Our communities love sharing their wealth of natural beauty and outdoor experiences with you, which is why you’ll find us eager to recommend an awesome trail or our favorite place to enjoy Pueblo green chiles.
All we ask is that you have an amazing time while showing our lands and people plenty of love, kindness and respect; we promise to pay it back tenfold.
You can do this by being a responsible traveler and not exposing yourself or others to unnecessary health or safety risks. Here are some ways to be conscientious and caring on your adventures, while ensuring you make the most out of every second of your Colorado vacation.
1. Space: Keep a Ski’s Length
Distance makes the heart grow fonder when you’re using it to help everyone stay healthy and well. Keep about a ski’s length (6 feet) between you and other people to prevent spreading germs — or catching them yourself. If you need to give somebody a warm welcome or props for bagging a thirteener, an air hug or air five does the trick nicely.
2. Mask: Cover Up
Colorado’s Wild West cowboys have been making covered faces look good since 1876, so follow their lead. Currently, there’s a statewide mandatory mask order in all public indoor spaces. Always keep a bandana, mask, fly-fishing buff or ski gaiter in your pocket so you can wear it if you’re out in public or around others. (Bonus: Bandanas help keep trail dust at bay and those gaiters keep your face nice and warm in winter.)
3. Clean: Practice Clean Habits
Colorado is so into cleanliness we have a town named Hygiene. You can keep things clean with cashless payment or touchless water-bottle refilling stations. And do your best to avoid touching things others may have come into contact with, like counters, railings and gas pumps. Regularly use hand sanitizer and wash your hands for 20 seconds — one chorus of “Rocky Mountain High” will get you there.
4. Stay: Remain at Home When You’re Sick
Feeling sick? Stay put. Not exposing others to germs can make a huge difference in stopping the spread of illness in our communities. We all thank you and will be eagerly waiting to welcome you back with air fives and air hugs once you’re well again.
5. Know: Look Before You Leave
Weather, health concerns and other natural events can all affect how places in Colorado are able to welcome visitors. Check websites or social media before you leave so you’re aware of the latest travel advice and are following local guidelines. (COTrip.org is particularly helpful for travel warnings and winter pass-closure alerts.) This includes restroom closures in parks or natural areas. It’s also smart to carry TP, hand sanitizer and towels with you on your journeys. And make sure you know what to do when answering the call of nature on a trail.
Have a Backup Plan
It’s a good idea to have a Plan B in your pocket just in case your ideal destination isn’t able to welcome visitors. Likewise, you might roll into a trailhead parking lot and find it’s packed. Use resources like AllTrails, COTREX and Google reviews to curate a list of less-trafficked trails and locations you’d like to explore. A little preparation can go a long way in making sure you get the most out of those coveted vacation days.
Keep a Conscientious Mindset
Single file is the way to go when hiking down singletrack. To politely let people pass, step aside on a durable surface, like a rock or bare spot, to help prevent erosion while giving fellow hikers 6 feet of space. Also, cover your nose and mouth and wave hello! You’ll find our trails are packed with friendly folk.
At times when emergency professionals might be especially busy — like during the COVID-19 pandemic — the Colorado Search and Rescue Association asks that you kindly hold off on high-risk outdoor activities, such as backpacking, backcountry skiing and peak bagging. Colorado plans on being here for a long time, so save those for future adventures. (Find out how to recreate responsibly in our backcountry and sign the Colorado Winter Backcountry Pledge.)
© 1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org