Colorado spring bucket list: 6 ways to celebrate the season, from 4/20 to pond-skimming

Of all the seasons in Colorado, spring is the most in-between. Also known as shoulder season, it’s the time of year when your boots stay caked with mud thanks to the snowmelt and quietness envelops mountain towns as the tourists head home. It’s not quite prime hiking season, the wildflowers are on the verge of blooming, and you might still need a wetsuit to go kayaking.

But fear not, there’s plenty to do if you know where to look. Here are six very Colorado activities to cross off your spring bucket list.

Light up for 4/20

Spring in Colorado is defined by the aroma of fresh greenery — and we’re not just talking about the trees and flowers. The April 20 stoner holiday means dispensary deals and a wealth of local concerts, from the cannabis-friendly sounds of Pepper, Method Man and more at Red Rocks Amphitheatre to the Mile High City’s signature FlyHi 4/20 Festival, which returns to Civic Center Park this year after a two-year pandemic hiatus. Looking for something a little more chill? Book a cultivation tour or visit the International Church of Cannabis.

Tacos are popular items on the ...
Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Tacos are popular items on the menu at Dos Santos, which has locations in Denver and Castle Rock.

Stuff your face with tacos

Our quest to find Denver’s best taco shop via our March Madness bracket is nearly complete! Reader votes have, so far, determined the Final Four restaurants and the winner will be announced in early April. Until then, chew on this list of more than 100 local taco joints worth trying, which we culled from reader-submitted nominations for the bracket.

Peter M. Fredin, The Associated Press

Nothing says springtime in the Rockies like pond-skimming.

Get your pond-skim on

Spring skiing may leave a little bit to be desired in terms of snow conditions, but it’s one of the most fun times on the slopes thanks to special events like pond-skimming, snow kayaking and other light-hearted competitions. Join the fun at Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Keystone Resort and plenty of other ski areas near closing day. Costumes encouraged.

Colorado companies Crooked Stave and Obermeyer ...
Tiney Ricciardi, The Denver Post

Colorado companies Crooked Stave and Obermeyer teamed up on Après Pils, a light and crisp beer begging to accompany your spring skiing adventure.

Toast to the changing of seasons

Sure, every season is beer-drinking season in Colorado, but warmer temperatures and longer days call for beverages as refreshing as the winter thaw. Our recommendations on new releases include a pilsner collaboration from Crooked Stave, a powder-chasing India pale ale from New Belgium Brewing Co., and a marshmallow stout collaboration between WeldWerks Brewing Co., Odell Brewing Co. and Little Man Ice Cream, among others. Or try one of these locally brewed cocktail-inspired beers.

Holiday Theatre
BusinessDen file photo

The Holiday Theatre reopens in April under the direction of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Support local art

Denver’s arts institutions have largely rescinded mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates for attendees, which means it’s easier than ever to catch a play or musical performance. Just in time: The historic Holiday Theatre reopens in April with a kickoff concert from Chicano Batman. Colorado also is full of quirky museums where you can get your cultural fix, from the Outlaws & Lawmen Jail Museum to Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys.

Sandhill cranes take to the skies ...
Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Sandhill cranes take to the skies above the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in Monte Vista on March 10, 2021. The Sandhill cranes are an iconic species of the San Luis Valley. Over 20,000 cranes spend part of their spring and fall each year in this valley as they migrate towards the north.

Go birding

With spring’s arrival, the birds that flew south for the winter make their way back north and Colorado is a thoroughfare for sandhill cranes, which migrate through the San Luis Valley by the thousands. The migration has started and viewing is expected to be good through mid-April. Looking for another road trip idea? Nebraska is also a birding hotspot this time of year.

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