The climate of Colorado
has diverse climate types: tundra, subarctic, continental, humid subtropical, semi-arid, and cold desert in the various regions of the state.
New Mexico in the south, Arizona in the southwest, Utah in the west, Wyoming in the north, Nebraska in the northeast, Kansas in the east, and Oklahoma in the southeast share borders with the state. Colorado is one of the Mountain States, which is part of the American Wild West and has diverse geography of alpine mountains, valleys, high plains, deep canyons, mesas, forests, rivers, and deserts.
Colorado, the Centennial state, consists of the Western slopes, and the Eastern plains along with the Front Range foothills. The Continental Divide splits the state into the western and eastern parts, each with different sub-climatic zones. The Eastern Plains are semi-arid (Köppen climate classification BSk) with clear skies and abundant sunshine. Day temperatures often range in the 90°F (32.2°C) to 100°F (37.8°C) range during the summer. The hot and dry climate creates a vast difference between the daily high and low temperatures, often to the tune of 30°F (-1.1°C) or higher. The annual rainfall in the plains averages between 15" (381mm) to 25" (635mm).
Seventy% of Colorado's population resides in the Front Range urban corridor that lies on the leeward side of the Rocky Mountains. The high mountain range protects the region from the storms that blow from the Pacific Ocean.
Summer in the Front Range is hot with high temperatures regularly crossing 95°F (35°C), while winters in the plains are severely cold with low temperatures often in the -10°F (-23.3°C) to 25°F (-3.9°C) range. West Colorado is mostly mountainous with a few desert lands. North Colorado consists of high plains and mountains, while South Colorado is a mix of deserts and mountains.
Average snowfall in the state is in the range of 60" (1524mm) to 100" (2540mm). The high mountain ranges often register more than 120" (3048mm) of snowfall annually. Colorado receives ample sunshine and records nearly 250 sunny days during the year. The state experiences wildfires, thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes during late spring and early summer. Chinook winds keep the temperatures warm in the Front Range areas during the winter. Strong winds blow across the vast plains until they encounter the high mountain ranges that provide natural barriers and create temperature extremes.
Bennett recorded the highest ever temperature of 118°F (47.8°C) on July
11, 1888, in Colorado, while Maybell recorded the coldest temperature of -61°F (-51.7°C) on February
The best time to visit Colorado
The best time to visit Colorado
is during the spring from March
and autumn from September
Spring and autumn seasons are colder than the summer, which tends to be hot in many parts of the state. While the spring sees refreshing rain, the fall is the time for a dash of brilliant colors across the landscape. Summer experiences thunderstorms and an increase in tourist population, while the shoulder seasons give much-wanted space and have better weather conditions. Winter is mostly cold in Colorado with severe weather.
The worst time to visit Colorado
Winter is the worst time to visit Colorado
as the majority of the state experiences severely cold weather and extreme temperatures.
Snow is frequent and accumulates in vast amounts in the highlands, and the mountains experience intense cold with vast quantities of snowfall that cross 120" (3048mm). Colorado experiences arctic and subarctic type of weather conditions on many of its mountaintops as the entire state lies at a high altitude. Winter low temperatures are below freezing in many parts, the conditions are harsh, and the cold is severe - scanty rainfall has contributed to the creation of cold desert regions in a significant portion of Colorado.
is vulnerable to wildfires, thunderstorms, tornadoes in late spring and summer. Hailstorms are strong and mostly affect the Eastern Plains. The plains are also part of the Tornado Alley of America and witness flooding in spring and summer due to thunderstorms and melting of snow - the Denver Flood of 1965 and Colorado Floods of 2013 are notable examples.
Wildfires of severe intensity are frequent during the summer due to lack of precipitation that contributes to dryness in the majority of the state - the Hayman Fire of 2002 was the largest wildfire in America at the time.
Colorado is also prone to frequent earthquakes of low intensity that measure 2 to 3.5 on the Richter scale.
