With a famously mild climate and plenty to do in every season, there really isn’t a bad time to visit Boulder.
Winters see a generous amount of snowfall, which is great for powder seekers planning a vacation on the nearby slopes, and summers are warm and dry, providing ideal conditions for hiking, biking and more sporty activities.
During spring and fall, the weather is less predictable – but accommodations are more affordable. And festivals and events fill the calendar all year, providing fun for foodies, music lovers, art enthusiasts and culture fans. Whenever you decide to visit, you’ll find something to do in this laid-back, mountain-nestled city. Here are the best times to come.
Come from January to March to ski in a winter wonderland
The temperature in Boulder drops by December, bringing lots of snowfall along with cold temperatures. For locals and tourists alike, that means it’s time to hit the slopes. Boulder is only 35 minutes away from the beloved, local and laid-back Eldora Ski Resort. After spending the day in knee-deep powder, head back into town to warm up with a cozy drink and a hot meal.
Few ski buffs come to Boulder before the holiday season, but by New Year, the peak winter tourist season is in full effect. At this time, expect a rise in accommodation prices and long lines for ski lifts at nearby resorts.
Summer is peak season for outdoor activities, events and festivals
Boulder can get hot in the summer – up to 100°F (38°C) during the day – but it’s a dry heat and short late-afternoon showers help make temperatures more bearable. Locals take full advantage of the favorable weather for outdoorsy activities, and the city hosts a string of outdoor events throughout this season, from music events to art, beer and Shakespeare festivals. The only downside is that this is the busiest time for tourism in Boulder, so you’ll share the experience with a crowd and face higher accommodation prices.
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September to November is the best time for outdoor adventures
Fall is absolutely stunning in Boulder, as Colorado’s aspen forests turn from green to a blazing, golden yellow. Plus, the temperature is just right, hovering between 60°F (15°C) and 70°F (21°C). Conditions are perfect for outdoor adventures such as mountain biking, rock climbing, fishing, hiking and trail running. Boulder has an extensive trail network, and it’s easy to find a different activity for every day of your trip. Just be aware that Boulder can get sporadic snowfall as early as late September, so bring some warm clothing just in case.
Visit in spring (April–May) to avoid the crowds and save on accommodations
Boulder’s weather in the springtime is often unpredictable, with snow, downpours and clear blue skies all part of the mix. These deters tourists, and accommodation prices are typically at their lowest. But those who do venture out in spring will be rewarded with green trails, blooming wildflowers, and one-of-a-kind, authentically Boulder experiences such as the annual Boulder Creek Festival.
The first few weeks after New Year are a popular time for ski trips, and it can get crowded in Boulder. Nearby ski resorts are busy until Martin Luther King Jr Day, and a festive energy lingers downtown. The Flatirons are constantly dusted with fresh layers of snow, making for beautiful winter hiking and picturesque backdrops for sledding. After a day in the snow, fuel up with an amazing meal – Boulder’s restaurants are garnering increasing acclaim.
Key Events: Polar Plunge, Boulder Philharmonic
Boulder is typically covered in snow in February, and it gets quite cold. But don’t be put off by the temperature – there’s still plenty of sunshine in February, and the sparkling, snow-covered mountains are a sight to behold. While there are a few events at this time of year, it’s a great time to enjoy a quieter Pearl Street or grab a beer at one of Boulder’s many craft breweries.
Key Events: Winter Craft Beer Festival
March is one of the best times for skiing in Colorado, with fresh powder falling frequently on nearby slopes. However, March also sees large numbers of spring breakers, so accommodation prices can swing upwards. Despite the busy feel, it’s a beautiful time to visit, and several big arts events are hosted in town this month.
Key Events: Boulder International Film Festival, Boulder Arts Week
Late spring is a time of unpredictable weather in Boulder. Most tourists avoid visiting at this time of year, but that means it’s a good time to find a deal on accommodations. The famed Boulder County Farmers Market also starts up in April, bringing a crowd to town every Saturday and Wednesday with a tasty spread of local fare.
Key Events: Tulip Fairy & Elf Celebration, Bluebird Music Festival
As the last winter snow melts and spring sunshine abounds, greenery and wildflowers emerge in their full glory all over Boulder. Grab a bike or lace up your hiking shoes and explore the city’s scenic trails – there are over 150 miles (241km) of them!
Key Events: BolderBoulder 10k Road Race, Boulder Startup Week, Boulder Creek Festival
By the time June rolls around, Boulder’s outdoor event season is in full swing. Enjoy weekly doses of live music, art festivals, dance shows and theater performances in gorgeous outdoor venues throughout the city.
Key Events: Boulder Comedy Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Boulder International Festival
Warm, sunny days in July provide perfect conditions for tubing down Boulder Creek. Alternatively, head over to the Boulder Reservoir for kayaking, paddle boarding and boating. July is also a great time for picnics or tossing a frisbee in Scott Carpenter Park.
Key Events: Pearl Street Arts Fest, Boulder Environmental/Nature/Outdoors Film Festival
Tourists fill Boulder in August as families squeeze in late summer vacations and outdoor enthusiasts head to the trails while they’re still dry. After a busy day of summer recreation and events, enjoy a cold beer at one of Boulder’s 20+ craft breweries – or hit them all on the Boulder Beer Trail.
Key Events: Boulder Craft Beer Festival, Bands on the Bricks
Fall is one of the best times to be in Boulder. The weather is pleasantly mild, the fall colors dazzle and hotel prices drop from summer peaks. One of the best things to do in September is leaf-peeping – Coot Lake and Sawhill Ponds are great places in town to see bursts of autumnal colors.
Key Events: Downtown Boulder Fall Fest, Boulder Creek Hometown Festival, Buffalo Bicycle Classic
In October, fall festivities abound. Boulder is surrounded by farmland, and that means apple-filled orchards, pumpkin patches and farm stands galore. Check out Ya Ya Farm & Orchard, Munson Farms, and other farms on Boulder’s farm trail to get your fix of harvest bounty. Halloween adds spooky fun at the end of the month with the Munchkin Masquerade.
Key Events: Boulder Restaurant Week, Munchkin Masquerade
Temperatures typically drop and snow begins to fall in November, but the sun sticks around, making for beautifully crisp afternoons. As Thanksgiving approaches, Boulder kicks off the holiday season with Switch on the Holidays – the annual illumination of the holiday lights along Pearl Street.
Key Events: Switch on the Holidays, The Underground Comedy Showcase
In December, Boulder transforms into a winter wonderland as snow dusts the mountains – the perfect excuse for holiday getaways. Choose from a string of festive events to get into the holiday spirit, and enjoy evening strolls along a twinkling Pearl Street.
Key Events: St Nick on the Bricks, Chanukah on Pearl, Lights of December Parade
This article was first published on December 2, 2021 and updated on March 28, 2022