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Colorado Travel Planning Guides : Colorado Summer Vacation Planner

Colorado Summer Vacation Guide
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SUMMER is one of the best things about living in and visiting Colorado. Maybe the amazing sunshine that warms Colorado an average of 300 days every year, or just the right amount of humidity in the air that makes being outside an all-day affair, the stunning sunsets over the Rock Mountains, or the abundance of outdoor activities in the mountains, on the trail or in the water - or just the simple peace and quiet you'll find that will calm your soul and help you to forget about any worry in the world...

Colorado Summer Vacation Planner

Compare and Book!
Click here to compare and book a sortable list of Colorado Lodges, Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, Campgrounds, Cabins, Condos, ranches and more.

Keep up with upcoming events, deals and summer vacation ideas

Full of history, Colorado will offer you historical districts, Native American ruins, cowboys and museums that will take you back to another place in time. Colorado is the perfect place to relax and sight-see, enjoy the beautiful scenery or discover more outdoor activities than you have ever imagined!

We invite you to visit Colorado's cities, towns and mountain communities on an unforgettable journey across this beautiful state. Chat with the locals and enjoy our genuine Western character and postcard perfect blue skies... This is sure to be a vacation to remember! Welcome!
Click to see more about Summer in
hese Colorado

Beaver Creek
Buena Vista
Cañon City
Colorado Springs
Crested Butte
Cripple Creek
Delta County
Estes Park
Fort Collins
Glenwood Springs
Grand Junction
Grand Lake
Lake City
Pagosa Springs
Royal Gorge
Snowmass Village
Steamboat Springs
Twin Lakes
Winter Park
Inside the
Colorado Summer Vacation Planner

Colorado Events
Colorado Concert Calendar
Events This Week in Colorado
Festivals and Fairs
Farmers Markets
Rockies Baseball
Biking Events
Running Events
Colorado Vacation Ideas
Compare and book Colorado Lodging
Adventure Vacation Ideas
Family Vacation Ideas
Group Vacation Ideas
Leisure Vacation Ideas
Romance Vacation Ideas
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Haunted Colorado
Summer Vacation Ideas
Tourism News and Headlines
How to get here
Things to do in Colorado
Guide to Rafting Guides
Things to do, Activities & Attractions in Colorado
Dining and Nightlife
Deals, Coupons and Discounts
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Aspen Square
617 E. Cooper, Aspen
(800) 862-7736

(970) 925-1000
Aspen's signature condominium hotel in the heart of downtown Aspen



Royal Gorge
Bridge and Park

(888) 333-5597
"The Bridge and Park is currently closed and you can keep up with our rebuilding progress by visiting our website. The Royal Gorge remains OPEN for rafting, camping, scenic train rides, ATVing, Zip Line tours, Wine tasting, hiking, antiquing and free concerts. Visit the Royal Gorge guide online for a list of things to do."



Durango Downtown Inn
(866) 306-5438
3 Conveniently located, our hotel offers guests easy access to area shopping, various dining outlets and unique art galleries.



YMCA of The Rockies
(800) 777-9622
YMCA of the Rockies has two year-round conference and family vacation centers,
both located in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Estes Park Center is minutes
from Rocky Mountain National Park and Snow Mountain Ranch is just a short distance from Winter Park.


Raft Masters
(800) 568-7238
We stake our reputation on providing professional, high-quality Colorado whitewater rafting adventures dedicated to your comfort and enjoyment.



Summit Express
Denver Airport to Summit County Transportation. We offer scheduled shuttle service to and from Denver International Airport to your favorite ski resort - Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain, Dillon, Vail, Beaver Creek or Steamboat



Rafting in Colorado
Buena Vista
Canon City/Royal Gorge
From the first phone call to the last paddle 'high-five' at the end of your Colorado rafting trip, we spare no expense when it comes to your comfort, safety, and enjoyment! That's what we're all about.



Gunnison Crested
Butte Tourism 800-455-1342
Great Vacation Planning


Timberline Condominiums
(800) 922-4001
A deluxe condominium property at Snowmass. Slopeside, free airport shuttle, wireless internet, fitness center with steam room and shower, outdoor pool.



Mountain Chalet

(800) 843-1579
This Bed and Breakfast style hotel is located directly on the ski slopes, adjacent to the Snowmass Ski School and the Snowmass Village Mall.



