1. Assume we all love to get stoned.
I get it, Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana in 2012. Clearly a vast majority of us believe weed to be on the same level as alcohol (in that is should be legal for those 21+ to consume), but that doesn’t mean we all do it. So when meeting a local, or chatting with your waiter, your cashier, etc, don’t immediately begin the conversation with a pot reference, or make jokes about how we’re all getting stoned, or inquire about the best pot stores. Just be cool, bro.
2. Blatantly disregard the weed laws.
Just because you can get stoned here doesn’t mean you get to blaze up in the middle of the restaurant, on the street, etc. I’m not being a downer — if you want to partake, by all means — but do so with tact. Smoking publicly, and obviously flaunting your consumption of pot is on the same level as sneaking wine coolers at your parent’s parties when you were underage.
3. Destroying your campsite, and assuming someone else will clean it up.
This seems like common knowledge, but given the amount of litter and destruction left behind in the backcountry, clearly common sense isn’t that common. If you take your entire family, and your crew of buddies camping, do not leave your shit-kickin, whiskey-drinkin, bigger than the ring-bonfire, backwoods party for someone else to find. Breaking glass, building giant fires & leaving the remnants of your camp-debauchery (even the food stuff you think the squirrels will eat), is not, in any way, acceptable use of the backcountry. If you bring it in, you pack it up and you bring it out of the backcountry. Period. No you may not leave your vodka-infused watermelon rind for some lucky chipmunk to eat. No you may not get wasted and leave glass shards in the dirt because you tried to open your beer bottle with your teeth. No you may not build a huge pallet bonfire, thus torching the ground and leaving a huge scar — or worse, starting a forest fire that you deserve to be lawfully punished for. Have a little respect for the natural world, the folks who call these areas home, and clean up after yourself like big-kids do — I don’t care how hung over you are.
4. Stop in the middle of the road to view scenery.
No matter the vibrancy of the autumn leaves, the majesty of that herd of elk, or the cuteness overload of that #adorbs baby bear — you are not permitted to endanger yourself and other drivers by stopping in the middle of road to snap an Instagram pic. I’m not sure what happens, but it seems that common driving knowledge clicks off for visitors when they hit the highway. I get it, you’re visiting Colorado because of the impeccable scenery, the “laid back” vibe and the appreciation locals have for their surroundings. I want you to be here and get a taste of the good life, see the beauty of the world and unwind a little. Just remember: Ain’t nobody got time to drive behind you going 35 mph on the highway while you take a panorama shot — you’re making me late for work. Secondly, there are already a myriad of obstacles for drivers in Colorado — inclement weather, wild animals, road bikers etc. Please don’t add another roadblock by hopping out of your car to ogle the autumn leaves on the side of the road. There are a large number of beautiful areas off the pavement where you can peep leaves and snap selfies — please don’t do it on the major thoroughfares.
5. Complain about the weather.
If it’s snowing in the winter, or raining in the summer, just let it go. Folks come to the mountains for snowy mountains to ski on, and green forests to hike through. Both of those require inclement weather from time to time to be at their peak conditions — blizzards in the winter, and thunderstorms in the summer. Colorado is known for crazy weather patterns. If you’re here to enjoy our ‘purple-mountains-majesty’ you’re going to have to put up with snowstorms and rain, might as well embrace the spontaneity of it and move on.
In general, Coloradans are laid-back, happy and extremely friendly people. Just don’t make sweeping judgments about the folks here (pro-traveler tip #1), respect and love the natural world and leave it better than you found it, and have some common sense — and you’ll be embraced.