Beautiful Colorado is a haven for fans of the great outdoors. Located in the Moutain West region of the USA, the state is famous for breathtaking views of the Rockies, fantastic winter sports, and a staggeringly beautiful wilderness of mountains, lakes, and forests. Colorado isn’t all about nature, however, as city slickers will find plenty to enjoy in the state capital Denver. Packed with attractions and with a year-round calendar of unmissable events, the city is one of America’s must-visit destinations at any time of year. Take a look at our handy guide below to discover the best time to visit Colorado.
What season has the best weather to visit Colorado?
Situated in the middle of the North American continent, Colorado experiences four very distinct seasons and a wide range of weather conditions throughout the year. Colorado’s weather year-round is mild in temperature, particularly when compared to other states, although there can be large fluctuations during the day. Wearing layers of clothing that you can add or remove is the key to comfort in Colorado.
Winter in Colorado
As you would expect, temperatures are lower the closer you are to the mountains, and snowfall is common during the winter months in high-altitude destinations such as Breckenridge and Aspen, making it a popular spot for winter sports fanatics. Winter also brings snowfall to cities such as Denver, albeit sporadically. Temperatures can drop brutally low in the winter, especially in mountainous regions where a significant wind chill is always present, so a good thick coat, gloves, scarfs, and other winter gear are essential. With plenty of prolonged snowstorms during the season, it is unsurprising that winter is the best time to visit Colorado for snow.
Colorado in summer
Summer brings higher temperatures and intense thunderstorms. Surprisingly, summer can be the most difficult time to travel into and around Colorado because of these storms, particularly the hail that they cause. Given the state’s location in the Rocky Mountains, hailstorms are frequent and can cause significant damage to vehicles and buildings. Flights are often disrupted during this season, so try to book an early morning or late night flight to avoid the worst conditions. When the sky is not alive with thunder, lightning, rain, and hail, summer in Colorado is hot and dry, often breaking 100F in Denver. If you want to have reliable hot weather, then summer is the best time to visit Colorado. Just don’t forget to pack your raincoat!
Spring in Colorado
Spring in Colorado is a beautiful time to be in the state. The weather, however, is unpredictable. Snow will persist in the mountains until May in some years, while temperatures can range from freezing to scorching hot. Make sure that you pack for all possibilities when visiting Colorado during this period.
Colorado in fall
Colorado’s fall season is stunning, with the rich colors of autumn painting the trees red and gold. The weather is also generally pleasant, with mild temperatures. As is the theme with Colorado’s weather, it is changeable, with fluctuations in temperature and conditions that can change from sunshine to rain to snow and back again over the course of a day. For leaf peepers and fans of the great outdoors, fall is the best time to visit Colorado.
When is tornado season in Colorado?
Colorado experiences the peak of its tornado season in June and July but is possible to encounter them from March through November. The state sees an average of 53 tornadoes each year. For more information about tornado season in America, take a look at our guide here.
When to visit Colorado; a month by month guide
The weather in Colorado in January can be best described as ‘wintery’. It is one of the coldest months in the state, with temperatures averaging 27.32 F (-2.6 C). At night, the temperature plummets to around 7.88 F (-13.4 C). Despite the cold, January is actually one the best time to visit Colorado if you want to hit the slopes or do some outdoor exploration because it is a pretty dry month. There are also as many as 15 days of sunshine, with other days being moderately cloudy, so conditions are ideal for getting out and about so long as you wrap up warm. Of course, Colorado sees a fair share of snowfall in January, with as much as 38 inches of snow in mountainous areas.
Even though the mercury is at its lowest point of the year, January in Colorado sees a great many events. The Denver Botanic Gardens Blossoms Of Light is an unmissable spectacle. Dating back to the 1980s, when the event began as a way to encourage more visitors to the gardens during the frigid winter months, Blossoms Of light has grown into what is considered one of the best holiday light displays in the world. It runs until early January, so if you’re in Colorado at the beginning of the month, head to Denver for a magically ethereal experience in the gardens.
For something a little more high octane, Aspen’s annual Winter X Games sees the best of the best winter sports professionals from all over the world compete in events including skiing, snowboarding, and motocross. Finally, you can enjoy an all-American experience at the National Western Stock Show. This celebration of all things livestock, rodeo, and equestrian runs for 16 days through January at the National Western Center in January.
The average Colorado weather in February is cold. Very cold. With mountain regions being pummeled by snowstorms over the past few months, the accumulated depth is at its peak, making February the best month for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. Sunny days are fewer in February than in January, with conditions more likely to be cloudy, and temperatures are bitterly cold, especially at night when thermometers often dip as low as 9.5 F (12.5 C).
There are numerous events in Colorado throughout February, whatever your interest. One of the biggest and brightest is Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival, an annual event held in celebration of the resort’s western heritage and fame as a winter sports destination. Parades, fireworks, ski jump jamborees, and much more take place through the weekend-long event, which draws visitors from far and wide.