Westin Snowmass Resort
100 Elbert Lane • Snowmass (970) 923-8200
ki-in/ski-out access to Snowmass Mountain and is located in the center of Snowmass Village.



Mountain Resorts
Choose from 20 resort properties surrounding the Steamboat Ski Area from affordable to indulgent.



Wyndham Vacation Rentals Steamboat
Wyndham Vacation Rentals offers 40 distinctive lodges.



The Charter at
Beaver Creek

Value and Style in Beaver Creek! Located in the Beaver Creek Village featuring hotel rooms and 1-5 bedroom condominiums.



The Borders Lodge
The Borders Lodge has Studio units and 1-4 bedroom condos tastefully decorated and amenity filled.

Montaneros at Vail
Boutique condominium lodge in the heart of Lionshead Village. Enjoy pool and hot tubs steps to shops, restaurants and the gondola.
; ;

Lions Square Lodge at the Gondola
970-476-2281 | 800-525-5788
This full service hotel has 1-5 bedroom condos, restaurant, pool, hot tubs and fitness room.



Blue Sky Breckenridge
Luxury lodging in Breckenridge. Walking distance to the heart of downtown. One to four bedroom condos combine the quiet and comfort of a private residence with the personal service of a fine hotel.



Inn at Aspen
The Inn at Aspen in Aspen, Colorado is a ski-in, ski-out hotel at Aspen ski resort. Situated at the base of Buttermilk Mountain.


Granby Chamber
Granby, Colorado is truly the heart of something grand. -800-325-1661


Grand Lake Chamber
We Have it ALL!
Open year 'round.



Winter Park
Fraser Valley Chamber
This is our open space. Come get yours. World class views, national parks, mountain biking, music fests, rafting, skiing, hiking, climbing.



Fort Collins Convention
and Visitors Bureau

(800) 274-3678
In Fort Collins you'll find award winning schools, a globally-focused university, thriving arts scene, eclectic shops and restaurants, hundreds of miles of walking and biking paths, and a plethora of outdoor activities.


Pueblo Chamber
302 N. Sante Fe Ave
Surf! Bike Golf! Ride! Do Pueblo!


Rifle Chamber
Rifle's downtown features antique shops, fine dining, and historic museums. The area surrounding Rifle is rich with wildlife and gold medal streams that provide some of the best elk hunting and fly fishing in Colorado



The Town of Snowmass


Town of Frisco
Stroll along our line-up of shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums that guide you to the Marina on Lake Dillon.



Ouray Chamber
Resort Association

(800) 228-1876
Ouray is home to hundreds of miles of historic Jeep roads, sulfur-free hot springs with stunning views and the world-famous Ouray Ice Park.

Plan your Colorado Summer vacation
around these signature events

Concert in the Park Series
, 5:30pm - 7:30pm. Frisco, Thursdays June 20 to August 22, Historic Park. Bring your lawn chairs, picnic blanket and enjoy a free concert. Continues every Thursday through August 22

Movies Under the Stars, July 9, 16, 23, 30, August 6, 13. Beaver Creek, Bring the whole family out for a great selection of family movies under the stars at the base of Beaver Creek on the Back Lawn near the Buckaroo Gondola. All movies are complimentary and begin at dusk, approximately 8:30 p.m. Visit www.beavercreek.com for movies details.

32nd Annual Hot Air Balloon Rodeo & 39th Annual Art in the Park, July 13 - 14, 2013, Steamboat Springs. The Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Art in the Park offer artistry and color both on canvases and in the air making them a staple of Steamboat Springs, Colorado in the summertime.

Winter Park Jazz Festival, July 20-21, Winter Park, Hideaway Park - Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot

July 26-28, 2013, Lyons. Del McCoury Band, Tim O'Brien, The Kruger Brothers, The Steeldrivers, Kathy Kallick Band, Helen Highwater (featuring David Grier, Mike Compton, Missy Raines & Shad Cobb), Jayme Stone, Front Country, Planet Bluegrass Ranch, Lyons

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, July 27 - 28, 2013, Denver, Sloan's Lake Park

17th Annual Bluegrass and Beer Festival, August 2 - 4, 2013, Keystone brings the wonders of Appalachia to the Rockies. Down-home cooking, frothy flavors and mountain music are just a piece of the pie.

