Top Things to Do in Colorado in the Summer

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Advisor - Nancy McLaughlin
Curated By

Nancy McLaughlin

  • Colorado

  • Aspen

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  • Summer

  • Outdoors

  • Mountains

gondola going down a mountain with pink and purple skies, a great thing to do in the summer in Colorado
Curator’s statement

Colorado is known for its spectacular mountains, cool culture, laid-back attitude and low humidity in the summer. You can explore the state on foot, bike, car, raft and even a gondola! It's a beautiful state to enjoy year-round, but here are my top things to do in Colorado in the summer.

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Things to do in Colorado

large red rocks during daytime

Fly Fishing

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has designated 11 rivers and three lakes Gold Medal fishing. Try your luck on a river: Arkansas, Frying Pan, Gunnison, Rio Grande, or Colorado River, or on Steamboat Lake. You could even stay at the Orvis-endorsed private fly fishing retreat 75 minutes west of The Broadmoor Hotel along Colorado's famed Tarryall River.


Camping is great but why not take it up a notch and experience Colorado luxury glamping! Some of the best spots are nestled in the Rocky Mountains near Aspen and Vail. Dunton River Camp outside of Telluride is a gorgeous property set on a former cattle ranch. Nearby you can even plan ahead and book a three-night Glamping Package in a Luxury Colorado Yurt with a pass to the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival in mid-September.

Mountain Biking

Anyone can ski and snowboard the resorts in Colorado, but you can ride a mountain bike down them in the summer! Take a lift or gondola up Aspen Snowmass, Breckenridge, Vail, Winter Park and Keystone, and enjoy the bike and scenic views as you ride down.

Visit a Hot Spring

Colorado has more than 20 natural hot springs open year-round. Five of my favorites are Glenwood Springs, Hot Sulphur Springs, Great Pagosa Springs, Dunton Hot Springs and Strawberry Park in Steamboat Springs. You can choose to stay at a nearby upscale resort, many of which offer a day pass option.

Visit the National Parks

Colorado is known for its stunning mountain vistas. And nowhere can these be more appreciated than in the many national parks, including Rocky Mountain National Park and Mesa Verde National Park. Summer is a great time for viewing the wildlife up close.

Take in a Rockies Game

Sure we have the Denver Broncos, the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche, but summertime in Colorado is baseball season! Fun fact: A baseball at Coor’s Field will travel 9 percent faster than it does at sea-level stadiums!


Ask any Coloradan what their favorite hike and they will easily come up with many. Some of my favorites are the Chautauqua Trails in Boulder with views of the majestic Flatiron Mountains and the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre in Morrison. With (most) of the winter snow melted away, hiking is without a doubt one of the best summer activities in Colorado.

Rock Climbing

Pack your shoes and chalk, Colorado has some of the best climbing in the country. Local favorites include Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs.

White Water Rafting

Ready to get your adrenaline going out on the water? The Arkansas River, Colorado River, Cache La Poudre River, Animas River, Yampa River, Dolores River and Clear Creek are among some of Colorado's best rafting.

Go on a Stunning Drive through the Mountains

Many mountain roads open up in Colorado in the summer, so why not go for a drive? There is no guard rail for most of the breathtaking Million Dollar Highway over Red Mountain Pass between Ouray and Silverton at over 11,000 feet above sea level.

Places to eat & drink in Colorado

downtown street with shops and mountains in the background


When in Denver be sure to try the famed Denver Omelette found just about anywhere.
And be sure not to miss the famous Colorado Style Green Chili Smothered Burritos at one of Santigo’s 20-plus locations around Denver, Golden and the Front Range.

Lunch & Dinner

When in Boulder for Brunch or Dinner, don’t miss the breathtaking views at Corrida, a Spanish-inspired chophouse.

Summer in Aspen is the perfect time to visit Chef Nobu’s beautifully designed, new-style Japanese restaurant, Matsuhisa.

On your way back to Denver seek out Rocky Mountain Oysters (bull testicles) and trout at The Fort in Morrison, Colorado.


Denver’s island-inspired craft cocktails (and Polynesian/Caribbean fare) at Adrift Tiki Bar.

When in Aspen, pull on your cowboy boots and have a drink at the upscale, 19th-century J-Bar at Hotel Jerome.

I am also a big fan of the tableside Gin and Tonic Carts on Corrida's rooftop in Boulder - perfect for viewing those Colorado sunsets.

Need to Know

There are so many exciting things to do while on a summer vacation in Colorado. Looking for more year-round tips? Check out my guide to Denver: 3 Days in Denver, Colorado for Any Season.

Advisor - Nancy McLaughlin

Travel Advisor

Nancy McLaughlin

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Colorado.