Garfield County has one of the nicest climates in the western United States. Like any mountain climate, occasional seasonal extremes occur, but they are moderated by a majority of consistently pleasant weather. A sunshine index for Glenwood Springs shows the city is sunny 71 percent of the time. Mean January temperatures are in the low-to-mid 20s; July temperatures are in the low-to-mid 70s.
Annual average precipitation is about 18 inches, keeping things green in spring and summer and making things white in the winter. Year-round temperature averages are offset by occasional deep freezes (-38 in Jan. 1913) and hot spikes (102 in July 1989), but the climate is overall moderate.
And, as the saying goes in Colorado, if you don't like the weather â€“ wait a minute and it will change.
Radiating out beyond Glenwood Springs across Garfield County's diverse mountain and desert topography, the climate is determined by elevation and aspect. In the lower reaches of the Grand Valley, where summer highs can hit 100, mild winters are often conducive to longer golf seasons than surrounding areas. In the high country at Ski Sunlight, or on the lofty plateaus of the Flat Tops, subzero temperatures and deep winter snowpacks yield in summer to cool breezes, lush wildflower meadows and rushing streams.
Winter blizzards occur occasionally as cold fronts move in, typically from the west. Thunderstorms occur most summer afternoons, sometimes with hail, pounding rain and occasional washouts in creeks and drainages. Rarely, however, do such storms linger, usually clearing to bright sunshine once they pass.
The sun in Garfield County delivers potent rays, summer and winter, through thin, clear mountain air, which is the prime reason solar energy is successfully harnessed in the county as a renewable energy source. A changeable climate makes it advisable to be prepared for sudden weather changes, particularly at higher elevations where storms may come up fast and furious. It is not unheard of to have measurable snowfalls above 11,000 feet during any summer month. Contrarily, January thaws can make mid-winter feel like spring.
Below is a weather history chart for Glenwood Springs. While it may not apply specifically to all regions of the county, it offers a snapshot of climate in the heart of Garfield County. Five-day regional forecasts are provided by a designated radio weather station at 162.5 FM.