Boom Days, August 2-4, 2013, Leadville, Boom Days is always the first weekend in August. Festival events span three days of fun, food, and recreational activities for the whole family. There are historic contests of individual mining skill, Annual Gun Show of the Leadville Rod & Gun Club, the Motorcycle Rodeo, the popular Boom Days Parade, and our world-famous 21 mile International Pack Burro Race.

Telluride Jazz Festival, August 2-4 - The Motet, John Scofield, Nigel Hall, Telluride Town Park, Telluride

The Steamboat Wine Festival, August 7-11, 2013, Steamboat Springs, Experience more than 100 food artisans, wineries, breweries, distilleries, epicurean purveyors, and locally-made products at this ultimate food and wine experience. Whether you are a full-fledged foodie or an emerging gourmand, you are sure to find more than one event to whet your appetite.

26th Annual Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest, Aug. 16 - 18 Downtown Fort Collins 970/484-6500. Ft Collins largest community festival. This free weekend showcases over 300 arts, crafts and food booths, a kids carnival, 2 beer gardens and 7 stages of continuous live entertainment with Bohemian Nights music lineup of great musicians. www.downtownfortcollins.com

Colorado State Fair, August 23 - September 2, Pueblo, Colorado State Fairgrounds.Fair Hours - 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Indoor vendors - 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Outdoor Vendors - 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Genuine Jazz & Wine, August 23 - 25, 2013, Copper Mountain, Meet, mingle, get autographs and photos with all of your favorite jazz stars. A stellar line-up of headliner caliber national jazz talent, plus wine tastings, add up to a smooth mountain getaway.

Americana Music and Art Festival,
August 23-25, Florence - Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside - You Me & Apollo, The Greencards, The Flumps?, Betse Ellis, The Wolftones, Big Jim Adam & John Stilwagen, Kate Lynn Logan, Moors & McCumber, Lissa Hanner, Out of Nowhere, Grant Sabin, Pioneer Park, Florence

Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival, Aug 30-Sep 1, Snowmass Feat. Jason Mraz, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Keith Urban, Train, Little Big Town

Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Festival, Sept., 5-8, 2013, Estes Park, Fairgrounds at Stanley Park. Enjoy bagpipes & drums, Highland & Irish Dancing, Folk music, jousting, athletic and other competitions at the largest Scottish Festival in the West

18th Annual Breckenridge Oktoberfest, September 13-15, 2013, Breckenridge
Breckenridge meets Munich in the premier Oktoberfest celebration featuring hearty Bavarian cuisine, rich German brews, colorful lederhosen and plenty of toe-tapping, thigh-slapping oompah music. Surrounded by vibrant fall foliage, the weekend-long party kicks off with the prestigious Paulaner Brewmaster's Dinner, followed by a lively party on Main Street, 5K race, keg tapping ceremony and more.

Telluride Blues and Brews Fest, September 13-15, Telluride, The Black Crowes, Jim James, Melissa Etheridge, The Black Crowes, Jim James, Melissa Etheridge, Gary Clark Jr., Mickey Hart Band, John HiattKarl Denson's Tiny Universe, Anders Osborne, Otis Taylor Band, The New Mastersounds, Allen Stone, ZZ Ward, Rebirth Brass band, The Bright Light Social Hour, The Relatives, Selwyn Birchwood Band, Telluride Town Park, Telluride

For the best and most complete Colorado Events Calendars, click on what you want to see below:
The Best Colorado Concert Calendar
Events by area
Events by date
Colorado Festivals and Fairs
Rodeos in Colorado
Colorado Farmers Markets

Map of Colorado

The Colorado communities in this guide are color coded
by region. Click on the map for a larger image.

Colorado Summer Vacation Planner

In this Guide

Event Calendars- Planning that perfect Colorado vacation? Be sure to check out the Event Calendars so you don't miss a thing.

Deals and Discounts- Find deals and discounts in the area you are visiting for lodging, activities, and more.

Colorado Tourism News- Find all your Colorado tourism news and headlines in one place.

Groups- The businesses that you'll find in this section are all experienced in dealing with groups of all sizes.

Pet Friendly- Check out these business and activities that welcome your four legged companion.

Activities- Whether you're adventurous or laid-back, Colorado has the perfect activities for you.

Rafting- Rivers in Colorado cater to everyone, offering adventures from mild to wild.

