What to Pack for Colorado Springs

July 15, 2019

How to dress for each season in Colorado Springs

It’s one of the most important parts of your vacation, packing the right clothes to ensure you’re comfortable and get the most out of your time away.  It can also be awkward if you’re more or less dressed up than the folks around you, especially if you want to blend in with the locals.  Follow these simple guidelines, and you’ll look like a native in no time!

The Essentials year around

Refillable Water Bottle: Boy.  Where do we begin?  There are so many reasons to bring your own water bottle.  1. Water is the number one resource to help you acclimate to our elevation.  Drink lots before you come, lots while you’re here, and take some home with you! 2. We have awesome water here.  Our reservoirs are fed by snowmelt, we’re literally at the source, so open that tap and enjoy!  3. It’s dry here!  We’re a sub-alpine desert and dehydration is not your friend.  (Refer back to #1.) 4. Reusable water bottles are good for the environment!  You’re coming to visit one of the prettiest places on the planet.  Help us keep it that way! 5. It will save you money!  Bottled water is expensive, and there’s no reason not to drink from the tap here!

Sunscreen: Colorado Springs sits at just over 6,000 feet in elevation.  We’re closer to the sun, the air is thinner, and that 300 days of blue skies isn’t just a clever marketing campaign.  Even in the winter, we highly recommend you apply and reapply sunscreen to keep that youthful appearance!

Sturdy Shoes: Regardless of your planned activities, we recommend having at least one pair of sturdy shoes in your pack.  Several of our favorite attractions require some hilly walking, and you’ll feel better at the end of the day if your feet don’t hurt!

Layers: Yes, even in the summer.  Even when the high is going to be in the 90’s.  Chances are good you’ll experience a 30 degree temperature change during the day.  When the sun goes down, the temperature drops, and you’ll be surprised how much cooler it is when it stops shining.  It’s a wonderful feeling after a toasty summer day, but will also feel a lot cooler after enjoying that rocky mountain sunshine all day.  In the winter, that sunshine will make a HUGE difference in how warm you are.

Elevation change will also drop the temperature significantly.  If you plan to travel to the summit of Pikes Peak, head underground with Cave of the Winds or the Mollie Kathleen Mine, or head up to 9,000 foot Cripple Creek, you’ll be glad for one more layer.

Most locals carry water and an extra coat or jacket in their vehicles year around.  As we like to say, it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Summer Gear

Seems slightly counter-intuitive to start in the middle of the year, but summer is when we welcome the most guests to our beautiful state, and most people fall in love with Colorado.  The weather is very mild, the evenings cool off beautifully and we truly earn our “Colorful Colorado” moniker.

There are a few things to keep in mind when packing for Colorado during our summer months.

  • Bring lots of layers: T-shirts, shorts, long pants and hoodies or light jackets
  • Flip flops are great, but bring hiking boots for the big adventures
  • Pack a refillable water bottle!
  • Sunscreen and sun-protective clothing is just smart packing!
  • Brimmed hat and sunglasses — did we mention we get 300 days of blue skies?
  • Swimsuit, the pool at the hotel is nice, but do you know about river rafting?
Summer Weather Around Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region

The temperature can vary quite a bit from one end of summer to the other, and keep in mind that the temperature can be significantly cooler in the mountains than in town.

June: Typically, June has wonderously mild weather.  The days tend to be between 60 and 75 degrees.  Much of our rainfall happens in June, but here’s the local secret: if the forecast calls for rain, expect a short afternoon shower.  Bring raincoat and umbrella and plan a short indoor activity till it passes.  Usually they last 20-30 minutes and the sun is back out.  As we like to say, it’s just enough to cool things off and wash away the dust before the sun comes out to dry it off again.

July: July is when summer really kicks into full swing.  Expect temps between 70 and 95 degrees.  Pack shorts, swimsuits, and t-shirts — but don’t ignore a light jacket or sweatshirt.  Colorado likes to surprise us.

August: If we hit 100 degrees, it usually happens in August.  Those of you from hot and humid states should know, it may get pretty toasty, but with very low humidity, that dry heat and actually feel pretty good.  We also have loads of ways to beat the heat, between cool caves, great mountain air, and lots of air-conditioned museums.  Expect temps from 75-95.

