Considering a trip to Colorado in July and need to know all the in’s and out’s? We’ve got you covered!
July is one of the most popular months to visit Colorado. It also happens to be the hottest and is typically one of the rainiest months of the year. Some of the best things to do will be attending festivals and touring the National Parks. Expect fairly large crowds on the hiking trails, in the airport and on the road in July.
Colorado in July is many things – one of the most popular months to visit, one of the hottest months of the year and one of the rainiest months of the year. Visitors who came to experience the vast outdoor recreation that Colorado has to offer will enjoy it to the fullest this month, save for a few afternoons that may get rained out.
July is also festival season for the entire state, with most cities hosting multiple festivals this month and others hosting their biggest events of the year. There are a wide range of festivals from music to food to sport that will appeal to most guests. If you are planning a Summer trip to Colorado and wanted the ultimate itinerary, we’ve got you covered for the month of July.
No matter what type of trip you’re planning, this guide will cover everything you need to get the most out of the Granite State in July.
This article is part of Roundtript’s series of expert Colorado travel guides for every month of the year.
Spring in Colorado
Summer in Colorado
Fall in Colorado
Winter in Colorado
For a summary of each Colorado month & season all in one place, check out our big guide to the Best Times of the Year to Visit Colorado.
Colorado Weather in July
July is consistently the hottest month of the year in Colorado, especially in the capitol city of Denver. Tourists typically like to take advantage of the Summer outdoor activities like hiking, biking and camping, where the mountain ranges will have some cooler temperatures than the low, flat parts of the state.
The average highs in July are in the high 80’s°F(31°C) and nights cool down to around the high 50’s°F(15°C). In addition to the heat, July is also considered the rainiest months of the year. Depending on your location, some of the higher mountain areas can have more unpredictable thunderstorms, while lower areas may see rainfall and cloudy skies fairly regularly.
No matter the time of year, altitude will always be a factor when traveling to Colorado. Some towns like Alma have an elevation of 10,300′ and others like Wray have an elevation of over 3,000′. As a matter of fact, altitude sickness affects nearly 10% of all visitors. You can prepare your body by eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of water, sleeping well, resting frequently and avoiding alcohol.
Colorado Affordability & Crowds in July
July in Colorado is considered the busiest month of the year for the state. Visitors come in droves to experience all that Summer in Colorado has to offer. July is one of the busiest times of year to visit no matter what city or town you plan to be in. It’s festival season for most places, which draws in more people on a weekly basis.
Hotel rates will vary by city, with most ski towns offering a wide range of rates, small towns being the cheapest and the capitol city of Denver averaging around $350 per night for the best hotels. With the influx of visitors, it’s also possible that booking hotels, restaurants and excursions may be difficult. It’s best to plan in advance, call ahead where necessary and reserve the top things you want to accomplish first.
Colorado Snow & Skiing in July
Colorado snowfall is completely done in July. Skiing can be challenging this month, but not impossible. If you really want to go, there are only a few places in some of the highest altitude areas of the state where you can achieve this, such as Arapahoe Basin and Rocky Mountain National Park. Snowmelt off the mountains has also stopped, so the lower mountain valleys and trails will be clear and dry.
Best Things to Do in Colorado in July
Below are some of the best places to visit in the month of July. In addition to these places, other Summer activities available this time of year include ATVing, backpacking, ballooning, boating, camping, canoeing, fishing, golfing, paragliding, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, water skiing, water rafting, and ziplining.
Telluride is a secluded town in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains; only eight blocks wide and twelve blocks long. Despite it’s small size, the town is filled with great dining, sightseeing and experiences to accommodate any style. When visiting in July, expect festivals and events every week, bustling crowds, and lots of recreational activities.
July is the height of festival season and one of the busiest months in the summer. Depending on when you come to visit this month, you could participate in the Independence Day Celebration, view artwork at the Plein Air Festival, meet local experts at the Art & Architecture Weekend, see Shakespeare in the Park or attend the Baseball Festival.
Outdoor fun is also required in a Summer visit to Telluride. July is one of the best months for flying fishing on the Dolores River, rafting through San Miguel and Norwood canyons, and kayaking or paddleboarding on the San Miguel River. In town, you’ll be overloaded with history. The twelve blocks along the town’s main street comprise a National Historic Landmark District and include highlights such as the Rio Grande Southern Railway Depot and the Appaloosa Trading Company, where notorious outlaw Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank in 1889.
