Colorado is an amazing vacation destination year-round, and spring is no exception. Early in the season, you’re likely to have plenty of opportunities for outstanding skiing and boarding, and as the snow melts under the nearly always sunny, brilliant blue skies, hiking, biking, rafting and other recreational opportunities abound. There are also a variety of festivities to take part in, wineries for touring and tasting, and of course, the soothing hot springs are fabulous anytime.
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Explore Wine Country
If you’re not interested in playing in the snow, you’re unlikely to find much around the Western Slope at the lower elevations, but you can experience the state’s fabulous wine country. Located in the Redlands area of Grand Junction, the Two Rivers Winery & Chateau offers a taste of Southern France. The award-winning boutique winery produces Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay, and hosts an intimate tasting room as well as public tours. Look forward to sipping while taking in the amazing views from the base of the Colorado National Monument. Throughout this region, you’ll find many opportunities to tour and taste, including in Paonia and Palisades.
Experience Crested Butte
Crested Butte is ideal for a spring ski trip early in the season, with Crested Butte Mountain Resort typically open through mid-April. In fact, its top expert terrain is at its peak this time of year. When the snow has dissipated, it’s a magical time for hiking and mountain biking, with wildflowers bursting into bloom, and lots of trails to enjoy them on with the soaring Rockies providing a stunning backdrop. The “Wildflower Capital of Colorado” may be at its best along the Lupine Trail, which stretches for 3.5 miles. The Willow Creek Loop Trail is just 1.4 miles in length and popular not only for wildflowers but outstanding bird watching.
Spring Skiing at Breckenridge
Springtime in Breckenridge means loads of sunshine, powder and lots of festivities. Early in the season, it hosts a month-long celebration, from mid-March through mid-April called Spring Fever, which features free concerts, a scavenger hunt and the wacky Imperial Challenge race where participants race bikes to the mountain before hopping on a lift, hiking up the hill and then skiing down. Afterwards, many take part in the outstanding apres ski scene with lots of pubs, breweries and other venues, including the popular T-Bar which sits at the base of Peak 8, hosting a huge outdoor patio, along with an extensive beer selection.
White River Rafting Throughout the Rockies
Colorado is one of the nation’s top spots for white river rafting, and spring offers some of the best. There are many places to experience it in the state, and many levels of difficulty to choose from. The Arkansas River cuts through rugged canyons and plunges 5,000 feet in the first 125 miles as one of America’s most popular rafting rivers, with departures in Buena Vista, Salida and Canon City. If you’re looking for a big challenge, the upper Animas River in the southwestern region of the state near Durango is renowned for its Class IV and V rapids.
Soak in the Hot Springs
Colorado boasts many fabulous hot springs that can be enjoyed all year long. Glenwood Springs is one of the most well-known destinations, home to the popular Glenwood Hot Springs Resort which boasts the largest hot springs pool in the world. There’s plenty of room for soaking and swimming, and it even includes a diving lane. If you visit late in the season, from Memorial Day weekend on, you can also enjoy the two water slides. Other favorite hot springs spots include Pagosa Springs in southwest Colorado, Hot Sulphur Springs close to the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, and Strawberry Hot Springs near Steamboat Springs.
Attend the Boulder Creek Festival, Boulder
Boulder offers a season of outdoor festivals that kick off in late spring over Memorial Day weekend with the Boulder Creek Festival. While this city at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills offers year-long fun, by attending this event you’ll be able to enjoy live music across several stages, street dancing, carnival rides, a beer garden, craft-brewed root beer, locally-made chocolates, vegan delights and the always popular Great Rubber Duck Race. This is when thousands bring their little rubber ducks to float down the creek for prizes and to benefit a good cause.
Durango Bluegrass Meltdown
If you’re into bluegrass and outdoor fun, Durango not only offers a wealth of recreational activities and popular attractions, but it hosts the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown, Friday through Sunday, April 20th to 22nd in 2018. It features three days of bluegrass concerts bringing bands from across the nation as well as a barn dance, the Saturday night Celtdown, and more. While you’re here you can experience one of the nation’s top train rides, the historic Durango & Silverton Railroad steam train, hike or bike miles and miles of scenic trails, raft the river and more.
Cave of the Winds Obstacle Course at Williams Canyon, Manitou Springs
Cave of the Winds is one of the state’s top attractions, a 500-million-year-old underground geological wonder open for tours. But many aren’t aware that it also offers an exciting, three-story obstacle course that sits at the edge of Williams Canyon, a rim with a 600-foot-drop. Adventurers attempt to get through a moving maze, and if they’re really daring, climb over the cliffs, of course, while being securely connected in a full-body harness. Other activities here include a zip-line and a swing that will shoot you into the canyon at 100 miles per hour.
Ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Pikes Peak is one of the country’s most famous peaks. It might not be the highest, but it soars into the sky at more than 14,100 feet, drawing some half-million to reach its summit each year. While you could hike up, one of the most popular ways to get there is to ride the highest cog railroad in the world: Pikes Peak Cog Railway. The three-hour trip itself is worth the adventure for the awe-inspiring views of the countless surrounding mountain peaks and the landscape below.