The Best Time to Visit Colorado for Good Weather, Affordable Prices, and Fewer Crowds

These are the best times to visit Colorado, whether you're looking to ski, hike, or admire wildflowers.

Rear View Of Woman With Dog Walking On Mountain Against Sky in Ridgeway, Colorado

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People love Colorado — and for good reason. The state is an outdoor lover’s paradise, with four national parks and plenty of beautiful mountain towns offering hiking, biking, and skiing opportunities. Some travelers come to hit the trails, while others visit to escape the heat and enjoy the views. No matter your travel style, the state has something for everyone — even Denver day-trippers will find a national park less than a two-hour car ride away.

Here’s a local’s rundown on the best time to visit Colorado, including when to go to avoid the crowds, see wildflowers, and ski.

Best Time to Visit Colorado for Good Weather

Anyone who has spent enough time in Colorado knows that the weather can change quickly — and vary from year to year. Typically, however, the best weather can be found between June and October. During this warm-weather window, snowfall is unlikely (but not impossible) and the sun is almost always shining.

If you run hot, skip July and August, which are usually the warmest months. Instead, plan your trip for the spring or fall. Just keep in mind the weather is always cooler in the mountains (and at higher elevations) when compared to Denver, which can be surprisingly hot in the middle of summer. 

Aerial view of autumn, falls colors of Grand Mesa National Forest from overlook at Scenic Byway State Highway 65 in Colorado

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Best Time to Visit Colorado to Avoid the Crowds

Much of Colorado’s tourism revolves around the outdoors, so during the break between ski season and summer, as well as between fall and ski season (a.k.a. shoulder or off-season), you’ll typically find fewer people.

These two crowd-free travel windows are April and May, then October through mid-December. Once summer or ski season is in full swing, you’ll find more cars on the road, more people at the resorts, and full restaurants.

Best Time to Visit Colorado for Lower Prices

The good news is that during these crowd-free periods in Colorado, the prices tend to be lower, too. If you’re traveling near a ski area, hotel rates may be at their peak during ski season and not much lower during the height of summer. Those same hotels, however, will often have lower rates in the early spring (April and May) and late fall to early winter (late October to mid-December).

Wildflowers along Mosquito Pass in Colorado

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Best Time to Visit Colorado for Wildflowers

Nailing down wildflower season is almost impossible, since the arrival of the blooms depends on several factors — most notably snowmelt and elevation. That said, the flowers usually start appearing in lower elevations between late spring and early summer, and at higher elevations, in July and sometimes into August.

The great thing is that even though wildflower season is hard to predict, you can almost always find blooms between May and August — you just have to be willing to make the journey (or hike) to see them.

Best Time to Visit Colorado for Skiing

Colorado’s ski season typically runs from late November through early April, but it varies greatly based on the area. Some ski spots, like Arapahoe Basin and Keystone, welcome visitors as early as late October and remain open through mid-June, and in some cases, even early July. It all depends on snowfall, elevation, and snowmaking.

That said, the snow tends to be nice and deep (and still falling) in late January and into February, while March offers warm-weather spring skiing.

Young male skiing at speed on slopes, Vail, Colorado

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Best Time to Visit Colorado for Hiking

If you have the right equipment, you can trek many trails in Colorado year-round, but peak hiking season runs from June through October. During this window, most trails are snow-free and the majority of high-mountain passes are open. In the middle of summer (July and August), you’ll want to bring plenty of sun protection and a waterproof jacket, as the rainy season arrives around the time the temperatures jump.

Those who want to hike in May and early June will need to bring microspikes for traversing snow-covered trails, while those interested in trekking late into fall should pack layers and be prepared for the possibility of snow.

Best Time to Visit Colorado for Fall Foliage

Like wildflower season, the best time to catch the state’s colorful fall foliage changes based on summer moisture and elevation. Trees at lower elevations tend to change later, while those high in the mountains will transform earlier in the summer. In general, fall colors reach their peak between mid-September and mid-October.

Your best bet is to visit a place with a high number of aspen trees, which boast beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds, and plan to travel up or down in elevation in order to find trees at the peak of change.

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