Colorado Mud Season Vacations: Undiscovered Gold

If you want to take advantage of discount accommodations in Colorado mountain towns like Vail, Aspen or Steamboat in mid-April through early June, a time that locals refer to as mud season, there’s a few things you should know.

First of all, don’t let the name ‘mud season’ discourage you.  The marvel of mud season is often overlooked, wedged as it is between the more glamorous seasons of skiing and whitewater rafting. Free of heavy tourist traffic and resplendent with migratory birds and wildlife,

Colorado Mud Season

mud season is like a nugget of gold panned from the creek: you have to get past the muddy exterior to recognize the treasure within.

When exactly is mud season? The timing and length of mud season changes every year. In ski towns, mud season officially begins the day after the ski area closes, a date which varies from town to town but usually lands somewhere in the first three weeks of April. The length of mud season depends on two factors: the amount of snowpack and spring temperatures.

What is there to do during Mud Season? Ski towns can look like ghost towns this time of year when many of the locals head to the beach.  But even though many of the restaurants and shops are closed, there’s many ways to stay entertained. Here’s a few of our favorites.

Wildlife Viewing:  Elk, moose, deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, bear, fox, wild turkey, eagles, hawks and other migratory birds are all on the move this time of year.  If you find yourself in the Vail Valley, our Wildlife-Viewing Jeep Tours can feel much like a North American safari with families of moose and herds of elk numbering 400-500 in our exclusive special-use permitted areas of Brush Creek and Radium State Wildlife Area.

Colorado Mud Season

Depending on your timing, you might also catch the aspen leaves unfurling and some of the early-rising wildflowers.

Colorado Wildflowers

Hiking/Snowshoeing. If you like to hike, bring some light-weight snowshoes in a backpack so when you hit snow level on the hiking trails you can strap on your snowshoes and keep going.

Hot springing: There are over thirty hot springs in Colorado so you can plan a mud season vacation that consists primarily of hopping from one hot spring resort to another. Our favorite is Glenwood Springs which boasts the world’s largest hot springs pool; a fascinating history; and has three different hot springs resorts.

Mud season is a great excuse to unplug, relax and not do much at all.

Colorado Lodging Packages

How often do you come home from an itinerary-packed holiday, somewhat exhausted and in need of a vacation? Let the slower pace of mud season lure you into a slower pace with yourself. A spring snowstorm is a great time to curl up with a novel, play board games, watch a movie or take a nap.

When you return home feeling rested and relaxed, you’ll know that you’ve mined some of Colorado’s mud season gold.



Timberline Tours is the Vail-area’s premier whitewater rafting and backcountry jeep tours outfitter, also offering stand up paddle board (SUP) and duckie river trips on Colorado’s Eagle, Colorado, and Arkansas Rivers. All of our guided trips are open to Vail, Colorado visitors, locals, families, and corporate groups.

To book your Vail, Colorado adventure, call Timberline Tours at (970) 476-1414, or email us at