Thanks for visiting our Colorado-for-Free blog! Let us be your Colorado guides to free activities, free events, free tours, free music, free samples, and many other FREE things to see and do throughout Colorado.
Travelers (as well as Colorado residents) will find many vacation planning ideas here from the Front Range to the Western Slope and from the Great Plains to the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Also, be sure to visit our website, Colorado-for-Free, for even more information on free things to enjoy, including a Calendar of Events by Month.

Fun, Free, Festive Winter Happenings

posted Saturday January 8, 2011

Got the winter blues? Get out and experience some outstanding winter events in the next several weeks!

Ullr Fest (Breckenridge)
January 9 – 15, 2011

This is one of the premier wild & crazy events of the season!

Visit a National Park for Free
January 15-17
Enjoy free admission to all National Parks (including our wonderful Colorado parks)

International Snow Sculpture Championships (Breckenridge)
January 25 – 30
Back to Breck for some spectacular (and huge) snow sculptures!

SnowDown (Durango)
February 2 – 6
More fun in the snow with unique competitions and all-around excitement.

No more cabin-fever — get out there and enjoy!

Free National Park admissions – again!

posted Wednesday June 2, 2010

We all love our National Parks, and we can love them for FREE this coming weekend and several other dates this year.  That’s right — free admission to all National Parks is back by popular demand.

So, get out and climb Longs Peak in RMNP, High Dune in Great Sand Dunes NP, descend to the Gunnison River at Black Canyon NP, or make the rounds of the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde NP.

Free National Park admission dates in 2010:

June 5-6
August 14-15
September 25
November 11

Free Admission to National Parks (all over U.S.)

posted Tuesday April 13, 2010

Painted Wall at Black CanyonApril 17 – 25, 2010
is National Parks Week  and you know what that means…free admission! 

That’s right — you can visit Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Sand Dunes NP & Preserve, Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP, and Mesa Verde NP and not pay anything at the entrance gates. Plus, there may be discounts at the bookstores and visitor centers in the parks, and special programs.

Need an example?  Check this out:

Guests of Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado can book one night at the Far View Lodge, priced at $99, and get the second consecutive night FREE. This offer is valid April 22 – April 30. Please note, entrance to Mesa Verde National Park is free through the end of April.

Longs Peak - Rocky Mountain National ParkSweet, eh?

By the way, if you’re planning a trip out of state, remember that all the National Parks all over the country are offering free admission for the week, so have a great time out there!

Colorado Scenic Byways (all over Colorado)

posted Thursday July 16, 2009

Colorado Scenic Byways I don’t usually feature a guidebook when talking about free things to see and do in our gorgeous state, but I have to make an exception.  I’ve just scanned through a 2-volume set called Colorado Scenic Byways by Jim Steinberg & Susan Tweit, and have already started a lengthy list of must-see road trips within our state.

This is an interesting and unique pair of books.  Both share this basic concept:  explore the officially-designated Scenic Byways within Colorado.  One book is a spectacular hard-bound, coffee-table volume which features photography which will inspire you to hit the road and see these views up close and personal.  The other book is soft-bound — easy for carrying with you in your car — and focuses on maps, details about each Scenic Byway driving route, nearby side-trips, places to eat or stay, photo opportunity notes, and special events you might want to attend along the way.  This take-it-with-you guide also includes enough of the quality photography in each section to keep you inspired.   

I like to think I know several regions of Colorado extremely well, having lived in Colorado my entire life and having traveled along many of these Byways in the past.  Hah!  I definitely need to get out more!  I had no idea what I was missing until I scanned these 2 volumes.  Road trip! 

Are the books free?  No.  Is the scenery free?  It certainly is.

For the thrify-minded, here’s a thought.  Buy the set, give the 248-page hard-bound volume as a special gift to someone who’ll fall in love with Colorado (and love you for the gift), and keep the 80-page  travel guide for yourself so you can enjoy some new-to-you Colorado scenery for free!

Free Admission to National Parks

posted Tuesday June 2, 2009

Rocky Mountain National Park

In the “every little bit helps” department, all National Park Service sites that charge entry fees will waive them for the weekends of:

June 20 and 21 (Happy Father’s Day!),
July 18 and 19, and
August 15 and 16, 2009.


