Skip to main content
Couple hiking through pristine Colorado wilderness
View more

Do Colorado Right

Explore tips and recommendations for exploring Colorado’s natural landscape sustainably

From sparkling lakes to winding hiking trails in the towering Rocky Mountains, Colorado is a state known for its natural wonders. With a focus on maintaining and preserving Colorado’s beauty, the Care for Colorado Principles offers the following tips for travelers to keep in mind while visiting.


Know Before You Go

Maximizing your connection to Colorado’s spectacular landscape and minimizing downtime should be any traveler’s priority while visiting Colorado. When planning a trip, focus on the less-visited areas and select traveling during the off-season (less popular times to travel). This will also help state and federal agencies, cities and counties maintain the natural beauty of Colorado. As you plan your trip, keep in mind the seasonal conditions. Snowstorms are common through late spring, which can lead to road and trail closures.

Stay on Trails

There are 39,000 marked trails in Colorado as well as 13,000 designated campsites. Visitors are recommended to stick to these areas and not wander off the beaten path. Setting up camp at least 200 feet (60 meters) from lakes, rivers and streams also helps to ensure that natural areas remain undisturbed. To limit waste during your trip, bring reusable water bottles and tumblers. Sturdy footwear is also encouraged due to melting snow, which can leave trails and vegetation susceptible to damage. Walk toward the middle of the trails in these conditions to limit erosion and other damage to pathways and trailside plants.

Observe, Don’t Interact

Maintaining the natural integrity of Colorado’s wilderness is essential to its preservation for years to come. As you explore, avoid touching the plants, rocks and historical artifacts you come across. Colorado is home to more than 750 species of wildflowers, perfect for photo ops but not for picking. Please resist the urge to disturb the colorful blooms so future visitors can enjoy them as well. The rule of the wilderness is to treat nature with respect – avoid carving trees or cutting down any plants. And remember, always pick up your trash and never leave any food or waste behind.

Take Care with Fire

Due to Colorado’s low humidity, the dry weather can create dangerous conditions for fires. It’s important to always be aware of the local fire restrictions. Try to keep your campfires small and manageable; this will lower the risk of sparking a wildfire. Smokers should be especially careful when putting out their cigarettes; do not leave butts behind and make sure they are completely put out.

Don’t Disturb the Wildlife

During the spring, local wildlife can be very active as species come out of hibernation and nesting takes place. It’s vital to not interact with the local animals. Colorado is home to tens of thousands of creatures; please do not approach them or feed them. If you’re traveling with animals, please keep them on dog-friendly trails and leashed. The best approach is always admiring wildlife from a distance.

Important Reminders

  • While out in nature, speak softly and silence your cell phone. You never know what wildlife could be nesting, resting or lurking.
  • Be considerate of passing hikers and bikers on the trails.
  • Listen to nature, not music. Colorado is a peaceful place – soak it all in!