Colorado is one of those places that appears on just about everyone's bucket list, and for good reason. Be it the majestic mountains, the outdoor adventures, the cowboy cool of their ski towns or vibrant cities filled with terrific art and dining, Colorado has a method of pulling you in.
While traveling in Colorado is generally hassle easy, there are some things to know before you decide to trigger. Listed here are our some tips and strategies to help you navigate Colorado exactly that tiny bit better.
Planning your vacation to Colorado
There are some things you can do to get Colorado-ready before you leave home.
Colorado weather can alter quickly, specially in the mountains, so bring layers! A waterproof shell, fleece, a warm hat along with a hat with a brim is going into your bag at any time of the year, and you'll need proper cold-weather gear if you come here in winter.
Pack a water bottle. It's not hard to get dehydrated in Colorado, where high elevations, dry air, strong sunshine and a lot of outdoor activity would be the norm. Staying hydrated will also assist you to acclimatize faster towards the elevation. Plus, you will save cash (as well as environmental surroundings) by opting to refill your water bottle or Hydro Flask rather than buying water in bottles every time you feel parched.
Book a rental car in advance
For the majority of the things that visitors need to see and do, having a car can make life a great deal easier. The usual international rental companies have offices in Colorado's airports and cities, and you'll have a wider selection of vehicles if you book ahead.
Once you hit the highway, you will find that roads in Colorado are well-maintained. There's usually no need to splurge on the 4WD unless you're headed to the backcountry or know you'll be driving through big snow. If you do are available in winter, you'll want to keep a cold-weather kit composed of food, water and blankets in a car in case of emergencies.
Reserve your campsite
Coloradans love summer camping, and plenty of out-of-staters do too. And there are some stunning places to camp here, from rugged canyons to dense forests. Reserve an area early, particularly if you're headed to 1 from the state's four nature, particularly in summer or during school holidays. You may also reserve camping spaces at Colorado's state parks as much as 6 months ahead of time.
Buy pro sports tickets in front of time
Pro sports are a popular trend in Colorado using the Broncos (NFL), Avalanche (NHL), Nuggets (NBA), Rockies (MLB) and Rapids (MLS) all calling Denver home. Games become unattainable especially fast for Broncos and Avs games – purchase your tickets once you know when you'll be around. If you are on a tight budget, catch a Rockies baseball game instead; bleacher seats (aka the Rockpile) cost just $4
Double-check airline restrictions
If you're bringing your skis, snowboard, mountain bike or any other bulky sports gear to Colorado, confirm airline baggage restrictions when you book. Most airlines have dropped oversize luggage fees and many do not require hard-shell cases, but it's easier to be secure than sorry.
Etiquette in Colorado
Colorado features its own way of doing things – below are great tips for fitting in.
Wear your puffiest jacket
Casual dress rules in Colorado and jeans and puffy jackets would be the cornerstones from the local uniform. Actually, pretty much the only real place jeans don't work has gone out around the ski slopes. For a special night out, lift up your game from the t-shirt to some button-down shirt or blouse, and put on your nicest sneakers (heels works too).
Enjoy the local brew
Coloradans love themselves an art brew – especially if it is a hoppy Indian Pale Ale. And with a lot beer made locally, it would be a shame to not tip one when because of the opportunity. Should you must drink big brand beers, a minimum of make it a Coors, brewed from Golden, Colorado.
Tread lightly in the great outdoors
The outdoors is revered in Colorado, and with majestic mountains, roaring rivers, soaring mesas and sun-drenched plains, it's impossible not to be awed by the beauty throughout. Do as locals do and protect it by using the guidelines: respect fire bans and 'no swimming' signs, remain on the trails, pack out the things you pack in (plus any litter you find) and do not scratch your company name onto rocks or trees.
Watch your words
Political opinions vary wildly in Colorado, plus some views are held especially hard and fast. Use tact when conversing about politics, and don't assume people share your views, specifically if you originate from a big city background. A great rule of thumb is to take a look at bumper stickers and billboards to get a feeling of the political leanings of the place. Generally, Denver and Boulder would be the state's liberal hubs, while Colorado Springs is decidedly conservative, and mountain towns can go either way.
