Colorado – Weather and Best Times

Rugged, snow-capped peaks. A growing and trendy capital city. And a variety of activities to do all year long. These are the things that draw people to Colorado. If you’re like us and have a thirst for adventure, you have to plan your next vacation to visit the Centennial State!

The hardest part of planning a trip to Colorado is choosing the best time to go.

From skiing to mountain biking, and from wine tasting to concert-going, there are seasons for just about anything your heart desires in Colorado!

I live in Colorado and in this guide, I’ll answer practically any weather and seasonal-related question you could think of when planning a trip to Colorado.

You’ll learn what the different seasons are like, when the best time of year to experience great weather in each of its major regions, the best time to visit for hiking and national parks, as well as so much more!

By the end of this post, you’ll be able to confidently plan the trip of a lifetime to Colorado. Let’s get started and check our 7 Colorado expert tips:

1. Best Time to Visit | Overall

During fall we often take the most gorgeous photos in Colorado

The best time to visit Colorado is from mid-June until early October. During this period the weather is mostly pleasant enough to enjoy the gorgeous landscapes and the national parks while hiking or sightseeing. However, lower elevations can get hot during summertime.

2. Weather by Seasons

Fall in the Mount Sneffels range. Northern San Juan Mountains

The weather in Colorado is characterized by hot summers and cold winters with fairly large temperature variations between the different regions and seasons. The average high temperature ranges from 25°F (-4°C) in the coldest areas in winter to around 80°F (27°C) in the warmer locations during summer.

January tends to be the coldest month in Colorado with temps below freezing in cold regions. July, or sometimes August, is typically the warmest month with average highs climbing above 80°F (27°C).

Large temperature variations: The temperature can fluctuate by 30°F or more in most areas each day, with daily highs typically being achieved in the afternoon.

Rain: In Colorado, precipitation occurs in different forms as rain, snow, or hail. The amount varies seasonally, and by location.

Throughout Colorado, the average yearly precipitation (rain and snow) is about 17 inches. South central Colorado and San Luis Valley receive under 7 inches per year, which is much less compared to the mountain regions, which get up to 40 inches and more.

Denver has a relatively dry climate, with an average of 8 to 15 inches of annual precipitation.

A little-known fact about Colorado is that most areas receive over 300 days of sunshine each year, which means that there is plenty of great weather to be experienced all year round! Additionally, the humidity is generally low.

Spring | March-May

Average high temperatures:


  • March: 56°F (13°C)
  • April: 65°F (18°C)
  • May: 74°F (23°C)

Colorado Springs:

  • March: 54°F (12°C)
  • April: 60°F (16°C)
  • May: 69°F (21°C)

Rocky Mountain National Park:

  • March: 44°F (7°C)
  • April: 50°F (10°C)
  • May: 61°F (16°C)

Great Sand Dunes National Park

  • March: 50°F (10°C)
  • April: 58°F (14°C)
  • May: 70°F (21°C)

Springtime weather in Colorado is often characterized by warm temperatures during the daytime. But at night, temperatures can still get below freezing! Plus, there is still a chance for it to snow especially in the mountains.

Keep in mind that March is still cold in many regions with average high temperatures ranging from 50°F to 56°F. Additionally, we often have wintery conditions at higher elevations.

Colorado will usually see at least one or two spring snowstorms during this time frame. The snow is generally wet and heavy, making travel difficult at times.

Summer | June – August
Denver’s public parks are beautiful in the summer!

Average high temperatures:


  • June: 86°F (30°C)
  • July: 92°F (33°C)
  • August: 90°F (32°C)

Colorado Springs:

  • June: 80°F (27°C)
  • July: 85°F (30°C)
  • August: 82°F (28°C)

Rocky Mountain National Park:

  • June: 63°F (17°C)
  • July: 69°F (20°C)
  • August: 66°F (19°C)

Great Sand Dunes National Park

  • June: 78°Ff (26°C)
  • July: 82°F (28°C)
  • August: 79°F (26°F)

Colorado’s summers are short, but oh boy are they sweet.

Summertime weather in Colorado is perfect for getting outside and enjoying all of the beautiful areas that Colorado is known for!

Near Denver, average high temperatures tend to stay in the mid-90s Fahrenheit and as low as the mid-60s throughout the summer.

Precipitation during the summer usually falls during the afternoon. While it doesn’t rain every day, the rain storms that come through are generally quick and heavy.