Fall Gear

Fall is one of the most predictable and pleasant seasons in Colorado.  We typically have lovely warm days, followed by nights cool enough to warrant s’mores!

  • Shorts are still totally acceptable in the early part of fall, but long pants are recommended as we move into October.
  • T-shirts are a must during the day.  The cool weather in the morning will make you think you need heavier tops, but trust us.  Base-layer with a tee.
  • Light to medium jacket.
Fall Weather Around Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region

September: Expect the days peak in the high 60’s and nights in the low 40’s.  Snow and rain are almost unheard of, but it could get a little windy.

October: The first part of October is much like September, but nearly every year, our first snow happens the end of October.  It’s often only a dusting, but expect the temperatures to start heading south.  Temps range from 60’s down to 30’s, though the lower degrees are welcome because that’s makes all the trees change color, and that is something to see!

November: The temperature can still hit mid 60’s during the day, but we see fewer and fewer of those highs.  There’s still relatively little in the way of snow, and the daytime temps will get warm enough to melt it, should we see some.  Expect more 40’s and 50’s.

Even though the temperature is cooling, we’re still in a temperate zone and a dry 40 degrees is still quite pleasant.  The sun is typically out in the day and feels glorious if you’ve gotten too cold.

Winter Gear

We know what you’re thinking, winter in Colorado means SNOW!  Well, this is snows perfect state, but we don’t get as much in Colorado Springs as you’d expect.  The mountains and ski towns get plenty, but we still enjoy all the other outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and picnicking year around.  And remember that Colorado likes to be unpredictable, so even in the depth of our coldest months, we get the occasional 60 degree day.  It’s weather reprieve and it’s one of the many reasons so many of us love it here!

  • Long pants, even for the warm days.  The wind and the shade will quickly remind you it’s winter.
  • T-shirts.  Yes, even in winter.  We will get those warm days and you might as well soak up the sun while you can.
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Jacket
  • Coat
  • Boots, for snow or hiking
  • Gloves
  • Hats
  • Swimsuits.  Okay, I kind of wanted to see if you were still paying attention, but there are to soak in hot water and you could get invited to join the Polar Bear Club.
Winter Weather Around Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region

December: Hoping for a white Christmas?  Us too.  Snow becomes more likely in December but not necessarily common.  Days in the 60’s are not unheard of, but likely in the 30’s-50’s.

January: Winter is starting to mean business now.  We still get days in the 50’s but more often in the 20-40 range.

February: This month usually wins the prize for most consecutive overcast days, and usually the coldest days of the year.  I think 3 days in a row is the longest I’ve not seen the sun, so if you come on cloudy day, just give it a minute.  Expect 20’s-40’s.

Spring Gear

Thanksgiving Cave of the Winds

Photo by: @lindsaypiittmann

We have a surprise for you, winter is not the time to bring your snow gear to Colorado Springs.  It’s Springtime!  Spring is when we get the most snow and it tends to be heavy and wet this time of year.  As we say here, April showers bring May snowstorms.

  • Long pants
  • T-shirts
  • Jacket
  • Wet weather gear, like rain coats and boots
  • Gloves
  • Hats
  • Coat. Yes, both a coat and jacket because it can change from morning to afternoon or day to day.
Spring Weather Around Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region

March: Most places, March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. . . here it kind of comes out as a bigger lion.  March is when our spring storms start, but we also start getting warmer days.  March can swing between 30-60.

April: If we’ve been having a wet year so far, expect snow in April and expect to see a pretty good one.  When you see photos of snows over a foot in Colorado Springs, those are likely from April or May.  Expect temps in the 40’s-60’s.

May: The month of May can be one of the more unpredictable months.  It’s not uncommon for us to get heavy wet snows well into May.  Happily, they usually don’t stick around very long, often melting within hours after the storm.  Expect temps from 40-65 degrees fahrenheit, and if you’re planning to hike, especially in the mountains, prepare for snow, rain and possibly mud.

We have one more saying to send you packing (pun totally intended!) There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothes!  Remember, if you have questions, just hit that chat bar in the lower righthand corner.  If we’re offline, we’ll reply by email just as soon as we’re able.  Happy trails!

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