Mud Season in the Mountains
Spring time in the Rockies can be a little hit or miss: Your favorite restaurant may be closed for mud season, but the bistro down the street may be serving up 2-for-1 deals.
Most of the Colorado ski resorts are closed, but spring melt off means rafting outfitters are running some of the best rapids of the year – just make sure to wear a wet suit; the water is chilly! During Spring in Colorado, the weather can change dramatically throughout the day, so be sure to pack for all four seasons. The day may start off sunny, but it could raining by lunch and a blizzard by dinner time. As they say, there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, so plan accordingly.
Spring is a time of transition in Colorado: The skis get waxed and put away for the summer, while the bikes get pulled out and tuned up for the first ride. Wildlife starts to emerge as lower areas melt out and the wildflowers start blooming. In May and June, Colorado Farmers Markets start selling locally-grown produce and also lots of locally-made products!
Here are your five best-bets for enjoying spring in Colorado
1. Cañon City or Grand Junction/Fruita
Pack your mountain bike or trail runners and head South and West!
Lots of sunshine and warm temps mean these areas have dry trails, ready for biking and hiking. Always check the weather before you go, because too much rain or snow can cause the trails to become a muddy mess; however this time of year, you're likely to find things dry and very enjoyable.
2. Rafting in Buena Vista and Salida
When the temps start rising so do the rivers with the spring snow melt. Brown's Canyon, a national monument, provides awesome excitement and a scenic ride along the Arkansas River.
If things are too chilly in the mountains, spend the day being a tourist in Denver. Generally 15-20 degrees warmer than the high country, Denver is the perfect spring-time destination. Sit on an outdoor patio and enjoy a beer brewed on-site or from a brewery right down the street. Soak in the sunshine while exploring the Denver Botanic Gardens, or take in a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater.
4. Durango/Mesa Verde National Park
Spring comes early in the south-west corner of Colorado. It's the perfect time to visit Mesa Verde National Park outside of Cortez before things really heat up over the summer. Take your bike out to Phil's World and then hike some of the in-town trails in Durango. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad starts its daily trips to Silverton on May 5th.
5. Skiing at Arapahoe Basin
Yep, you can still get your turns in at Araphaoe Basin; they have the longest season in the business, and they usually don't close until the early part of June. After your legs are worked up, grab a beer or Bloody Mary and enjoy the people-watching from the 5th Alley Bar & Grill deck.