A guide to visiting Colorado in the spring

Published

1 January, 2024

Edited

19 January, 2024

Colorado is one of the finest winter destinations in the world. But once the snow starts to melt and the temperature warms up, this breathtaking part of the USA takes on a whole new persona. Colorado in spring is a place where alpine valleys are filled with wildflowers, the lakes and rivers sparkle, and the hiking trails open up, just begging to be explored.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what makes Colorado a must-visit destination in spring, and all the things you can get up to during April, May and June. Explore historic towns, wander along breathtaking hiking trails and take part in local festivals, our Colorado chalets will place a world of adventures right on your doorstep this springtime.

Best springtime destinations in Colorado

If you want to spend springtime in Colorado, you have several destinations to choose from. All put you close to various parts of the Rockies, but it's also worth remembering that once the winter snows have melted, accessibility is much easier. Why not hire a car and explore a little further afield?

Aspen

Probably one of the most famous winter destinations in the Rockies, Aspen is a fabulous base to explore Colorado in spring.

Renowned for its sumptuous chalets, sublime mountain slopes and vibrant cultural scene, it’s also the perfect destination if you want to explore the high mountain trails. It’s worth acclimatising in Denver for a day or so before heading to Aspen to minimise the effects of the city’s high altitude.

Breckenridge

Once a goldrush frontier town built on mining for precious gold and silver in the surrounding mountains, modern-day Breckenridge is a charming and vibrant town.

Famous for its gourmet food and boutique shopping, Breckenridge also boasts some of the best ski slopes in Colorado. In spring, and especially during April, the slopes are still accessible for skiing and snowboarding. Once the thaw sets in during May and June, the mountain passes open up for trekking, hiking and mountain biking.

Steamboat Springs

It’s said that the name Steamboat Springs originated from the sounds of rushing water that the miners heard as they burrowed under the mountains in search of gold and silver.

Today, this historically significant town is a fantastic destination all year round and is especially attractive in the spring. The slopes still offer up great quality powder snow in April and even early May, but once it melts the town becomes a vibrant springtime destination that’s family-friendly too.

Vail & Beaver Creek

Vail & Beaver Creek are magical places to visit and a perfect base to explore Colorado in the spring. Vail is based on a vision of an authentic Swiss alpine village, so expect charming chalets and cobbled streets.

Beaver Creek is superbly family-friendly, with a busy events schedule that makes it well worth a visit if you’re looking for things to do in Colorado in April, May or June.

Telluride

Telluride might have some of the best skiing in the Rockies, but during the spring, its amazing events and festivals calendar bursts into life. Whether you’re into films or music, gourmet food or international culture, you'll find the perfect event for you here in spring.

Springtime events, attractions & festivals

The weather in Colorado in the spring is generally gorgeous, with blue skies and rising temperatures. That makes April, May and June the ideal months to really kick off the events and festivals calendar.

In early April, Vail takes centre stage with their famous Taste of Vail food festival. If you love fine dining, gourmet food and wonderful wines, this is the festival to head to. Taster sessions introduce you to some of Colorado’s best food and wine, and there are plenty of seminars and events to tantalise your palette.

The Telluride Mountainfilm Festival in May is the precursor to the legendary Sundance Film Festival later in the year. Telluride’s Mountainfilm Festival is a real treat for movie lovers and is one of the longest-running film festivals in the country. It’s a chance to see the best cultural, exploration and adventure films from up-and-coming producers and directors.

A real treat for the kids is the hugely entertaining Cardboard Classic in Steamboat Springs in May. It’s a chance to race down Headwall in homemade sledges made of cardboard, glue, string, duct tape, mixed in with a good dose of fun. It's a hilarious way to round off the winter sports season in Steamboat.

Things to do in Colorado in spring

Colorado spring activities range from the last of the winter sports with some spring skiing to adventure trails and hiking to discover Colorado's lakes and waterfalls. With so much natural beauty on display, even if it's a late thaw, there's always something to see or do.

