If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience full of adventure and breathtaking natural wonders, then take a trip to the state of Colorado. During the winter, skiers enjoy the state’s bounty of premium ski resorts in cities like Aspen and Vail. From springtime through autumn, hikers and climbers challenge their skills on Colorado’s numerous nature trails in the Rocky Mountains. Additionally, look forward to exploring museums, festivals, and attractions such as the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs; the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg; and historic Ellitch Gardens and Theme Park in Denver. Regardless of what time of year you plan to visit, you’re bound for a fantastic getaway when you book a stay at one of many Colorado vacation rentals. Take a look at the seasonal highlights of this gorgeous state.
Visiting Colorado in the Summer
The towering mountain peaks still wear their snow-white winter caps, but summer in Colorado is glorious. Locals challenge their skills as they climb the imposing 14,000-plus feet mountains such as Little Bear Creek and Capitol, known in these parts as the 14ers. Fishermen flock to high country rivers, lakes, and mountains where the waters teem with a variety of fish including fat rainbow trout. Gore Greek, with its beautiful rock-lined stream, quiet tree-studded surroundings and mountain vistas, is a favorite. There’s plenty of wildlife to watch while hiking through the alpine meadows carpeted with wildflowers. The higher you walk the more refreshing the temperatures and rewarding the views. When wondering what to pack, err on the side of caution and bring along a flannel shirt or sweater, long pants, and sturdy shoes whether you find a vacation rental in the hills or the city because Colorado weather has a mind of its own and evenings tend to coolness.
Pull on shorts, a tank, and flip-flops because festival season is in full swing. Enjoy sunshine and music at one of Denver or Colorado Spring’s free outdoor park concerts or head over to Westcliffe for the High Mountain Hay Fever Festival. This music festival is lesser-known, but it’s a blast. Rodeos are popular in this western state and Steamboat Springs has one of the best. The Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Art in the Park is held in the fresh mountain air where vendors display and sell artwork, hot air balloons put on quite a show, and there’s a special area just for the kids.
Visiting Colorado in the Fall
Beautiful fall foliage marches into Colorado beginning in early September, especially in the mountains. Glorious stands of ‘quaking’ aspen rustle in the breeze and create a gorgeous counterpoint in vibrant color against the evergreens. The fall temperatures are mild across the state, but it’s best to plan on bringing layers as the weather changes are sudden and temperatures often dip deeply at night. A visit to the Great Sand Dunes in southern Colorado is a must-do for a fall vacation. This attraction has the tallest and highest dunes in North America thanks to winds from the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges.
Fall festivals keep locals and visitors busy. They tap their feet to lively music, buy handmade harvest crafts, or sit on a sunny patio with a local craft beer in hand. Two of the best festivals in Denver are Oktoberfest on Larimer Square and the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Estes Park hosts the popular Autumn Gold Festival that features, in addition to the traditional music, beer, food and fun, a classic car show and a huge raffle where the winner takes home $5,000.
Visiting Colorado in the Winter
By Thanksgiving, it’s time to swap out flip-flops and shorts for hiking boots and snowshoes as snow hits the high country, ski resorts open, and temperatures along the Front Range drop. There are plenty of warm days, but it’s still wise to bring a jacket or sweater, jeans, and comfortable shoes. The 27 ski areas in Colorado send out their siren calls to winter-sports lovers and there’s more to do at these resorts than ski. Hundreds of trails are groomed just for snowboarders, snowmobilers, and cross-country skiers. When visiting Denver and there’s not enough time to go to the hills, Fairmount Cemetery, in the heart of the city, maintains trails for cross-country and snowboarding. Cold weather never stops Coloradans from enjoying a special event. The Starz Denver Film Festival is held in November, and the National Western Stock Show in January is a must-see attraction. When the weather outside is frightful, however, the Downtown Aquarium, Jump City, and the Children’s Museum in Denver are great places to hang out and have some fun.
Visiting Colorado in the Spring
Springtime in the Rockies is amazing. The snow is melting off the peaks, rivers are flowing more forcefully, and temperatures are creeping up, especially on the eastern slope of the Rockies. When visiting Boulder, Denver, or Colorado Springs the best things to pack are a warm jacket or heavy sweater and perhaps an umbrella as the Front Range experiences the most rain during April and May. Many of the state’s 27 ski resorts, such as Steamboat, Loveland, and Purgatory stay open through mid-May. Locals report that spring skiing in shorts and tank tops is not unusual as the sun shines brighter and warmer at altitude. Finding a charming vacation rental anywhere in the state is a snap during this travel shoulder season. There are plenty of spring festivals across the state to enjoy such as the Buena Vista Paddlefest over the Arkansas River rapids, the Boulder Creek Festival, and the Montrose Wine and Food Festival.
When Is The Best Time to Visit Colorado?
Fall is the best time to visit. Not only are the days comfortably warm and full of sunshine, but there’s still plenty of activities to enjoy, both in the mountains and on the plains. The high-country roads are lined with beautiful foliage that attracts many leaf-peepers, but there are fewer crowds overall. Vacation rentals are affordable, and there are shorter waits at popular attractions. Harvest time is celebrated with numerous farmers’ markets. A Colorado favorite is in Palisades, a small town on the Western slope near Grand Junction. Palisades is known for its out-of-this-world fresh and juicy peaches and Coloradans flock to Palisades for this once-a-year treat. Can’t make it to Palisades on your vacation? Don’t fret. Visitors can buy them at one of the Front Range markets such as the Golden Farmers Market or the City Park Esplanade Fresh Market near downtown Denver.
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