Time: Colorado’s clocks run on Mountain Standard Time (MST). The time difference to the East Coast is two hours behind (+2 hours) and one-hour ahead of the West Coast (-1 hour). Compared with Great Britain, the time difference amounts to seven hours (+7 hours) and to Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland eight hours (+8 hours).
Consumption of Alcohol: The minimum age for alcohol consumption in Colorado is 21. Bars and restaurants strictly obey this law and may ask visitors for identification.
Gratuity: The standard gratuity in the United States is between 15 and 20 percent of the bill. In some restaurants, the tip is already taken into consideration and added to the total. Read the receipt before you pay. In bars, tips are common for individual drinks or large drink orders. For bellhops and other luggage handlers, the average tip is one dollar per luggage item.
Credit Cards: American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover are widely accepted in Colorado, as are travellers’ checks in U.S. dollars. Cash machines are also abundant.
Changing Money: Money can be changed at DenverInternationalAirport. Exchange offices are also found in Denver’s city centre and in Cherry Creek Shopping Mall. Banks in popular destination cities, such as Vail and Beaver Creek, will also change money, but these locations are limited.
Tax: The national value added tax amounts to 2.9 percent. The combined city and county tax averages 6 percent.
Where to Stay: From motels and budget chains to century-old resorts, Colorado has everything...boutique hotels, guest ranches, sophisticated B&Bs and historic cabins. Ski resorts are growing with luxury slopeside condos, which are just as attractive during the summer. This is also a place to go on a road trip – hire a camper van or take a tent and explore rustic camp sites deep in the woods. Purely Colorado can provide you with all your accommodation requirements, please be sure to visit the hotels section of our site where you can search for availability at hotels across Colorado.
Seasons: Please see our dedicated webpage for more information on Colorado's Weather
Summer -Flowers bloom across the mountainsides as things heat up. T-shirt weather throughout, with it especially hot in the south and west. Even in the mountains you may be well over a mile high, but temperatures soar towards 100. Worth taking a jumper as conditions can still change swiftly and evenings at higher elevations can become chilly.
Winter - With ski resorts generally open from Thanksgiving (last weekend in November) until late April (some even longer) there’s a long season of snow fun. But don’t just go to ski – this is a great time to visit anyway, whether for spectacular tours of the mountains or visiting places with more moderate temperatures lower down. Even Denver can be mild mid-winter.
Autumn - Warm and wonderful, the calm before the winter storms even as snow thickens on the high peaks. A great time to visit as the crowds have gone and the mountains come alive with the swaying, fiery gold of the aspen trees. Great off-season prices, too.
Spring - Everything from perfect powder on the slopes to wonderful wildflowers at lower elevations. The state is warming up and you can ski in the morning and play golf in the afternoon. Go equipped for all conditions as you can still be caught in a snowstorm.
Denver: Please visit the dedicated Denver page of our site, under the about Colorado section.
Colorado Springs : Colorado’s second biggest city yet a place which has kept the small town feel of the 1880s when it was a leading resort known as Little London for its international clientele. It is intimate and sophisticated, with the ornate Broadmoor Hotel the ultimate in historic elegance, and Pikes Peak looming over everything. Smart restaurants and stylish cafés abound. Nearby Manitou Springs, a spa and artists’ colony, with its galleries and traffic-free streets, is also a delight, and the place where you board the cog railway up Pikes Peak. Visit the 18,000 acre campus of the US Air Force Academy (and its Cadet Chapel with 17 razor-sharp spires) and the US Olympic Complex (where the likes of swimmers and fencers train) – both are free. And discover wilder places: CheyenneMountainState Park, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the jagged red rocks of the Garden of the Gods and the huge Cave of the Winds.
Grand Junction: Delightful town with historic main street way to the west, a great place to stay for visiting ColoradoNational Monument, a massive sandstone rock landscape. Sitting in fertile GrandValley, it is surrounded by 17 wineries, all offering tastings, as well as farms and orchards, growing peaches, cherries and apples. The Grand Mesa is ‘an island in the sky’, with forests, lakes and slopes at odds with the surrounding scenery. The Museum of Western Colorado features everything from dinosaur relics to historic fruit farms.
Durango: Spirit of the arty south-west, its long, wide historic main street lined with galleries and neat stores. A river, the fastflowing Animas, runs through it bringing the excitement of rafting to the very doorstep of quaint hotels and B&Bs. Stroll along the river path or go for a host of exciting activities – rock climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking. Take a stagecoach ride, visit the rodeo and enjoy the nightlife in the many bars, not least the ornate, Victorian Strater Hotel.
Boulder: Thriving university city in the foothills of the Rockies. Pearl Street Mall cuts through the middle, a heady mix of individual shops, eclectic restaurants, street performers and entertainment where everyone seems to have spilled on to the street. Stylish hotels such as the Boulderado, dating from 1909, and with Italian renaissance architecture, make this a fine place to stay. Boulder is surrounded by 43,000 acres of protected open space and mountain parks, full of hiking and biking trails which take you to the base of the jutting FlatironMountains.