The stars of the next event also come from far and wide. The High Plains Snow Goose Festival sees people flock to witness the annual migration of thousands of beautiful birds from the arctic tundras, in what is the biggest birding event in Colorado, and one of the biggest in all of America. Finally, as February is the month of love and romance, it would be remiss of us not to mention the popular Sweetheart Festival in Loveland. A celebration of Valentine’s Day, the event features live music, food, a tunnel of love, light shows, and ice sculptures.
Even though other places in America are getting ready for spring, things are still very wintery in terms of Colorado weather in March. It is still cold, although temperatures are creeping up, with daytime temperatures reaching up to 36 F (2.4 C). Nights are still very cold, with average temperatures of 16.7 F (-8.5 C). Overall, days are getting sunnier, with around 16 sunshine-filled days in March, and daylight hours numbering 12 for the first time in the year. Snow remains a feature, and winter sports are still very much on the itinerary during March in Colorado.
The events calendar really begins to fill up in March. Held annually on President’s Day weekend, the Boulder International Film Festival is one of the brightest and hottest young movie festivals in the country, with screenings of studio and independent films, documentaries, animations, and more, attracting big names from the world of entertainment. Another massive annual event takes place in March; the Denver St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Taking place over the weekend closest to the 17th of March, this event is one for party-lovers, with pub crawls, Irish bars, and live music long into the night.
Temperatures begin to rise and low-lying snow starts to thaw as the Centennial State heads into spring. Colorado’s weather in April is getting brighter, with over half of the month being sunny and average day temperatures hovering around 44.06 F (6.5 C). April is one of the windiest months in Colorado, making it less ideal for hitting the slopes and taking advantage of the last deep snow of the season.
April heralds springtime not only in weather but in the types of events in Colorado as well. In Vail, the iconic food and drink festival Taste Of Vail takes place early in the month, showcasing local produce and giving visitors and residents the chance to try delicious food and wine. For rail enthusiasts, there’s the Rocky Mountain Train Show. Featuring vendors and displays of model trains of all shapes and sizes, it’s a must-visit for anyone interested in locomotives.
May is a beautiful month to be in Colorado, with carpets of blooming wildflowers and warming temperatures chasing away the need for thick wool coats and snowboots. The weather in May in Colorado is changeable. Snow, rain, and sun are all possible throughout the month, and big fluctuations in temperatures on a day-to-day basis. Nights are still rather chilly, but daytime temperatures average out at 54.86 F (12.7 C). Pack plenty of layers for visiting Colorado in April, so you’ll be able to take on whatever Mother Nature throws at you with ease.
One of the biggest events in Colorado’s May schedule is the annual Cinco De Mayo celebration in Denver. The event welcomes hundreds of thousands of attendees every year to celebrate the Latinx population and culture of the city. Expect tasty food, traditional dancing, live music, and the famous chihuahua race. If you want to find out more about how Cinco De Mayo is celebrated across America, take a look at our guide to where to go for Cinco De Mayo. Slightly more low-key, but still a lot of fun is the Durango Wine Experience. Unsurprisingly, sampling delicious wines is the aim of the festival, which also features pairing dinners, seminars, and expert-led tastings.
Colorado weather in June is, on the whole, pretty nice. It is one of the warmest months in the state. Average daytime temperatures reach 69.8 F (21 C) and many bright, sunny days. It is a great month for enjoying the magnificent wilderness walks and trails in the Rocky Mountains and seeing a different side to usually snow-covered resorts such as Aspen and Breckenridge. However, the Colorado weather in June does have a sting in the tail; it is the month when you are most likely to encounter a tornado. These violent storms are most prevalent in Colorado in June and July. There are also frequent afternoon thunderstorms, that can bring flash flooding and intense hail.
Despite sometimes stormy conditions, many festivals and events in Colorado move outside in June. One of the most impressive sights can be found at Telluride Balloon Festival. Over a weekend in early June, the skies above the valley are filled with colorful hot air balloons that lift off from the streets of Telluride. You can go along to watch or get there early to try and get a space in a basket and see this beautiful part of Colorado from a whole new angle. If you fancy a bit of culture on your vacation, head to the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. This annual event celebrates the works and legacy of the Bard. Taking place in a beautiful outdoor theatre on the University of Colorado Boulder campus, a professional troupe delights audiences as they have done for 60 seasons, showcasing some of Shakespeare’s best-loved and lesser-known works.
In July, things are still warm and summery. The weather in Colorado in July involves the warmest temperatures of the year, with daytime highs of 72.68 F (22.6 C). There are plenty of sunny days, and the amount of daylight reaches almost 15 hours. On the flip side, July is also one of the wettest months of the whole year in Colorado. This is mostly due to the frequent thunderstorms that bring an average of 94 mm of rainfall throughout the month. Tornadoes are also a risk during July in Colorado; along with June, July is the peak month for these types of storms.
