The Sustainable Travel Guide to Colorado’s Best Summer Adventures


Although Colorado is an amazing place to adventure year-round, the entire state comes to life in the summertime. Whether you’re unplugging in the wilderness, relaxing in a quaint mountain town, or soaking in vibrant urban cultures, Colorado is the perfect place for summer fun. Eco-conscious communities and businesses across the state make it easy to experience all Colorado has to offer while minimizing your impact. Read on to learn about low-impact ways to explore the Centennial State.

Adventure on the Path Less Traveled

Take a look at any outdoor-lover’s bucket list, and you’re likely to find classic Colorado stops at the top of their agenda. The most-visited parks are popular for a reason, but nothing beats practically having the whole place to yourself when you visit Colorado’s lesser-known public lands. From volcanic cliffs and rushing rivers to rust-red desert canyons and sprawling grasslands, there’s no shortage of places you probably haven’t heard of but will absolutely want to see in Colorado. Whether you explore miles of hiking trails or paddle scenic waterways, venturing off the beaten path is one of the best ways to minimize your impact on public lands.

Stay at Eco-Friendly Lodging

Whatever your style, Colorado has sustainable lodging options that range from luxury resorts and charming bed and breakfasts to backcountry huts and hands-on dude ranches and everything in between. You’ll find green amenities, such as solar-powered lighting and heat, electric transport shuttles, EV charging stations, farm-to-table or vegan-forward dining options, environmentally-friendly water usage, and plastic-free initiatives. Many properties take an active role in managing acres of protected land and are working toward rehabilitating land that was once damaged by overgrazing.

Visit Colorado’s Carbon Neutral Cities

Colorado’s outdoor recreation gets a lot of attention, but there are so many unique cities to explore here, too. Aspen and Glenwood Springs—two Colorado cities that are 100% powered by renewable energy—are great picks for eco-minded travelers. Aspen is powered by hydroelectricity, wind, and geothermal heat while Glenwood Springs uses wind and hydroelectricity. These towns are also home to green businesses and environmentally-focused community initiatives, including planting trees.

Tip: If you’re planning to hop between cities and small towns, Colorado’s system of ev-friendly scenic and historic byways makes road-tripping in an electric vehicle picturesque and easy.

Harvest & Gather Local Summer Delicacies

When the sun is out in Colorado, local produce is abundant. Roadside farm stands and farmers’ markets are stocked with fresh fruits, vegetables, and other treats—all locally grown or made from local ingredients. For a hands-on experience, head to the orchards in Palisade to pick your own famous Palisade peaches, or take a foraging class to learn about wild sources of berries, mushrooms, and other forest delicacies. Of course, you can also enjoy farm-fresh food at one of Colorado’s many farm-to-table restaurants.

Drink Sustainably (and Responsibly)

The craft distillery and brewery scene in Colorado is leveling up when it comes to sustainability. Leaders in the industry are shifting to greener practices, including wind and solar powered facilities, water-saving filtration systems, can and bottle recycling, and zero-waste production. Colorado is also home to the first nationally distributed, carbon neutral beer—New Belgium Brewing’s Fat Tire Amber Ale. Many distilleries and breweries are also partnering with local farmers to turn locally grown produce—fruits from Palisade, Pueblo-grown peppers, and a variety of local grains and hops—into unique spirits and beers that bring the flavors of Colorado to life.