Gunnison and Crested Butte: Just what you imagine Western towns to be – boardwalks and quaint buildings, but where cowboys mingle with a large student population creating an eclectic feel. Both are truly outdoor destinations, surrounded by the GunnisonNational Forest, trout streams, bike paths and hiking trails. Only 25 minutes apart, these towns are a perfect base whether you want summer pleasures (including BlackCanyon of the GunnisonNational Park and Blue Mesa reservoir) or skiing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Cattlemen’s Days rodeo has been held each July since 1901. Visit the PioneerMuseum, with its train, cars and buildings.
Ski Resorts: Please visit the dedicated Ski Colorado page of our site for details on all ski resorts.
Colorado’s Natural Beauty: The natural landscape of Colorado is amazing. When the winter snow melts, emerald-green forests come to life and the sun sparkles on crystal-clear water. Have your camera ready for pictures of the postcard-perfect beauty.
- Maroon Bells, Aspen: One of most photographed vistas in the state.
- Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride: The state’s highest free-falling waterfall.
- Trail Ridge Road, RockyMountainNational Park: Driving on the highest continuously paved road in North America provides ample excitement.
- Million Dollar Highway, Ouray: Drive slowly over this high-mountain highway, which connects Ouray and Silverton.
- RabbitEarsPass, Steamboat Springs: In late September, aspen trees change from green to a golden yellow.
Scenic and Historic Byways: Colorado is home to 25 scenic and historic byways, from the South Platte River Trail in the east, an early train route, to Grand Mesa in the west, along the highest flattop mountain in the United States. Drives along these roads can last between 30 minutes and 8 hours and range in length from 31 to 380 kilometres. They include ghost towns, ancient ruins, alpine tundra, grasslands, some of the oldest trains in the West and much more. Find out more about these routes at www.coloradobyways.org.
Welcome Centres: Friendly, free and valuable vacation information sums up the Colorado Welcome Centre experience. Official Colorado Welcome Centres are located throughout the state for your convenience. Easily accessed from every major highway leading into Colorado as well as near Denver, these visitor services sites provide indispensable local and statewide travel information. Area-specific brochures, detailed maps and face-to-face travel consultation and advice from our dedicated Colorado volunteer experts are all offered free of charge. From whichever direction you're coming into Colorado, there's a Colorado Welcome Centre along your way.
No matter how you get to Colorado, you'll find a Colorado Welcome Center along your way. Locations include:
Colorado Welcome Center at Alamosa
Alamosa is the hub of the vast San Luis Valley. It's your base camp for the Great Sand Dunes National Park, two historic railroads and an authentic cultural heritage experience. The valley is surrounded by 14,000-foot peaks encompassing hiking, biking, fishing, birdwatching, hot springs and more. Your lodging, dining, shopping and information are here in Alamosa!
Colorado Welcome Center at Burlington
Friendly volunteer travel counsellors are eager to help you with all of your Colorado travel plans and inquiries. Complimentary Colorado maps, coffee and more than 350 brochures are available. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and well lit, and the toilets are exceptionally clean. The welcome centre is located just 13 miles from the Kansas border on I-70.
Colorado Welcome Center at Cortez
Friendly volunteers provide personal attention and make this an excellent stop for information when visiting the southwest corner of Colorado, which is considered the archaeological centre of the United States. In addition, the welcome centre houses a small collection of Ancestral Puebloan artifacts. Toilets are also available.
Colorado Welcome Center at Dinosaur
Knowledgeable volunteers greet visitors to Colorado with area and statewide information. Pick up complimentary maps, coffee and brochures. A pet area is offered, as are clean toilets and an information video on Colorado's wildlife. A book exchange is also available.
Colorado Welcome Center at Fort Collins
Colorado experts provide complimentary Colorado maps, routing information, weather updates, brochures and more. The welcome centre houses the North Park Region office of Colorado State Parks and the Rocky Mountain Nature Association bookstore. The centre is surrounded by more than 200 acres of nature preserve, with nature and interpretive trails, picnic areas and more.
Colorado Welcome Center at Fruita
Friendly Colorado experts provide free information. Choose from complimentary maps, free coffee, a children's play area, a pet area and more than 350 vacation-specific brochures. Toilets are clean and well lit. Free Internet access is also available to visitors.
Colorado Welcome Center at Julesburg
Located at the beginning of the South Platte River Trail, a Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway. Complimentary maps, coffee and friendly volunteers help with your travel plans. There are also more than 350 brochures to choose from. Picnic sites and walking paths surround the sunny, landscaped plaza. Toilets, a pet area and a children's play area are also available.
Colorado Welcome Center at Lamar
Located in the heart of downtown Lamar in the Historic Lamar Railroad Depot, which still services daily Amtrak arrivals and departures. The centre provides free coffee, WiFi, book exchange and toilets. Volunteers help with travel plans and advise of road and weather conditions. A Madonna of the Trail statue, steam locomotive and an immense windmill blade are on-site.
Colorado Welcome Center at Red Rocks
Informative and well-trained volunteer travel counsellors help visitors experience Colorado. The welcome centre is located near the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre and offers access to Red Rocks Park, free Colorado information, a gift shop, a pet area and more.
Colorado Welcome Center at Trinidad
A knowledgeable staff provides destination information, routing suggestions, road conditions, weather information, clean toilets, fresh coffee and the opportunity for a relaxing walk, stretch and chance to breathe some of the freshest air around. Free WiFi, a children's play area and a wildlife video are also available.