Fall | September-November

Average high temps:


  • September: 82°F (28°C)
  • October: 68°F (20°C)
  • November: 57°F (14°C)

Colorado Springs:

  • September: 75°F (24°C)
  • October: 63°F (17°C)
  • November: 51°F (11°C)

Rocky Mountain National Park:

  • September: 59°F (15°C)
  • October: 46°F (18°C)
  • November: 34°F (1°C)

Great Sand Dunes National Park

  • September: 73°F (23°C)
  • October: 61°F (16°C)
  • November: 47°F (8°C)

Fall weather in Colorado is a welcomed reprieve from the hot temperatures of the summer. Warm daytime temperatures make going outside incredibly enjoyable, as temperatures tend to stay in the mid-70s to low-60s Fahrenheit during the day and down to the mid-50s and high-40s in the evening.

💡 Be aware of the colder temps at higher elevations and the significant temperature drop toward the end of the fall in November.

Not much rainfall comes during the fall in Colorado. However, it is not uncommon for snow to start flying as early as October!

Winter- December- February

Average high temps:


  • December: 47°F (8°C)
  • January: 49°F (9°C)
  • February: 49°F (9°C)

Colorado Springs:

  • December: 43°F (6°C)
  • January: 43°F (6°C)
  • February: 45°F (7°C)

Rocky Mountain National Park:

  • December: 25°F (-4°C)
  • January: 27°F (-3°C)
  • February: 28°F (-2°C)

Great Sand Dunes National Park

  • December: 36°F (2°C)
  • January: 35°F (2°C)
  • February: 40°F (4°C)

Colorado winters are what makes Colorado so world-famous! Snow is usually plentiful, with areas in the mountains getting well over 100 inches of snowfall each season on average. Snow during the middle of the winter is usually light and fluffy, which is perfect for playing in.

Temperatures in Colorado during the winter generally are pretty cold. In Denver, the average highs range from 47°F to 49°F, which is warmer than in most other regions. In Colorado Springs the highs tend to stay in the low to mid-40s.

Nighttime lows are going down to the low teens and even as cold as below 0!

3. Best Time to Visit for Great Weather

The variety of activities and the variety of seasons make Colorado a great place to visit any time of year. It really just depends on what you’re looking to do on your trip!

But if we were to pick a month that is the ideal time to visit Colorado, we’d have to say September. Visiting Colorado in September offers visitors the best opportunity to do just about any activity they can think of!

Temperatures in Denver cool off enough to make being outside all day very comfortable. In the mountains, temperatures cool off even more, which causes the aspen leaves to change colors. This creates a fall wonderland with brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and even reds to paint the mountainsides!

And on the western slope in towns like Grand Junction and Palisade, temperatures are still nice and warm. The western slope experiences some of the warmest temperatures in the state during September, making it the ideal time to visit all of the wineries that make the western slope of Colorado’s wine country famous!

4. Best Time to Visit Colorado for Hiking

The hiking community in Colorado is alive and well practically all year long! There are trails that you can enjoy during all parts of the year if you visit the right spots at the right times.

Best Time to Hike in the Summer

If you’re hiking around Denver, Fort Collins, Boulder, Colorado Springs, or in the mountains, definitely go during June. June temperatures are warm, but not too hot yet and the snow in the mountains has mostly melted away.

Best Time to Hike in the Fall

Fall hiking is some of the best hiking Colorado has to offer. We’d highly recommend going hiking in the mountains during September and October as the temperatures are nice and cool during the day. Plus, the fall colors from the leaves are spectacular.

Best Time to Hike in the Winter

Winter hiking can be challenging in Colorado, as the majority of the trails that aren’t buried in snow are in the western slope desert. But these hikes are some of the most beautiful (and solitary) in the entire state! Go hiking during December and January in places like Grand Junction and Palisade.

Temperatures are cool with highs reaching the low to mid-50s during the day. This makes taking hikes like the Palisade Rim Trail and the infamous Mount Garfield trail much more enjoyable than any other time of year.

5. Best Time to Visit Colorado National Parks

The best time to visit Colorado National Parks is in the spring and fall months when the weather is pleasant enough and the summer crowds have not arrived yet or thinned out. The best months for Mesa Verde are October/November, for Rocky Mountain National Park from June to September, and for Great Sand Dunes is May.

Each park has an ideal time of year to visit for viewing the spectacular scenery that inspired their designation as national parks! Be sure to visit each one at the right time to get the best experience

Colorado is home to four national parks. They are:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park

As one of the most popular national parks in Colorado, getting to Rocky Mountain National Park can be tricky. The best time to visit to enjoy pleasant weather is from mid-June to September. However, July and August are also the busiest months.

By summer, all of the park is open as the highest points in the park have had all the snow melt away.

Mesa Verde National Park

A little-known fact about Colorado is that Mesa Verde is actually Colorado’s very first national park! It is one of the coolest places to visit as well. Long ago, the first people to live in what is now Colorado built complex apartment-style buildings in the side of a cliff to live in!