Visit Ski Villages
Ski towns and villages completely transform from the Winter months to the Summer months. No longer are the ski runs filled with powdery snow – instead, they’re open for hiking and biking trails, climbing excursions and other similar activities. The experiences will vary by area and we’ve included some of the best places to visit in July.
Vail has some surprisingly great activities for visitors to do in the Summer. Some of the most notable that differ from the usual hiking and biking include riding the Forest Flyer alpine coaster, exploring the botanical beauty of Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, tubing at Epic Discovery, hiking with a llama through Paragon Guides or taking advantage of whitewater rafting with multiple outfitters.
Boulder is a great place to be in the Summer, but tends to be a bit hot in July. Some of the best activities you can do to cool off include tubing down Boulder Creek, drinking around the Boulder Beer Trail, listening to an outdoor concert throughout the month, boating or swimming in the Boulder Reservoir or letting the kids splash in the Pop-Jet Fountain downtown.
Steamboat Springs in July is a month full of fun, taking advantage of all that the Summer warmth has to offer. Aside from the typical hiking and biking excursions, try out the Alpine Slide, or enjoy a nice round of golf at one of Steamboat’s three 18-hole courses. Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs has a dirt road that’s usually hard to maneuver in the Winter, so the Summer months will be the best time to visit with the whole family.
Explore Comanche National Grasslands
Comanche National Grasslands is one of the most unique national parks in Colorado, spreading out over 400,000 acres in southeastern Colorado. The interesting terrain is comprised of mostly flat grasslands with rocky ledges, shrubbery and canyons interspersed.
Summer is one of the best times to visit for nicer weather; the Winter is not quite as pleasant with windy snow storms more prevalent in the area. This national park is very quiet and not quite as popular as some of the others, but it’s got many interested things to occupy your hike or camping expedition.
Visitors will be pleasantly surprised to find pieces of history sprinkled over the land. Layers of exposed rock showcase dinosaur tracks frozen in time, old stage stops from several hundreds years ago remain standing, and Native American pictographs mark the canyon pathways. There’s no doubt the Grasslands is a treasure trove of artifacts from days gone by.
Take Mount Evans Scenic Byway
Mount Evans Scenic Byway is North America’s highest paved road, great for driving trips to see the Colorado countryside. It’s nearly impossible to scale the 9,000′ of elevation in the Winter, so it’s recommended to day trip this trek in the Summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Since July is the hottest month of the year in Colorado, driving may be one of the best air-conditioned ways to get outdoors this month. Be prepared with plenty of gas, water for the family and the necessary phone numbers and emergency kits in case of car trouble. For those who love beautiful scenery and revel in the thought of sitting to see it, this trip is well worth it to the 14,264′ summit of Mount Evans.
Hike Colorado Trail
The Colorado Trail is 567 miles of manmade pathways, sending travelers through one of the most scenic and highly esteemed trails in North America. This is one of the best ways to see the Colorado Rockies if you’re up for the challenge of long-distance hiking or biking; and this is no small feat. Each person puts their body through weeks of on-foot traveling from Denver to Durango.
Seasoned hikers, bikers and horseback riders set out in July to make this several weeks long trek. Starting in July is your best bet for the best weather, as snowstorms begin to kick back up near September. However, July can also come with thunderstorms, hail and possible snow. Anyone looking to accomplish this trip would be well-advised to read up on the necessary tools, clothing and pit stops before setting off on the journey.
Visit Crested Butte
Crested Butte is a quaint and cozy ski town in the Rocky Mountains. During the Winter you can experience the snow sports in all their glory, but the Summer is actually one of the best times to be in town. Crested Butte hosts one of the biggest Independence Day Celebrations around, a Summer Concert Series and the spectacular Wildflower Festival.
The last weeks of July present a Food & Wine Festival, featuring 500 wines from 25 local wineries and multiple events to participate in. In addition to the festivals this month, there are hundreds of miles of bike trails along Crested Butte Mountain Resort that feature paths for all ability levels, ensuring that even beginners will have a great time on the mountain.
Experience Grand Junction
Grand Junction is a city located in Colorado’s Western Slope region; a gateway to some of Colorado’s top attractions like Colorado National Monument and the Grand Mesa.
Colorado National Monument offers more than the typical Colorado Rockies mountain scenery. It’s filled with beautiful landscapes of rock formations, canyons, arid plants and bushes. It’s very popular for long distance biking, trail hiking and off-road driving adventures, but car trips are highly recommended for viewing the Monument in the Summer heat.