Camping- By tent, cabin or RV, there is no better way to experience the Colorado outdoors.

Golfing- Planning on spending your day on the green? Colorado has hundreds of golf courses to chose from, all with a breathtaking view.

Transportation- Whether by car, by air of by train, getting here has never been more easy.

Stay The Trail- Bringing your Off Highway Vehicle? Stay The Trail provides useful resources such as maps and travel tips.
(return to top)

Summer Activities and Vacation Ideas
Attractions/Fun Parks
ATV Tours and Rentals
Bar D Chuckwagon
Bike Tours and Rentals
Chuck Wagon Dinners & Shows
Colorado Gator Farm
Climbing Walls
Colorado Concert Calendar
Dining &Nightlife
Fort Collins Brewery Tour
Glenwood Caverns
Festivals and Fairs
Fort Collins Brewery Tour
Fishing Guides
Go Karts
Helicopter Tours
Hiking and Hiking Guides
Horseback Riding
Hot Air Ballooning
Hot Springs
Jeeps tours and rentals
Jet Ski
Map of Colorado Resorts
Mine Tours
Mountain Biking and Tours
National Parks
Nuggets Basketball
Racket Ball
Resort Events
Rock climbing
Rocky Mountain National Park
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
Scenic drives
Spa and Massage
Zip line
Other pages to help you with your Colorado Summer Vacation

Colorado Maps
Order Colorado Vacation Guides
Daily Deals
Deals and Discounts Coupons
City Weather, Maps & Events
Colorado Tourism News & Headlines

Farmer's Markets
Fairs and Festivals Guide
Colorado Concert Calendar
Events This Week
Events by Area

Online Summer Colorado Guides
Estes Park Guide
Durango/Silverton Railroad Guide
Leadville/Twin Lake Guide
Summit County Guide
Royal Gorge Guide
Vail Guide
Rafting, Colorado Style
Camping, Colorado Style
Gofling, Colorado Style

Stay the Trail

Finding the trailhead and a decent map is often the hardest part of riding or wheeling. See links to our trail guide and all of the Colorado motor vehicle use maps (MVUMs) as well as contact information for Colorado state parks, the Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management.


We recently received this question...

We are planning on riding motorbikes through Colorado late July or early August on our way to Sturgis in South Dakota. We will be entering your state from the southwest having just been to Monument Valley. Can you recommend a route through - we would like to go to Silverton, Telluride, Ouray, Leadville, Aspen, and probably exit through Estes Park or Fort Collins. We don't have to be on the interstate, we quite like smaller roads if there are lots to see. We have about 3-4 days here, it all looks beautiful, mostly interested in scenery and the historic towns etc. Thanks RAE


Hi Rae. Thanks for your question. You've picked a great time to drive through Colorado. The challenge is going to be experiencing it all in 3 to 4 days. I'll focus on the places you've highlighted but you're going to be driving close to and through some spots that I don't think you'll want to miss. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is the first full week of August. The weather in the Colorado mountains should be good. You may get a rain shower but they go away quickly and things dry up pretty fast too. So bring your rain suit and be prepared to pull over at certain times. Lower elevation places may be warmer. Click on links below to learn more about highlighted areas.
From Monument Valley enter Colorado on highway 160 and go to Cortez. Head east on 160 to Mancos. From Cortez to Mancos You have the opportunity to check out Mesa Verde National Park. The park is the largest archeological preserve in North America. There are fascinating Indian Cliff Dwellings that date back to 600 AD. There are lodges to stay in around the park. You leave the park the same way you came in (State highway 10) and head to Durango. Durango is also a cool town with lots going on but their main attraction is the Durango Silverton Railroad. There's also the Soaring Tree Top Adventures which is a pretty neat course of ziplines that you can only reach by taking the Durango Silverton Railroad.
You can take a day to ride train from Durango to Silverton and back, but since you're driving and time is a concern, you'll probably want head north on highway 550 to the small historical town of Silverton. In 1883, Silverton boasted having a population of 2,000 people with 400 buildings-two banks, five laundries, 32 saloons and several hotels. An invisible line ran down Greene Street keeping the respectable side of town divided from the bawdry red light district-the Infamous Blair Street.
Continue north on hwy 550 and at Colorado road 361, you'll turn left to go to Telluride.
It's the only road in and out of Telluride. The gondola runs during the summer so take a ride up the mountain and check out the views.

