Your Colorado Springtime Packing List

The Aspire Team
March 15, 2024

So, you finally booked the flight or committed to the epic Colorado road trip. Either way, welcome to The Centennial State!

Contrary to popular belief, Colorado isn’t all snow and mountains (although we do have plenty of that, too). We have over 300 days of sunshine a year – the second most of any region in the continental US. Spring offers a great opportunity to get out and explore Colorful Colorado, so to help you get ready, we’ve compiled a packing list of all the essentials.

Happy packing!


  • Layers: Be ready for anything. Colorado weather can be quite unpredictable, especially in the mountains. One day might be 70 and sunny, and the next, a blizzard hits and dumps three of feet of snow. Locals will tell you that layers are everything. Bring a puffer, a fleece, and a beanie and gloves, just in case. Keep in mind, that due to the elevation and dryness, sunny days will feel warmer than you’re used to, but once the sun goes down, the temperature plummets. Of course, it’s easier to shed layers than add more than you have, so be ready!
  • Walking Shoes: Not only is Denver a walkable city, but you’ll want solid shoes if you plan on exploring the mountains at all. If you’re going into the mountains, trails will likely be muddy and wet, so bring a pair you don’t mind getting a little dirty. 
  • Shorts: We can’t promise it’ll be shorts weather when you get here (like we said, Colorado weather is unpredictable), but there’s a good chance it will be, at least during the day. Be prepared to change into pants as soon as the sun goes down – it’ll get chilly. 
  • Pants: Most locals wear jeans or other casual pants, even hiking pants. This isn’t a dress pants city. You might think it’s dorky, but if you have zip-off pants, you won’t be the only one rocking them. 
  • Shirts: Denverites are outdoorsy people, so expect to fit in wearing t-shirts or other casual tops. Bonus points if your shirt has a Denver Nuggets or University of Colorado logo. 


  • Water Bottle: Colorado has almost no humidity at all, and altitudes range between 5,000 and 14,000 feet. This means you need to stay more hydrated than usual, especially if you’re coming from sea level. Plus, water bottles are basically the official Colorado accessory. Show a little personality by adding a sticker from your favorite National Park or ski resort. 
  • Sun Protection: Altitude and sunshine are a dangerous mix – you’ll burn, trust us! Sunscreen is everything. We recommend using an SPF of at least 30, and don’t forget to reapply. 
  • Sunglasses: Denver is the Mile High City because we’re a mile closer to the sun, literally. Don’t forget your sunglasses – these are essential in Colorado not just in the spring, but year round.
  • Hat: Have we made it clear how strong the sun is here? Bucket hat, baseball cap, whatever you have: cover up that noggin and give your face some shade!
  • Daypack: Whether you’re just going sightseeing in the city or you’re taking a 10-mile hike in the mountains, bring a daypack to carry your essentials while you’re out and about. 
  • Tylenol/Motrin: Elevation affects everyone differently, but be prepared to have a bit of a headache when you arrive in Colorado. Bring Tylenol or whatever works for you. 
  • Lotion: The air is dry here, and your skin will get dry too. Expect to use at least twice as much lotion here than you do at home. Some lip balm is a good idea too. 
  • Your Prescriptions: Don’t forget these!
  • Toiletries: Duh.
  • Your Trip Itinerary: This is general travel advice – not just Colorado advice. It’s always helpful to have all plans and confirmations printed out instead of just digitally. If you don’t yet have plans, we can fix that. Add to your vacation calendar with a guided city or mountain tour, or both! 

Nice to Haves: 

  • Windbreaker: It gets windy here… like, really windy. Wind from the east sweeps across the great plains and stops at the mountains, so if you have a windbreaker, bring it. You won’t regret it. 
  • Hiking Boots: If you’re not planning on hiking during your Colorado trip, you’ll be okay with just a solid pair of sneakers. But if you have them, hiking boots are obviously great for hiking. 
  • Camera: It’s pretty here! If you have a nice camera, make use of it. 
  • Hydration Pack: A hydration pack – a backpack with a built-in water pouch and straw – is super helpful, but not necessary. You can always just put a water bottle in your regular bad. 
  • Bathing Suit: It’s still too cold to swim in our rivers and lakes, but maybe your hotel has a pool, or maybe you’ll make a new friend with a hot tub.

Things to Leave Behind:

  • Bug Spray: A great perk of almost zero humidity is the lack of bugs.
  • Bear Spray: We don’t have bears in the city, we promise. Except for at the zoo. But unless you’re going camping, you don’t need this. You can’t bring it on the plane anyway. 
  • Flat Iron: This is the flat hair capital of America. The air is dry and your hair probably will be too. 
  • Rain Jacket: If it rains while you’re here in the springtime, you’ll have seen something extremely rare. 
  • Fancy Outfits: If you have your sister’s wedding or a very fancy meeting to attend, ignore this. But otherwise, Colorado is a very casual place. Think West Coast casual, and then take it down a notch. 

Denver certainly has a bit of a reputation for being a city of lumberjacks in the middle of the wilderness, but that’s not really true. While our surrounding wilderness is gorgeous, Denver metro is home to over three million people. So, if you forget something at home, don’t panic – we have stores here too.

To make the most of your time in town, don’t forget to make plans to see Denver and beyond while you’re in town, and take a guided tour of the mountains. We’re seriously so excited for you, and we’re so glad you chose the best vacation destination in the country for your springtime trip. 


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