Here in Colorado, these free admission weekends will apply to:


Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Colorado National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Great Sand Dunes NP & Preserve
Hovenweep National Monument
Mesa Verde National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park

See you on the trails!

Public Lands Day (National & State Parks around Colorado)

posted Monday September 22, 2008

September 27, 2008

Visit one of our wonderful State Parks, National Parks or Monuments for free on Saturday, September 27, and have the opportunity to give something back, as well.  According to the National Public Lands Day website:

National Public Lands Day keeps the promise of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the “tree army” that worked from 1933-42 to preserve and protect America’s natural heritage.

This annual event:

* Educates Americans about critical environmental and natural resources issues and the need for shared stewardship of these valued, irreplaceable lands;
* Builds partnerships between the public sector and the local community based upon mutual interests in the enhancement and restoration of America’s public lands;
* Improves public lands for outdoor recreation, with volunteers assisting land managers in hands-on work.

Great Sand DunesWe are so lucky in Colorado to have an abundance of outstanding lands preserved for us to enjoy.  Our Parks need help, however, to keep them accessible and environmentally healthy. 

There are many special events and projects happening this day at places like Shelf Road, Castlewood Canyon, Curecanti, Eldorado Canyon, Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, and Roxborough State Park.  Volunteer projects to help maintain or build trails, bridges and fences, plant trees, and to restore archaelogical sites can be found listed here.

Colorado National MonumentSome special events will happen on September 27 as well.  At Colorado National Monument, you’ll have the opportunity to walk, run or cycle along a stretch of Rim Rock Drive while it is closed to motor traffic. 

Contact the visitor center at a National Park, National Monument, or State Park to find out if they have special plans for this day.

Annual Flower Trial Garden (Ft. Collins)

posted Saturday August 23, 2008

PansiesPeak flowering season:  May through October

As summer starts winding down, I’m finding myself gazing at the flowers in the gardens around here and realizing they won’t be around to enjoy in a few more months.  Maybe I should really get my color fix by heading to CSU’s Annual Flower Trial Garden while the colors are still vibrant!

Although the garden filled with Annuals (flowers that bloom during just one year) was established to allow for horticultural research and study, anyone who enjoys flowers can enjoy the display.  Some of my favorites — pansies — are planted in the fall to provide color over the winter months.  There is also a Perennial Trial Garden across the street in front of the Center for the Arts.  The gardens are open daily to the public, and are free to visit.

If you’re already planning next year’s garden for your own yard, be sure to read the “trial results” articles on the CSU website.  You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t in our unique Colorado climate.

Wildflowers near Blue Lakes (San Juan Mountains)I do have a confession to make.  I’ve yet to see a garden that rivals the incredible wildflower displays I’ve been seeing this summer while hiking in the San Juans.  Still, the flower season in the high country is short, so I’ll still enjoy our man-made flower gardens as well.

Free admission to Colorado State Parks (all over Colorado)

posted Sunday August 3, 2008

Heat WaveHot enough for you?  I hear you.  In celebration of Colorado Day, how about heading for one of our 42 State Parks on Monday, August 4, 2008 to cool down a bit.  Admission is FREE all day!

Here are some parks with cool, lovely water to play in and on (each allows at least one activity such as swimming, fishing, kayaking, boating, water skiing, etc.):

Arkansas Headwaters, Barr Lake, Bonny Lake,  Boyd Lake, Chatfield, Cherry Creek, Crawford, Eldorado Canyon, Eleven Mile, Golden Gate Canyon, Harvey Gap, Highline Lake, Jackson Lake, James M. Robb – Colorado River, John Martin Reservoir, Lake Pueblo, Lathrop, Lory, Mancos, Mueller, Navajo, North Sterling, Paonia, Pearl Lake, Ridgway, Rifle Falls, Rifle Gap, San Luis Lakes, Spinney Mountain, St. Vrain, Stagecoach, State Forest, Steamboat Lake, Sweitzer Lake, Sylvan Lake, Trinidad Lake, Vega, and Yampa RiverColorado mountain lake

Ah, that was refreshing!  Even if you aren’t into water-related activities, just head up to the high country where the temperatures are often 10° or more cooler than down around the mile-high mark.



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