Hiking trails and nature walks

As the snowline retreats to the high peaks in April and May, the hiking trails and nature walks open up. This is your chance to swap your skis for hiking boots and see the full glory of an alpine wildflower meadow in full bloom. The best time to see the wildflowers is in May and June once the temperatures have started to warm up.

Exploring Colorado's lakes and waterfalls

Colorado may be famous for its mountains, but it also has some glorious lakes and waterfalls to discover.

If you're into fishing, Colorado in spring marks the start of the fly-fishing and angling season, with plenty of brown trout to tempt skilled casters. If you prefer to snap pictures rather than catch fish, waterfalls such as Box Canyon Falls in Ouray, Fish Creek Falls in Steamboat, and the spectacular Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride are in full flood, thanks to the spring meltwater.

Thrilling adventure sports

The ski season may be coming to an end, but the adventure sports season is just getting started. With everything from guided adventure tours to sky diving and paragliding, zip lining and ATV tours, there’s something for everyone and all ages.

The Rocky Mountain National Park in spring is alive with visitors who want to make the most of the Great Outdoors, including water adventures such as whitewater rafting and kayaking. If you’re into adventure sports, Colorado is the place to be in the spring.

Birdwatching hotspots across Colorado

We’re in eagle country here, so if you’ve never seen an American Bald Eagle in the flesh, you may get lucky here in Colorado. Rocky Mountain National Park and Pawnee National Grassland are the top birdwatching hotspots. You could also catch sight of rare birds like the American Dipper, the Red Crossbill, and the charming little White-crowned Sparrow during the springtime.

Spring skiing

There are still plenty of opportunities to catch some great skiing, even in May and June. You may have to head a little higher up the mountains to find the best powder, but with the weather still changeable in spring, there's often a chance to ski or snowboard at lower altitudes.

The lifts run all year round, so it's easy to get up to the top of the runs for a day's skiing, and the crowds are often a little thinner, too.

Pikes Peak

The inspiration for the anthem 'America the Beautiful' and embedded in the culture and history of the native people who called this region home long before Europeans arrived, Pikes Peak is an iconic landmark with a 14,115ft-high summit.

The great thing is that there's a road winding all the way up (it's used for terrifyingly fast 'hill climb' races in the summer), or you can take the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which has been winding its way up the mountain since 1891. You can also hike or mountain bike up along trails like the Barr Trail and the Manitou Incline. If you're looking for things to do in spring in Colorado and you’re feeling energetic, Pikes Peak beckons.

Planning your spring itinerary

If you’re planning a trip to Colorado in April, May or June, here are our top tips to make sure your Colorado visit is one to remember.

1. Changeable weather – Expect the unexpected when it comes to the weather. While the temperatures are warming up, this is a mountainous region, and a morning of bright sunshine can be replaced by a heavy snowfall by lunchtime. Pack extra jumpers and thermal base layers just in case the temperature decides to take a dive.

2. Festivals galore – Spring is a great time for festivals in Colorado, so talk to your Travel Advisor and do some online research to find out if there are festivals that would interest you. It's then a matter of seeing what onefinestay chalets are on offer in Colorado and booking early.

3. Hire a 4x4 – Leave the sports car at home if you're driving. This is 4x4 country, and if the weather does change you'll need a 4x4 or AWD vehicle to get around. If you're staying with us, your dedicated concierge can help you book appropriate car rentals.

4. Plan your itinerary with some local help – If you're booking a chalet in Colorado with onefinestay, your dedicated concierge can help you plan a packed itinerary that includes excursions, tours and events while still leaving you with plenty of time to do your own thing.

5. Family-friendly fun – Colorado in the spring offers plenty in the way of family fun, from zip-lining and adventure hiking to cycling and kayaking. It’s the right time to include some family-friendly adventures in your itinerary. Colorado chalets in locations like Steamboat, Breckenridge and Telluride are ideal for exploring the mountains, national parks, and cycling trails.

7. Take the time to acclimatise – If you’re not used to high altitude, it’s worth stopping over in Denver for a couple of days to acclimatise yourself to the altitude. It also gives you a chance to explore Denver, one of the highest cities in the world and a fabulous mix of high-end retail and gourmet dining.

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