There's a common misconception that Colorado is mostly a winter tourism state, rich with ski hills, mountains and beautiful festive villages dotting the pristine white snow. While it's certainly true that winters in this mountainous state are beautiful, it's also a fantastic vacation destination all year round. Nicknamed "The Centennial State," it's a location jam-packed with incredible outdoor adventures, including swimming, hiking, skiing, horseback riding and quiet moments spent tucked into a chalet as the snow falls.
The Best Time to Visit
Colorado is best explored in the spring and fall, during the months of March, April, May, September and October. During the spring and fall, temperatures remain reasonable yet visitors can still access skiing deep in the mountains if desired. While all four of these months are technically "offseason," they're desirable because they bring fewer crowds and more comfortable temperatures for hiking and playing outdoors. Offseason pricing also makes a vacation to Colorado easier on budgets.
The best time to visit Colorado also depends on what visitors want to do when they arrive. If tourists are craving skiing, they should come after October and before March. If they're craving whitewater rafting or swimming, dates between May and September translate into the best experience.
Colorado's Best Hiking Areas
Colorado is home to some of the best hiking destinations in the United States, including the picturesque Mount Bierstadt and Four Pass Loop. These aren't hikes for newbies as takes approximately four days to complete a hike at Four Pass Loop, and Mount Bierstadt is challenging even for accomplished hikers. Both are unparalleled experiences not easily forgotten. Other Colorado hiking areas that deserve mention include:
- La Plata Peak
- Longs Peak
- Blue Lakes Trail
- Butler Gulch
- Crater Lake
- Caribou Lake
- Lost Man Loop
- Torreys Peak
All told, Colorado is home to hundreds of trails ranging from simple and sweet with lovely scenery to intense, grueling climbs suitable for only the most intrepid travelers. The latter is best traversed with a guide.
Sweet Summer Experiences
Travelers who come to Colorado in the summer should head to one of the state's five most popular towns: Crested Butte, Steamboat Springs, Ouray, Telluride and Glenwood Springs. Each of these gorgeous mountain towns offers easy access to swimming areas, tourist-friendly hikes, rafting, camping and horseback riding excursions from the comfort and safety of civilization. Tourists who prefer to enjoy the scenery from the lap of luxury should head to Colorado Springs instead, where gourmet restaurants, a small nightclub scene and other amenities provide fun and excitement.
Winter Wonderland Adventures
For winter snow bunnies, no town calls the ski lover's spirit like Aspen or Breckenridge. Both towns are home to some of the most popular ski resorts in the country, including the famous Breckenridge Resort and Aspen Snowmass Village and Resort. These mountain villages are especially picturesque during the festive season when celebrations, decorations and Christmas lights dot the landscape and local residents come together to create an experience that's truly special. Come for the double-black-diamond trails or just curl up by the fireplace while watching others careen down the hills - it's an incredible experience either way.