One of the best events to attend in Colorado in July is the famous Greeley Stampede. Taking place over Independence Day, the event features a full schedule of classic American events. Rodeos, a demolition derby, parades, country music concerts, and much more are on the agenda. A different type of celebration takes place in Boulder when the Colorado Music Festival comes to town. Nightly classical music concerts provide the soundtrack in beautiful locations around the city.
August is another warm month to visit Colorado, although slightly chilly evenings hint at the oncoming fall. The weather in August in Colorado is much the same as in June and July. There are plenty of bright, warm days punctuated by intense thunderstorms. Although rainstorms are usually short, they carry enough rain to make August the third wettest month of the year and can cause flash flooding.
One of August’s top festivals in Colorado is also one of its most delicious. The Palisade Peach Festival celebrates the world-famous soft fruits that grow in the region. It is one of the oldest agricultural events in the state. Peach-infused food, drinks, activities, and performances take place across the weekend. Alternatively, you can head back in time at the Colorado Renaissance Festival. This summer-long event features jousting, authentic food and drink from bygone ages, and marketplaces where you can purchase all manner of Renaissance-themed crafts.
The first month of fall in Colorado ushers in cooler temperatures, chilly winds, and early snowfall over high elevations. The weather in Colorado in September calls for wrapping up in layers that you can shed on the days when it is warmer. It’s a great time for lacing up your hiking boots to experience the forests and mountains at their most beautiful. From mid-September, the trees of Colorado put on a show, with red, orange, and gold leaves turning the mountainsides into a firey blanket of splendor. September is a fantastic month to visit Colorado for mild days and crisp nights. Surprisingly, there is lower rainfall than during the tempestuous summer season.
With the changing of the seasons comes some new, unmissable events in Colorado. The biggest of the month, and probably the entire year, is the Colorado State Fair and Rodeo. Taking place annually in Pueblo from late August through early September, the event celebrates all things Colorado with local goods, food, and drink on sale alongside rides, fairs, attractions, and live music performances. Pueblo is home to another fantastic event during September; the Chile and Frijoles Festival. This celebration of agriculture encourages visitors and locals alike to buy bold and fiery chiles of every imaginable type from farmers who grow them in the surrounding regions.
The weather in Colorado in October is mild, with autumnal flourishes coming in the form of cold, crisp nights. It is one of the best times to visit Colorado if you don’t mind the chilly conditions. Fall colors are on full display, there are snowy conditions in the mountains, and plenty of sunny days for outdoor explorations.
October is the month of Halloween, and there are lots of spooky celebrations taking place across Colorado throughout the month, including horror film festivals and coffin races. The most well-known (and intense) Halloween event is the terrifyingly immersive 13th Floor Haunted House. Brave participants must survive horror mazes and houses filled with ghosts, ghouls, and monsters. The popular event runs a different themed house every year, and tickets must be purchased in advance. The attraction is best for teens and up, as it is probably a bit too intense for under-12s. If you prefer your events less ghost-infested, then the Great American Beer Festival might be for you. Held in Denver, this is a celebration of breweries, craft beer, and hops and is the ultimate event for lovers of a pint.
Even though it is technically still in fall, it feels as though winter has well and truly arrived where Colorado weather in November is concerned. Temperatures are noticeably colder both during the day and at night. More and more snowfall occurs, not just in the mountains, but at lower elevations too. There are still many sunny days, 19 on average throughout the month. This coupled with low rainfall makes November a surprisingly good month to visit Colorado, so long as you wrap up warm.
Events in Colorado start to get quite festive in November, with Christmas lights appearing in cities and towns across the state. In Denver, the annual arts week gets underway. The festival showcases the talents of Colorado artists and creators with events held around the city. Whether you enjoy dance, painting, sculpture, music, film, or theatre, there will be something exciting happening at Denver Arts Festival during the week.
Fittingly for the first month of winter, December is one of the coldest months to visit Colorado. The weather brings with it all that you would expect from winter in a mountainous region; plenty of snowfall over high and low ground, cold days, and even colder nights. There is still plenty of sunshine, around 14 days on average throughout the month. The rest of the month is generally cloudy with some rainy days.
In December, Christmastime is the theme of most events in Colorado. Christmas lights and parades are plentiful, and Christmas markets spring up in cities, towns, and resorts across the state. One of the very best is the Christkindl Market in Denver, Colorado’s only authentic Christmas market. Gingerbread house chalets selling wooden ornaments, Glühwein, roasted chestnuts, and all-things-Christmassy give the streets of Denver a truly Black Forest-like feeling. In Breckenridge, a different European heritage is celebrated at Ullr Fest, an event celebrating the Norse god of snow. Parades, bonfires, curling, ice skating, and all manner of winter activities are on the itinerary.
Stay in a luxurious vacation home when you visit Colorado with Top Villas
To get the most out of your Colorado trip, you’ll want to stay in the best locations in the state. Our stunning Colorado vacation rentals in Breckenridge and Vail Valley are ideal for families and groups. They offer easy access to the magnificent mountains, ski slopes, and attractions of Centennial State.