If you’re celebrating the Fourth of July in Colorado this year, here’s where to see the most awe-inspiring displays, plus a few unusual ones, just to be true to the Rocky Mountain reputation.
Many counties across Colorado have lifted their fireworks bans. Even high-mountain towns nestled in the trees have brought their rockets red glare back, after years of pause.
These are our eight favorite fireworks displays across Colorado:
1. Black Hawk’s Boom Town: Every year, the mountain casino town of Black Hawk does it big for the Fourth, with breathtaking fireworks filling the valley sky. In fact, it claims to put on the largest fireworks displace in Colorado. The show is called the Boom Town Fireworks Spectacular.
After a day of trying your luck on the slots, try to score the best seat in the house: in a neighborhood or open space as high as possible. The bird’s eye view is unmatched — the best in the state — and from above, you skip the crowds.
After the show, go camping nearby in Genesee Park or at one of the many casinos. We love the Ameristar (which also has great views of the fireworks) and the Lodge Casino.
As with all Colorado fireworks shows, this event is weather permitting. If it's too dry out and the fire risk is high, the event may be canceled.
2. Grand Lake 4th of July Celebration: This small town’s celebration is as grand as its lake.
Many travelers come to Grand Lake specifically for the display, shot off above the placid water. See fireworks 7,500 feet in the sky reflected on the lake below. It feels like twice the sparkle. Grab a blanket and picnic basket and celebrate amid the serenity of the tall trees and wildflowers.
Fireworks notwithstanding, Grand Lake in the summer is hard to top.
The lake is the focal point of all kinds of water activities; there's even a swim beach and stand-up paddleboarding. And the old-fashioned downtown has cute shops and a quality theater. This full package makes Grand Lake an ideal Fourth of July destination for visitors and locals, alike.
3. Rollin’ on the Riverwalk, Pueblo: Southern Colorado’s biggest Independence Day celebration fuses orchestra music with a light show in the sky. The Rollin’ on the Riverwalk event begins with an outdoor concert by the Pueblo Symphony Orchestra. As the finale, the sky glows with fireworks. The event is open to the public, but costs $3-$15.
Bring your own lawn chair or picnic blanket to sit on. There are plenty of food options and beer, too, so make it a full evening event.
4. Independence Eve, Denver: You can't leave Denver’s big bang out. Independence Eve, in Civic Center Park, is a huge, free light show, concert and fireworks display that transforms the dramatic city and county building into a glowing rainbow of patriotism.
Tip: Come as early as possible to get the high-demand lawn spots. Concessions are nearby, but spare the lines and pack a picnic. Parking and traffic can be really challenging in downtown on this day.
5. Elitch Gardens: For a wild spin on Independence Day, get your rush on the thrilling rides at Denver’s favorite amusement park. Don’t miss the SlideZilla ride, a six-story water slide that will take you through a massive swirling bowl and into a mega wave.
After a day of adrenaline, you’ll be ready relax under the stars for Elitch Gardens’ free fireworks display after dark. The show is free with admission.
6. Nederland’s Old Fashioned July Fourth Fireworks and Festival: The college town of Boulder is known for its flashy fireworks display, but this year for something different, head up the hills to the funky neighbor town of Nederland. “Ned” is a mountain town with a ton of personality. (In fact, it holds another event called the Frozen Dead Guy Days, complete with coffin racing and frozen T-shirt contests.)
As you would expect of Nederland, this is no ordinary festival.
Find all kinds of quirky mountain fun, such as a human-sized Jenga game and barrel races.
7. I-76 Speedway Fourth of July race, Fort Morgan: Looking for a unique and exciting way to celebrate independence? A day at the speedway watching race cars whiz by is pretty ‘Merican. The race usually kicks off in the evening, followed by fireworks. Tickets typically range from $4 to $30, depending on your age and seat location.
8. Fourth of July weekend celebration, Estes Park: Visitors stationed in Rocky Mountain Park over Independence Day won’t be disappointed. The charming mountain village of Estes Park goes all out for the holiday, starting with the Go 4th music festival, where you can try for a strike in human bowling or fill up at the pig roast.
July 4 brings a car show, pro bull-riding and another free concert, with dramatic fireworks over Lake Estes as the grand finale. The best seats are at Stanley Park.
Estes claims to have the "most spectacular" fireworks display in the state. While that's hard to quantify, it's also hard to dispute that this one's up there.