Weather in January
is the coldest month of the year in Colorado
, with the temperatures even below 0°F (-17.8°C) in many parts of the west. The average low temperatures are between -8°F (-22.2°C) to 22°F (-5.6°C), while the average high temperatures are in the 25°F (-3.9°C) to 49°F (9.4°C) range. Weather in January »
Weather in February
is a chilly winter month in Colorado
as the state is in the clutches of the cold weather. Day temperatures are in the range of 30°F (-1.1°C) to 50°F (10°C) and rarely go above 55°F (12.8°C). Nights are bitter and routinely plummet below 0°F (-17.8°C) in many areas. The mountains experience alpine conditions and gather loads of snow. Weather in February »
Weather in March
is cold at the start of the spring season in Colorado
. Day high temperatures average in the warm 42°F (5.6°C) to 60°F (15.6°C) range across different regions of the state but the nights are cold with average low temperatures in the 4°F (-15.6°C) to 34°F (1.1°C). Weather in March »
Weather in April
sees warm temperatures and moderate rain with the advent of the spring season in Colorado
. The average high temperatures are generally in the warm 50°F (10°C) to 60°F (15.6°C), while nights are on the colder side in the 25°F (-3.9°C) to 41°F (5°C) across the state. April witnesses a bit of rain with an average of 1" (25mm) to 2" (51mm) in the state and is the last month of sizeable snowfall. Weather in April »
Weather in May
is a beautiful warm month with long sunny days in Colorado
. The average high temperatures are in the warm 60°F (15.6°C) to 75°F (23.9°C) range, while the average low temperatures are in the mild 30°F (-1.1°C) to 50°F (10°C). Weather in May »
Weather in June
brings warm summer temperatures in Colorado
that draw tourists from all over the country to its wilderness and natural beauty. Average high temperatures are between 70°F (21.1°C) to 87°F (30.6°C), while the average low temperatures are within 35°F (1.7°C) to 55°F (12.8°C) range. Weather in June »
Weather in July
is generally the hottest month of the year in Colorado
. The peak summer weather is scorching hot in the plains and the desert lands. The average high temperatures in the state are between 78°F (25.6°C) to 94°F (34.4°C). Many places touch 95°F (35°C) and a thermometer reading of 100°F (37.8°C) is common - in fact, Colorado records many days continuously over 95°F (35°C). Weather in July »
Weather in August
is a hot summer month with raging temperatures in Colorado
. Grand Junction in the west averages between 61°F (16.1°C) to 90°F (32.2°C), while Colorado Springs in the east is between 56°F (13.3°C) to 82°F (27.8°C). Weather in August »
Weather in September
is one of the best times to visit Colorado
, dressed in the colorful cloak of autumn. The temperatures are moderate, and the weather is pleasant in the absence of a blazing sun. The usually brown landscape adorns beautiful colors, and the scenery looks heavenly in the backdrop of the white snow-capped peaks. The average high temperatures in early fall are in the warm 70°F (21.1°C) to 80°F (26.7°C) range, and the average low temperatures are in the mild 40°F (4.4°C) to 50°F (10°C) range. Rain rarely hits peak numbers in Colorado, and September hardly receives to the tune of 1" (25mm) to 2" (51mm) in the majority of the state. Mountain trails are open, and the state and national parks dazzle with the changing shades of the wild flora. Weather in September »
Weather in October
lies in the middle of the autumn season in Colorado
with warm day temperatures and cold nights. The average high temperatures tend to be comfortable in the day in the 55°F (12.8°C) to 65°F (18.3°C) range but the nights are cold with the average low temperatures in the 25°F (-3.9°C) to 40°F (4.4°C) range. Weather in October »
Weather in November
is the end of the autumn in Colorado
that sees a drop in temperatures in the state. The average high temperatures are in the warm range of 40°F (4.4°C) to 55°F (12.8°C), while the average low temperatures drop well below the freezing and range in between 10°F (-12.2°C) to 30°F (-1.1°C). Weather in November »
Weather in December
brings the dreary cold of winter in Colorado
with the average high temperatures in the 27°F (-2.8°C) to 45°F (7.2°C) range and the average low temperatures in the cold -4°F (-20°C) to 23°F (-5°C) range across the state. Weather in December »