The Grand Mesa is the largest flat-topped mountain in the world, stretching over 500 square miles. The Grand Junction gives easy access to the Grand Mesa, which is a great escape from the approaching summer heat (the summit never rises above 80°F (27°C). Hiking, fishing, biking, driving and camping are all easily achieved at the Grand Mesa.
The City of Grand Junction has loads of additional experiences when you’ve had your fill of outdoor activity. Downtown Main Street has many shops, boutiques and stores to meander through and plenty of restaurants to choose from. As a matter of fact, it’s best known for being in the heart of Colorado’s wine country, so there’s no better place to taste wine in the state.
Ride the Durango & Silverton Railways
This Old Western train ride is sure to thrill people of all ages, taking off from the original depot built in 1882. The towns of Durango and Silverton are connected by this preserved railway, which operates using the original methods kept up by the current conductors and railway workers. The train rides are meant to give visitors a beautifully scenic experience along with a history lesson on Southwestern Colorado.
Tourists will love to experience any of the multiple train rides available with the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway, taking you to various destinations in close proximity to Durango. The tours will wind through many acres of the San Juan National Forest and give guests glimpses of deep canyons, spans of spruce trees and fields of wildflowers. There are many different packages to choose from, one including a stay at the Grand Imperial Hotel.
Tour Pike National Forest
Pike National Forest is home to over one million acres of beautifully preserved forests, streams and mountain areas. Visitors love the outdoor activities including hiking, fishing, boating and camping. The National Forest is easily accessible from the city of Colorado Springs and is well known for it’s great hike to Pike’s Peak.
This is one of the most ideal camping trips for families with kids who love the outdoors. Visitors can hike many of the family-friendly trails that leads to Manitou Park, picnic by the lake, drive along any of the scenic roads or fish in Eleven Mile Canyon.
Hiking up to Pike’s Peak can prove to be challenging in July, due to Summer thunderstorms and heat. If you insist on going, be sure to check with local outfitters to determine the best time to go and the necessities to pack. More than likely, they’ll recommend you go in the morning. A good alternative would be to climb to Devil’s Head Lookout which ends with a beautiful view of the forest valley from the service tower.
July Events in Colorado
There are many events going on every month in multiple cities throughout Colorado. But July is a special month for events in Colorado – it’s become the unofficial official month for festivals, events and celebrations in all parts of the state. Below we’ve listed the biggest and most popular long term events that appeal to most travelers.
Colorado Shakespeare Festival
The Colorado Shakespeare Festival began in June and typically runs through the first week of August. College actors and actresses from the University of Colorado Boulder perform daily, showcasing the best of Shakespeare’s work on the stage. View the lineup of performances before heading into town as there are many performed over this monthlong period.
Colorado Renaissance Festival
The Colorado Renaissance Festival is held annually in the city of Larkspur, CO. The festival runs over the course of one month, starting in June, and hosts many themed events, encouraging attendees to wear era-appropriate costumes. Guests will watch minstrels, barmaids and knights in shining armor perform daily, eat, drink and be merry.
Hudson Gardens Summer Concert Series
Hudson Gardens in Littleton, CO hosts an annual Summer Concert Series that lasts over the course of several months and hosts a variety of bands on stage. Visitors are invited to browse the playlist for the upcoming concerts to determine which weeks are best to attend according to their taste. The town invites food and drink vendors and trucks to accommodate guests around the outdoor sound stage while enjoying bands from Colorado and beyond.
Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series
Steamboat Springs has hosted the Pro Rodeo Series every summer for over a century. Guests from across the country come to experience this two monthlong show to watch cowboys and cowgirls rope, race and ride. The rodeos are performed every weekend on Fridays and Saturdays from mid-June to early August and come with beer, food and souvenir vendors for fans.
Bravo! Vail Music Festival
This classical music festival is another Summer event that runs from late June through early August for the Summer crowds to enjoy. It’s an outdoor concert that takes place in beautiful Vail, with a picturesque backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. For those in love with classical music and orchestra performances, you’ll appreciate the effort put into this fantastic event.
Colorado Music Festival
Boulder hosts the Colorado Music Festival each year from late June to early August. The unique part about the festival is that The Festival Orchestra is made of renowned musicians from all over the world, here to perform at this specific event. You’ll hear symphonies, modern classical and classical music throughout the season, with performances created for all types of listeners, including children.
Aspen Music Festival
Aspen Music Festival is one of the most popular music events of the Summer, drawing in an average of over 100,000 visitors over the course of the season. It holds over 400 performances each year, put on by local classical musicians, as well as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Seraphic Fire Professional Choral Institute, among others.
