By Eli Wallace

The Rocky Mountains host some of the most fantastic, crazy festivals in the nation every year; often they’re intimate, usually they’re gorgeous, and always they’re a ton of fun. With hundreds of choices, it’s important to plan ahead of time.

If you’re a hobbyist of any stripe–from photography to mushroom-hunting, there’s probably a festival out there for you. Here’s a few of our suggestions for a fun-filled, sun-soaked summer. In chronological order:

1. Mountainfilm in Telluride – May 22 – 25

Equal parts social change documentaries and high-adrenaline adventure films, Mountainfilm in Telluride offers a great kickoff to the summer during the still-blustery high mountain May. Although the schedule hasn’t yet been released, past festivals have screened stunning, motivating documentaries like Chasing Ice and white-knuckle, hair-raising shorts like the late, great J. P. Auclair’s All.I.Can and Honnold 3.0 (about freeclimber Alex Honnold doing the triple crown at Yosemite in less than a day.

JP Auclair Street Segment (from All.I.Can.) from Sherpas Cinema on Vimeo.


Purchase tickets here.

2. Aspen Ideas Festival – June 25 – July 4


Speakers galore reign at this meeting of the minds, which attracts world leaders in a variety of fields. Hosted by the Aspen Institute in partnership with The Atlantic, the festival will retain its multidisciplinary approach while putting a spotlight this year on health.

Want a titillating taste of some of the knowledge that’ll be passed around? Here’s a bite—”The Science of the Possible” focuses on humanity’s collective capacity, wisdom and determination to bring clean water to the world’s population, provide better health care to more people at a lower cost, advance knowledge of behavioral health and defeat malignancies with medicine. What are the restraints of science? How do we push them?

The time to register is now, before it’s too late! Visit their site here.


3. Rockygrass in Lyons, CO – July 24 – July 26, 2015

Planet Bluegrass pulls out all the stops in their folksy, bluegrass-fueled festivals, and this year is no exception. Sam Bush, Peter Rowan, Jerry Douglas, Del McCoury, Sara Watkins, and The Infamous Stringdusters pepper this year’s lineup, packed with Colorado Newgrass legends. Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers will be headlining their first show on Sunday.

Tickets are currently sold out, but I guarantee that, with a little elbow grease, you can grab some outside the gates.

4. Steamboat Wine Festival – August 5 – 9


Steamboat’s bacchanal of wine and food features over 500 wines and tastings from the best local restaurants, and benefits Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports (STARS). The Steamboat Wine Festival has already raised over a quarter million dollars for STARS, which supports a range of athletes with disabilities, from wheelchair-bound children to war vets and Special Olympic skiers.

Tasting options include the signature Toast of Steamboat (over 20 eating-spots and 500 wines, set to live music; craft beer also available) and the Farm to Barn Wine Dinner, which features nationally acclaimed chefs Kate Rench, Jason Salisbury, and Brian Vaughn.  The six course dinner at Farm to Barn includes wine pairing by Master Sommeliers.

Learn more about the festivities and buy tickets here.

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