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 to 100°F 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 or higher. The annual rainfall in the plains averages between 15" to 25".
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". 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.
Spring weather in Colorado
Spring in Colorado
is marked by a gentle transition from the intense cold of winter. The state begins to thaw, and the weather warms up gradually. Refreshing rain showers can be experienced during this season, particularly in the Eastern Plains. In mountainous regions, snow may linger but often melts to give way to new growth. This season offers clear skies, abundant sunshine, and day temperatures that range from mild to moderately warm, making it an excellent time for outdoor activities and exploration.
Summer weather in Colorado
Summer in Colorado
is characterized by hot and dry conditions, especially in the Eastern Plains where temperatures regularly cross 95°F. In the Front Range urban corridor, summers can be equally hot, but the high mountain range protects the region from Pacific storms, keeping it relatively dry. Wildfires, thunderstorms, and even tornadoes are common during the late spring and early summer. Despite the heat, summer nights can be cool, with a difference in daily high and low temperatures often to the tune of 30°F or higher.
Autumn weather in Colorado
Autumn is a time for vibrant colors and milder temperatures in Colorado
. While still warm, the weather begins to cool down from the intense heat of the summer. The mountains are adorned with fall foliage, and the plains experience a decrease in thunderstorms. Autumn marks a transition period with less extreme weather patterns, and temperatures that are more comfortable for outdoor activities. This season also sees a reduction in tourist crowds, making it a favorable time to explore the state's diverse geography.
Winter weather in Colorado
Winter in Colorado
brings severely cold weather and extensive snowfall. The plains often experience low temperatures from -10°F to 25°F, while the mountains are even colder. Accumulations of snow range from 60" to 100" on average, with higher elevations registering more than 120". The high mountain ranges act as natural barriers, creating temperature extremes and blocking storms. Despite the harsh conditions, Chinook winds can keep the Front Range areas warm at times, providing brief respite from the intense cold.
Weather in January
is the coldest month of the year in Colorado
, signifying the depth of winter with frigid temperatures and substantial snowfall. In the Eastern Plains, temperatures may fall into the range of -10°F to 25°F, with the mountainous regions often experiencing even lower temperatures. Weather in January »
Weather in February
continues the winter season but often brings a slight moderation in temperatures compared to the more frigid January
. The Eastern Plains might experience temperatures from 0°F to 30°F, while the mountainous regions remain substantially cold. Maybell, which stands out for its record low temperatures, can still have intensely cold days in February, although not as severe as in January. Weather in February »
Weather in March
signals the beginning of spring in Colorado
, although winter weather often lingers, especially in the mountainous regions. In the Eastern Plains, temperatures may range from 20°F to 40°F, with milder days becoming more frequent. Weather in March »
Weather in April
is characterized by a continued shift towards milder weather, with the real essence of spring becoming more apparent. The Eastern Plains experience temperatures from 30°F to 50°F, making it noticeably warmer than the previous months. Weather in April »
Weather in May
ushers in a definitive spring feel across Colorado
, with a substantial warming trend and an increase in rain rather than snow in the lower regions. In the Eastern Plains, temperatures typically range from 40°F to 60°F, creating a comfortable and pleasant climate. Cities like Boulder, nestled in the Front Range urban corridor, enjoy the emergence of green landscapes, blooming flowers, and more consistent spring weather. Weather in May »
Weather in June
marks the beginning of the summer season, bringing a significant rise in temperatures and a more stable weather pattern. In the Eastern Plains and Front Range urban areas, temperatures typically range from 50°F to 75°F, with days becoming increasingly warm and nights remaining cool. Denver and other cities along the Front Range often enjoy clear, sunny skies, with the occasional afternoon thunderstorm. Weather in June »
Weather in July
is typically the warmest month of the year in Colorado
, with temperatures soaring across various regions of the state. In the Eastern Plains, temperatures may range from 60°F to 90°F, with occasional days exceeding this range, particularly in lower elevation areas. Cities including Fort Collins and Pueblo often experience hot days, and it's not uncommon for Bennett to reach its highest temperatures during this month, with a record of 118°F on July 11, 1888. Weather in July »
Weather in August
continues the summer heat in Colorado
but begins to hint at a gradual cooling as the state transitions towards autumn. In the Eastern Plains and cities like Denver, temperatures generally range from 58°F to 88°F, remaining warm but often slightly cooler than the peak temperatures of July
. This month, Colorado's weather still accommodates outdoor activities, and recreational areas remain bustling with visitors. Weather in August »
Weather in September
signifies the onset of autumn, with noticeable changes in temperature and the landscape's appearance. Temperatures in areas like the Eastern Plains usually range from 50°F to 75°F, showcasing a significant decrease from the summer's peak warmth. The Front Range cities, including Colorado Springs, start to experience cooler nights and milder days. Weather in September »
Weather in October
brings a distinct autumnal feel, with temperatures continuing to drop and landscapes transforming with vibrant fall colors. In the Front Range urban corridor, temperatures often range from 40°F to 65°F, providing crisp and cool weather. The mountains of Colorado become a spectacle, with aspen trees displaying brilliant shades of gold and orange. Weather in October »
Weather in November
ushers in the winter season in Colorado
, with temperatures dropping substantially and snowfall becoming more widespread. In major cities like Denver, temperatures often fluctuate from 30°F to 55°F, with the colder nights heralding the approach of winter. Snow begins to accumulate in the mountains, providing the initial base for skiing and other winter sports. Weather in November »
Weather in December
solidifies the winter season, with cold temperatures and snowfall becoming regular occurrences. In the Front Range cities, such as Boulder, temperatures generally range from 20°F to 45°F, providing a chilly but often clear environment. The mountains are now in full winter mode, with substantial snowfall creating prime conditions for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. Weather in December »