Crested Butte Wildflower Festival
Wildflowers are in full bloom all over Colorado, and Crested Butte is here to celebrate their beauty. The intention of the festival is to raise awareness for the preservation of the wildflowers across the state. It takes place over the second week in July and has various activities that guests can take part in.
Central City Opera Festival
This festival starts just after Independence Day running over the full span of the month. Central City Opera performs several shows, selecting multiple different pieces of work from famous operas to present each year. Be sure to check the calendar so you don’t miss out on seeing your favorite opera in July.
Colorado in July: Week by Week
The first week of July is loaded with Independence Day celebrations across the state. Depending on your destination, your town could be celebrating in a big way with fireworks and parades or discounts on dining and shopping. Crowds are beginning to fill cities already for the other big events coming up in the month.
The weather is getting to a high point, with July being the hottest month of the year. It’s also the rainiest month of the year, so you are very likely to experience rain or one thunderstorm on your trip wherever you end up in Colorado. Cloudy days are also common and visitors can find reprieve from the heat in the mountains as opposed to the lower parts of the state.
For those interested in some Wild West entertainment, the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series is taking place the entire month of July. Families and people of all ages are welcome to come out every Friday and Saturday night for the rodeo competitions, featuring expert ropers, riders and racers. Greeley Stampede in Greeley, CO is also finishing up in this week – both have been Colorado traditions for 100 years.
The second week of July continues to be busy with the Festival Season fully underway in most parts of the state. Events are happening everywhere, encouraging visitors to come into town for their specific interest. Airfare and hotel rates may be higher this month, but road travel won’t be challenging in most areas of Colorado.
While outdoor activities like climbing and hiking are popular, people are not usually packing into the trails this time of year. You’ll more so find the larger gatherings of people at events, or find that tours and excursions are harder to book with more people vying for a spot for that particular adventure.
As far as events goes, Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Colorado Renaissance Festival are both going on this week. Shakespeare Festival is held at University of Colorado Boulder and lasts the entire month, while the Renaissance Festival in Larkspur is finishing up at this point. Crested Butte is also celebrating the blooming of wildflowers with it’s Wildflower Festival this week.
Still hot, dry and sometimes rainy, July swelters on through the third week. Despite the heat, visitors continue to pour into the state for it’s remarkable recreational activities and large festivals.
For those looking to cool off or take a break from roaming the mountainside, there are many water sports offered all around the state. Multiple cities have water rafting excursions on the local rivers, hot springs and designated play areas the whole family can splash in, and rentals on river tubes, stand-up paddleboards and kayaks.
Music lovers will enjoy the month of July as many cities in Colorado host their music festivals. Get tickets to see everything from classical performances to rock concerts in the cities of Boulder, Vail, and Aspen. Central City Opera Festival is presenting multiple opera shows through the first days of August and Hudson Garden Summer Concert Series is taking place over the course of the month in Littleton.
The last week of July is great for squeezing everything possible out of your vacation. While the crowds are still busier at this time than others throughout the year, they may begin to let up at this point in the month with families preparing to send their children back to school.
The weather is still hot, but there’s no better time to take advantage of Colorado’s many outdoor adventures while the snow is nonexistent. July is one of the best times for fishing in the state and the last week is just as good as earlier parts of the month. Check out the local outfitter in your town for the scoop on the best fishing spots for a relaxing morning alone or for fun with the whole family.
By the fourth week of July, most of the festivals are winding down, so this is the perfect opportunity to get those last minute tickets to your desired festival anywhere in the state – so long as it’s not sold out. The summer events that last for a month or two will typically end by the time August rolls around.
Despite it being the hottest month of the year, with occasional wet weather, Colorado is a great place to be in July. Tourists will agree as it’s the busiest time of year to be in the Centennial State. While flights, hotels and restaurant reservations may be a little more difficult to book at this time, traveling through the state and along the hiking trails is still relaxing and easy.
If you don’t mind the loads of tourists coming to experience the same thing you are, July will be a great good time to go. Hiking and biking are a hit with the locals and visitors will also love taking advantage of these and many other experiences. All of the National Parks are open at this time since the snow is mostly gone from both high and low altitude areas, making warm weather activities fully accessible in July.
Once you arrive and experience all that the Colorado Rockies have to offer, with packed out events, dry hiking and biking trails, warm water activities, and unique experiences at the National Parks, you’ll fully realize why July (despite it’s busyness) is one of the most ideal times to visit Colorado.