your destination is high in altitude, June is the best month to begin outdoor hikes.

One of the very best places to hike in Colorado is Rocky Mountain National Park. Head there in the summer months for some of the most scenic hikes in the country! 

Check out the app “All Trails” to find the most popular trails around you and read real people’s reviews of them!

6. When to Visit Colorado for City Events and Activities 

If you’re wanting to experience Colorado for one or more of the many activities going on in the city, then plan a trip either in summer or during the holiday season. Though there are events happening throughout the year, summer and December are the times when you’ll find the most events happening throughout the city!

In the summer (June through September) you’ll find the cities of Colorado buzzing with farmer’s markets, outdoor dining, live music, craft pop-up shows, and community events. Enjoy the summer sunshine at one of the many activities going on during the summer months in Colorado.

From mid-November to late December, you’ll find cities around Colorado with a busy calendar full of holiday events! Plan a visit during this time to take in holiday light shows, buy Christmas gifts at one of the many holiday markets, or attend special community holiday events. 

Check local calendars for your destination before you head out to make sure you don’t miss one of the many fun events happening in Colorado!

7. Cheapest Time to Visit Colorado for Budget Travelers

Are you traveling on a budget? Then visit Colorado between October and November or between January and March. During this time, there are fewer visitors coming to Colorado. 

Fewer visitors in these months mean you’ll find cheaper accommodation, flights, and rental cars so you can save some money.

Don’t worry… Non-peak times don’t mean there’s nothing to do! Though there might not be quite as many events as in the summer months, Colorado still has plenty of outdoor activities as well as community events throughout the year. 

There are amazing restaurants in Colorado where you can enjoy some good food as well as breweries and wineries to grab a drink! 

To really travel on a budget, instead of planning to stay in the city, spend your time outside in nature! From beautiful outdoor hikes to a free visit to Red Rocks Amphitheatre to enjoying one of the many public parks, there are many ways to enjoy time in Denver without spending a lot of money.

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