Get your Rocky Mountain at the top of (but follow the rules)
The bonfire smell of weed is really a familiar scent in Colorado, and partaking is simple and legal for anyone aged 21 or older, provided you keep to the rules (for a deeper dive, browse the Colorado Pot Guide).
- Only purchase from a licensed dispensary; they're simple to spot, often sporting green crosses. ID is required and they only take cash.
- Don't inhale in public places. It's illegal to use cannabis – including edibles – in parks, bars, restaurants, as well as concert venues (despite what you might smell).
- Never drive if you are top you could really hurt someone and you will face a Driving Under the Influence charge if caught.
- Don't smoke in your car. It's illegal to make use of or even have an open container of marijuana within the cab of your vehicle. Put your supplies in the trunk and wait until you receive where you're going before you partake.
- Before you light up inside your hotel or Airbnb, be sure the home is '420 friendly.' If dope is prohibited, you might get kicked out or face a high clean-up bill.
Health and safety in Colorado
Take it slowly going uphill
Altitude sickness is a genuine risk in Colorado, with elevations which range from 3,300ft to 14,400ft. Fatigue and slight headaches are typical for visitors, and you will find yourself feeling nauseous and get winded easily too. If you're headed to the high ground, ascend slowly to avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).
Pace yourself on large climbs, drink plenty of water and allow yourself a few days to acclimatize on the way. Some ski resorts even sell disposable oxygen tanks to help using the process. Limiting alcohol intake helps too – fortunately, each drink goes a great deal further when you're at altitude! If you experience severe or continued nausea, headache and dizziness, visit a lower altitude and consult a physician.
With 300 times of sunshine each year and high elevations in many parts of the state, the sunshine can be especially powerful in Colorado. Cover up, slather on sunscreen and bring your shades. A wide-brimmed hat is a smart aspect to carry too. Should you be skiing or snowboarding, put on some SPF-infused lip balm – few things are more uncomfortable than sunburned lips!
Be wildlife smart
With so many opportunities to play in the outdoors, encounters with big American wildlife really are a real possibility. Check-in with park rangers and follow their instructions for which to do in the event of a chance meeting with one of the Rocky Mountain's big critters. Even deer and mountain goats can pose some risk to cars and cyclists if you meet one unexpectedly on a backcountry track.
It's a good idea to make noise around the trail when you walk – singing or whistling can be a useful method to alert animals for your presence. Should you encounter a large creature just like a moose, mountain lion or black bear, back away slowly and steer clear of eye-to-eye contact; don't run. Consider toting bear spray when hiking in wilderness areas.
Prepare for that road conditions
Weekends and holidays mean serious traffic on Colorado's roads, as locals and visitors flock to the hills, so be prepared for delays. In the winter months, snowstorms can lead to dangerous driving conditions – state law requires vehicles to possess good tire tread and all-weather tires and/or All-Weather Drive when driving in a storm. Look for road and weather alerts before you decide to put down and have a group of auto-socks (a better form of chains) if you're headed towards the mountains.
It's wise to get ready for unexpected delays (and possibly getting stuck in snow) by stocking on snacks and drinks and carrying blankets, a cell phone along with a power block for charging up in an emergency. Consider carrying a snow shovel, flares as well as an extra group of gloves and boots within the trunk, just in case.
Watch for gray clouds
Afternoon lightning in high altitude is a genuine danger, specially in the summer. Start your summit hikes early and intend to be below mountain peaks and goes by noon. Please turn back if gray thunder clouds appear – it could save your valuable life.
Take avalanches seriously
Avalanches really are a fact of life in Colorado's backcountry. You will find multiple deaths each year, as well as experienced outdoors-people become victim. Backcountry skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing require specialized training and equipment; browse the Colorado Avalanche Information Center for information, and always opt for an experienced partner or guide.