Five Things to Do in Colorado Before Summer Ends

things to do in Colorado before summer ends horseback riding fruita


Not to be a downer, but…we’re officially 60 days out from Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer. If you’re like me, you like to pack your summer full of fun and adventure. With that in mind, here are five great things to do in Colorado before summer ends. If you try any of these — or if you have others to suggest — leave a comment below!

Rimrock Rodeo (Fruita)

Tuesday evenings in summer
4:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

Every Tuesday evening throughout the summer, Fruita holds the Rimrock Rodeo, with cowboys and cowgirls competing in events like bull riding, roping,  barrel racing, mutton bustin’ and more. Events kick off at 4:30, with a showcase of 10 riders. Cheer for the riders in the Mutton Bustin’ at 7:00, then catch the Professional Rodeo Riders “Grand Entry” event starting at 7:30.

Moffat County Balloon Festival (Craig)

August 4 from 6:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
August 5 from 6:30 a.m.-noon

Held August 4-5 this year, the Moffat County Balloon Festival in Craig is much more than just hot air balloons! This fun summer event also features:

  • 5K run/walk
  • “Colorado Cruisers” car show
  • Softball tournament
  • Rubber duck race benefitting Northwest Colorado Health hospice
  • Adventure zone with inflatables
  • Beer garden
  • Food and craft vendors
  • Live music

Crested Butte Food and Wine Festival (Crested Butte)

July 25-29 (times vary each day)

The Crested Butte Food and Wine Festival is the perfect excuse to visit the scenic and captivating Crested Butte area this summer. Featuring a selection of seminars, fine dining Winemaker dinners, and more, there is something for everyone. The signature event, the Grand Tasting, presents over 500 select wines from 25 wineries and distributors, food demonstrations, and more.

Shrine Pass (Vail)

Open from June 21 until closed by the Forest Service

This 2.1-mile USDA Forest Service dirt road starts at Vail Pass and ends at the town of Redcliff. It can be traveled in either direction in summer, but for mountain biking it is much easier starting at Vail Pass. This dirt road is passable by all but the lowest passenger cars and is relatively easy for mountain bikers (starting elevation 11,089 ft; ending elevation 11,747; gain of 645 ft.). It offers views of Mount of the Holy Cross in the Sawatch Range, access to the Shrine Mountain Trail, and access to the short, accessible trail to “Julia’s Deck.”

Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park (Cortez)

Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park near Cortez is only open to the public through a unique program in which Ute guides navigate visitors into the wilderness that abuts Mesa Verde National Park’s southern boundary. This land was home to Ancestral Puebloans 1,000 years ago, who built cliff dwellings and irrigated and farmed the land. With only 1,300 visitors per year, Ute Mountain is undeveloped and quiet. Hike narrow trails and climb steep ladders onto high ledges — and feel like you have the place to yourself.


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