The “Highest State” has long been one of the USA’s premier outdoor adventure destinations. There are so many things to do in Colorado that you could keep returning year after year and barely scratch the surface.
Many people choose to come for the snowcapped slopes and powdery snowmobiling trails in the winter, but in this article, I’m going to share with you the best things to do in Colorado during summertime.
There are already plenty of “things to do in Colorado” lists popping up on blogs these days, so I’m going to try to make this one a little bit unique. I’ve listed some more off-track and edgy experiences that you can have when visiting the Centennial State.
1. Go Fly Fishing
Ever since I was about 8 years old and my dad handed me my first fly rod, I’ve been absolutely hooked on fly fishing and as far as fly fishing destinations go, Colorado is an angler’s dream.
If you’ve never tried fly fishing before and you’re reading this, don’t worry. There are countless guiding services available and many of them leave from Denver, so even if you’ve never cast a fly rod before, you can go fly fishing in Colorado.
If you’re packing your own gear, make sure to bring your best waders as many rivers here are quite wide, so you’ll need wading pants and boots to get out into those deeper, faster-moving parts of the river where the fish may be holding.
Recommended Fly Fishing Spots in Colorado
If you are an experienced angler, pack your gear and plan a trip. Some fishing spots you won’t want to miss include the Frying Pan River, The Colorado River, The Gunnison River and Blue Mesa Reservoir.
At any of these spots, you can find beautiful brook, rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout and can catch them on a variety of flies. These include Midge Nymphs, Clouser Minnows, Crayfish Patterns, Gnat Patterns & other Baitfish Patterns.
2. Join a Wine Tour
The wine in Colorado may not be as famous of the reds, whites, and rosés coming out of California, but there are still some great wineries here and the natural beauty of the state lends itself to some breathtaking vineyard locations.
September is the harvest season for most grapes in Colorado, so if you come in late August, you should be able to see plenty of grapes on the vines and try the last of the previous years yield before the new vintage is bottled.
Recommended Colorado Winery
Grand Junction: Raspberry-honey blends or more recognizable Cabernet Francs, Colorado has plenty of great wines to try and Grand Junction is one of the most scenic estates. Set right in the heart of Colorado’s Wine Country, this is the perfect place to come for a tasting and a great pairing.
3. Do a Marijuana Tour
It wasn’t so long ago that this medicinal miracle was confined to brightly lit basements and top-secret forest grow-ops, but today it’s everywhere.
Even if you’re not a pot smoker (I’m definitely not), doing a Marijuana tour in Colorado is a really unique experience and one that you shouldn’t miss.
You’ll get to tour massive Marijuana farms and manufacturing facilities on a scale that would put most prior illegal dealers to shame.
4. Go Up in a Hot Air Balloon
This is one thing I still haven’t had the chance to do and I’m dying to try it in Colorado as it’s one of the most beautiful locations for hot air ballooning in the world.
Get a birds-eye view from a basket dangling seemingly precariously from a hot air balloon. You can book these tours from pretty much every major city and resort town in Colorado and many of them are surprisingly affordable. Check this one out on GetYourGuide.
5. Go Camping
This is the perfect thing to couple with the #1 item on this list of things to do in Colorado. Camping is ingrained in the blood of Coloradans and you can bring your tent, and your fishing rod to make a great outdoor adventure.
There are a few places to rent gear in Denver and in popular towns throughout the state, or you can pick up a cheap tent and sleeping bag as well. There are also some cool apps you can get at the app store that list campsites all around Colorado. For the more intrepid, there are some good offtrack spots in some of those apps.
Another popular way to go camping here is in a campervan. If you have a campervan and are traveling around the state, these apps can also help you to locate the best campervan parking spots and sites.
Recommended Camping & Fishing Spots
Some of the best places for camping and fishing include Trout Lake near Telluride and in Crawford and Paonia State Parks.
Bonus: Go Hang Gliding
I have to be honest, even though I’ve always wanted to go hang gliding, I’ve never gathered the confidence to go out and actually join a tour to do it, but if I was going to bite the bullet and jump off a mountain cliff with a manmade wing strapped to my back, Colorado would be the place.
There are loads of great places to go hang gliding in Colorado and all of them offer spectacular views and an unforgettable rush, but the ones that have been most recommended to me include Golden and Airtime Above in Evergreen.
There you have it, some more unique things to do in Colorado in the summertime. If this is your first time to the state, consider doing something you’ve never tried before. This is one of the adventure capitals of the United States, so if hot air ballooning and fly fishing doesn’t get your blood pumping, consider sky diving and rock climbing. You can do it all in Colorado.
About The Author: Nick W.
Nick is an avid angler and traveler who has been on the road since 2008, seeking the outdoors and great fishing spots everywhere he goes. He started his own blog called Into Fly Fishing where he shares his fly fishing knowledge and favorite fly fishing destinations.