Denver is popularly known as a snowy, cold-weather city, but that doesn’t paint an accurate picture of the Mile High City’s true weather. Denver is a four-season city with many unique weather patterns dependent on the time of year, but no matter when you visit, it’s probably sunny out.
Colorado brags that they receive ‘300 days of sunshine,’ but it’s closer to 320 days of sunny weather per year—that’s more than San Diego! It’s usually sunny but not always—you will still have to contend with severe thunderstorms, hail, rain, snow, and even blizzards. By learning more about the individual seasons, you can know when to book and when to stay home.
Best and Worst Time to Visit Denver
If you want to experience those beautiful sunshiny days and decrease your chances of rain or snow, summer is the best time to visit Denver. Denver can experience precipitation any day of the year, but it is more rare, infrequent, and short-lived during the summer. Plus, you never have to deal with snow and ice. You can expect thunderstorms any time you book in the summer, but they are often low-impact and don’t last long.
The worst time to visit Denver for the weather is winter. Winter in the Mile High City brings rain, snow, ice, and plunging temperatures. Winter highs in Denver barely squeak past the low forties while lows hover around the teens.
Fast Climate Facts
- Hottest Month: July (High: 88 degrees F; Low: 59 degrees F)
- Coldest Month: December (High: 43 degrees F; Low: 17 degrees F)
- Wettest Month: May (2.12 inches)
- Snowiest Month: March (10.7 inches)
Denver’s Altitude and Lack of Humidity
Denver is found in a semi-arid region. Combine its location and altitude, and you’re left with a dry city. No matter what time of the year you visit, the humidity will likely be lower than where you’re coming from and can affect you in several ways. Prepare for dry skin, dehydration, headaches, and even nosebleeds due to the altitude and lack of humidity, especially during winter. You can help yourself by drinking plenty of fluids, using a humidifier, and packing skin lotion.
The Weather and Climate in Denver By Season
We know that Denver gets 300+ days of sunshine, but we also know it can get precipitation any day of the year. We know that some like it hot while others like brisk temperatures when seeing a city. To please all types, we’ve broken down Denver season-by-season, so you know the optimal times to visit for your preferred climate.
Spring in Denver
Spring brings showers and snow but also sunshine. Temperatures are pleasant for most of the spring, and many outdoor attractions begin opening mid- to late season. The increasing temperature and sunshine bring a spring bloom to the city which attracts birds and butterflies, especially in April and May. It can get cool at night, but freezing temperatures are generally uncommon after mid-spring, which makes it an excellent time to experience the city.
Keep in mind, though, that precipitation can be unpredictable thanks to those giant Rocky Mountains directly west of the city. Early spring brings the highest amount of snow totals for Denver while late spring brings the highest amounts of rain—Denver has received blizzards into late April, and it’s not uncommon to see large snow dumps in March and heavy rains in May. Be careful of any spring plans as the weather could cancel them with little warning.
What to pack: Temperatures vary from early to late spring, so you may have to pack for several possibilities depending on what time you plan on visiting. Be wary that early spring can bring cold and snow snaps, so always bring a waterproof jacket, warm footwear, and plenty of warm synthetic layers. Toss in a few T-shirts and at least one pair of shorts for late spring.
Average temperatures by month:
- March: High: 54 degrees F; Low: 26 degrees F
- April: High: 61 degrees F; Low: 34 degrees F
- May: High: 71 degrees F; Low: 44 degrees F
Summer in Denver
Summer is generally the best time to find yourself in the Mile High City due to the pleasant weather. It can get hot during Denver summers, but the highs are tolerable to most.
Denver summers bring frequent but short rain, occasional thunderstorms, and enjoyable nighttime temperatures. In the heart of summer, you can expect the sun up for close to 16 hours a day. The pleasant weather and the long days bring out plenty of events, attractions, and festivals, making summer the time to book if you want the most available activities.
Denver can also get hot and dry during the summer, so be careful if you’re susceptible to dehydration, sunburn, or over-heating. Those who need to avoid the sun and heat or don’t do well in dry environments will be better off booking for spring or fall.
What to pack: Summer is home to the warmest Denver weather, but it can still get cool during early summer nights. Pack plenty of light warm-weather gear like T-shirts and shorts, but also a light jacket at the least. It can storm during any day of summer so pack a lightweight rain jacket just in case. Denver’s altitude makes you more susceptible to UV damage, so always pack UV-rated sunglasses.
Average temperature by month:
- June: High: 81 degrees F; Low: 53 degrees F
- July: High: 88 degrees F; Low: 59 degrees F
- August: High: 86 degrees F; Low: 57 degrees F
Fall in Denver
Imagine snow-capped mountains framed by a mix of shimmering evergreens and colorful fall colors, and you have Denver in fall. Kickoff for the Broncos and cool (but not cold) temperatures keep most Denverites active through the season.
Unlike many parts of the country, Colorado is a four-season state which means Denver experiences distinct autumn. If you visit Denver in the fall, you can expect changing leaves, crisp temperatures, and the taste of winter coming in at night. If you love seasonal brews and cozy jackets, you’ll love Denver in the fall.
Keep in mind that fall can see dramatic shifts in temperature and unpredictable precipitation similar to spring. Even though temperatures generally remain even and precipitation low, it’s not unlikely to see freezing temperatures and snow. Be careful planning outdoor events in the fall—it can get cold at night!
What to pack: Because fall can vary in Denver, you’ll need to pack options. Consider lightweight long-sleeve shirts, hooded sweatshirts, long pants, light sweaters, and as always in cool weather, a waterproof jacket and warm footwear. You can pack T-shirts and shorts if you plan on coming in early fall, though temperatures begin to turn around October. You can leave the heavy coat at home during this time.
Average temperatures by month:
- September: High: 77 degrees F; Low: 47 degrees F
- October: High: 65 degrees F; Low: 36 degrees F
- November: High: 52 degrees F; Low: 25 degrees F
Like most of the country, winter is the coldest time in the Mile High City. Winter highs hover around the low 40s with lows in the teens. It’s not uncommon to see the temperature drop into single digits and even below zero during winter for a few days at a time. If you don’t like the cold weather, but you love the snow, consider an early spring trip rather than a winter one—March is the snowiest month in Denver with more pleasant temperatures.
Denver still receives abundant sunshine even during winter, and early winter’s low humidity and tolerable temperatures can also make this season a good time for a trip.
What to pack: Although long cold snaps are uncommon, it can get bitterly cold during Denver’s winter months. Make sure to pack plenty of warm clothing including a heavy jacket, water-proof jacket, base layer, plenty of light warm clothes you can layer together, a warm hat, warm and waterproof boots or shoes, and ear protection. Denver’s winters can be both cold and wet—prepare for both.
Average temperatures by month:
- December: High: 43 degrees F; Low: 17 degrees F
- January: High: 45 degrees F; Low: 17 degrees F
- February: High: 46 degrees F; Low: 20 degrees F
Average Monthly Temperatures, Rainfall, Snowfall, and Daylight Hours
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