Today, you can tour through these ancient apartments in guided groups. The best time of year to visit is October and November. Mesa Verde is located in the southwestern corner of Colorado, where summertime temperatures can get into the high 90s during the day!

October and November offer cool temperatures to fully enjoy your tour of the ancient cliff dwellings that make Mesa Verde famous.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

One of the most gorgeous places to visit in the middle of Colorado is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The Gunnison River flows deep inside of the canyon, but you can still hear it churning 1,000’ above on the rim of the canyon! For the best experience, come in May.

Snow can sometimes be present in May, but the hot temperatures of June and July are still a long way off. Plus, the snow adds to the aesthetic of the beautifully shaped walls of the canyon. Some areas look as if they were painted by a giant hand with the level of detail present inside of the exposed rock!

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Once you’re done at Black Canyon of the Gunnison, make sure to check out Great Sand Dunes National Park in May as well. Formed from drifting sand that flies from all over the San Luis Valley, these Sand Dunes stand at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This creates quite an impressive view during the wintertime as the snowcapped peaks tower over the sandy hills below.

But May is the time to visit. This is because those same snowcapped peaks release their grip on the water that they store during the winter as snow runoff that goes right through the sand dunes. The snow runoff creates impressive seasonal creeks that meander through the park and are a must-see event for anyone who visits Colorado!

6. Best Time to See Fall Colors

The peak time for fall foliage color in Colorada is typically from mid-September to mid-October. However, the best time to view the fall color explosion varies by the summer and fall weather conditions and by elevation.

Golden aspens give Colorado’s mountains their distinctive yellow and gold hues throughout the fall season, making the state’s foliage one of the most distinctive in the country. In the United States, the states of Colorado and Utah are home to the greatest amount of aspen trees.

Good to know: Denver and its surrounding region include one of the longest periods of fall colors of any city in the U.S. Trees in Colorado’s mountains will change color earlier than trees at lower elevations.

You may make the most of the leaf-peeping season by hiking in Colorado’s state and national parks or simply by walking in Denver’s beautiful parks.

7. Best Time to Visit Colorado Ski Resorts

Skie resort Breckenridge, Colorado

Skiing and Colorado go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s an iconic pairing that just makes sense! Colorado is full of amazing ski resorts that bring skiers and snowboarders alike in droves to reap the benefits of champagne powder.

Depending on the snow conditions, ski resorts in Colorado usually open in late November. However, some already open up in October.

By mid-April, the ski resorts are typically closing.

The best time to visit Colorado’s ski resorts is from mid-December until early March. Outside of this period, snow conditions aren’t always ideal. The snowiest months are February and March.

Going in late February or early March, before the spring break crowds arrive, will give you the best snow conditions and a fantastic skiing experience.

The most popular resorts in the state are:

  • Vail
  • Breckenridge
  • Aspen

Let’s talk about when the best time is to visit each one in detail:


Vail is the largest ski resort in Colorado with over 5,000 skiable acres to explore. While Vail does open as early as mid-November, the best time to go is in February.

By February, Vail has plenty of fresh snow falling and has all of its terrain open. Plus, most of the crowds that come out during the early season and during the holidays pretty much die down. This leaves you with fewer lines at the lifts and more wide-open terrain to carve up!


Breckenridge is home to some of the highest skiing in Colorado. With a summit of nearly 13,000’, Peak 8 lift gives you access to alpine skiing at its finest.

Definitely plan on visiting Breckenridge in January. There will be plenty of snow to enjoy and the risk of avalanches at the top of the mountain is minimal in January. The resort does a great job of making the mountain safe by blasting away potential problem areas, so don’t worry about that! January is the time of year when blasting operations aren’t in full swing yet as snow conditions aren’t at the point that demands blasting yet.


One of the most famous resorts to ski in Colorado is Aspen. The beauty of the Roaring Fork Valley as you drive to it creates a sense of awe and wonder that acts almost like a magnetic pull for people all around the world!

Aspen in December is almost second to none. The town is all decorated for the holidays and the mountains are covered in snow for excellent skiing conditions. All of the festivities and lights make Aspen the perfect winter wonderland in December!

Must-Know Tips | Final Thoughts

Colorado truly is a magical place to visit during almost any time of year. One of the best things you can do is to pack plenty of layers when visiting. There’s a famous saying in Colorado that goes something like “if you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes!”

Weather can change in Colorado pretty quickly and without much warning. This is especially true in the mountains! It’s not uncommon to see snow falling in the mountains as late as June and as early as October.

By bringing plenty of extra layers, you’ll be ready to take on anything that Colorado weather throws at you no matter the season! Where will you go first? When will you travel to Colorado? Let us know in the comments below! We can’t wait to hear all about your trip.

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