Double back to hwy 550, and continue heading north on the most scenic road in America, the San Juan Skway, towards Ouray (hwy550). Ouray is known as the Switzerland of America. It's a quaint town with a big hot springs pool, a great museum, lots of spectacular views, four wheeling trails and lots more.

Head north to Montrose. Montrose is a bigger town with an airport and it's where most people from Ouray and Telluride go to shop. In Montrose, you'll want to head east on highway 50 and you should take a stop at the Blue Mesa Reservoir and Black Canyon National Park. The views are Impressive.

You'll continue heading east on highway 50 and will come to Gunnison. Gunnison is more of a western cowboy type city and only 45 minutes to the north on highway 135 is Crested Butte. Primarily known as a ski town, Crested Butte is the official wild flower capitol of Colorado and an out of the way mountain town. The lifts are open for rides in the summer and there's lots of fun stuff to do.

Double back on on highway 135 to highway 50 and head east to Monarch Pass. This is an awesome drive and you'll want to take a quick stop at the top. Be ready for a lower temps though.

Continue east on highway 50 towards Salida. Definitely drive through Salida and check out the downtown. There's a great vibe and art culture.

Get back on highway 50 and head west to hwy 285 (Poncha Springs). Head north on 285 and ride beside the Arkansas River towards Buena Vista.
The Arkansas River is the most rafted river in Colorado. If you're up for an adventure, you should consider taking a half day trip through Brown's Canyon. Along the highway are numerous rafting companies that will take you for a ride, but our recommendations for on this section of the river are:

In Johnson Village (just south of Buena Vista) the road turns into highway 24 and you want to stay on that. Buena Vista is home to Cottonwood hot springs which may be worth a stop after your long drive.

Check out BV's downtown and head to north on hwy 285 to hwy 82 (Independence Pass) where you'll turn west.

On hwy 82 you'll go through Twin Lakes. Twin Lakes is home to twin glacial lakes, the ghost town of Interlaken and spectacular hikes and views. After Twin Lakes you'll continue driving west on hwy 82 to the top of Independence Pass. Independence Pass is closed during the winter due to heavy snow fall. But in the summer it is open and you must stop at the top. The views are breath taking. Heading down to the other side of Independence Pass you'll come to Aspen.
There's always good music and culture in Aspen and the Gondola is open for rides to the top of the mountain.

At this point, you can choose to take the quick route and head back over to highway 82 (Independence Pass) to highway 24 and north to Leadville or take the long route and head north on 82 to Glenwood Springs, home of Glenwood Caverns and the Glenwood Springs Hot Springs. From Glenwood Springs you'd take I70 east to highway 24 (Minturn) or highway 91 (Copper Mountain) and head south to Leadville. The drive from Aspen to Leadville over Independence Pass is about an hour and a half. The drive from Aspen to Glenwood Springs to Leadville is about 3 hours.

Leadville is a good choice for a stop. Every year, on the first weekend of August, Leadville hosts the festival Boom Days. Leadville is known as the Museum Capitol of Colorado and the history is fascinating. There's also the Leadville Southern Railroad that will take you on a great scenic ride.

At this point there's no doubt, you need to scoot along, so exit Leadville north on highway 91 and head to I70 where you'll go east. At the Dillon/Silverthorne exit (#205), you'll head north on highway 9 to Kremmling. From Kremmling. From there, you'll head west on highway 40 where you'll run into Hot Sulphur Springs. The setting of this place, the individual springs pools and price make it must stop.

Get back on highway 40 and head east towards Granby/Grand Lake. Before you get into Granby, you'll come to highway 34. Turn left on Highway 34 and head toward Grand Lake. The Town of Grand Lake is an awesome setting. It's an easy stop for lunch and a jaunt through the shops. Get back on highway 34 and head towards Estes Park. You'll drive through Rocky Mountain National Park which is a wonderful drive and well worth the time.

When you're finished in Estes Park take 34 to Loveland and in Loveland take Hwy 25 north to Fort Collins. It's definitely worth taking the brewery tour in Fort Collins and a visit to their downtown, the Budweiser brewery and the Poudre canyon is worth the time. Continue taking highway 25 north to I80 in Wyoming which will take you to Sturgis.

Jeff - Coloradoinfo

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