Colorado is one of the most impressive and scenic parts of the United States and makes a great place to visit on vacation.
It’s also home to some interesting airports and aviation attractions which are worth a visit.
Colorado’s Main Airports
Denver International Airport is the principal hub in Colorado.
Located east of the city, it replaced the old Stapleton Airport in 1995 and covers an incredible 53 square miles.
Today it is an important hub for United Airlines, as well as Frontier Airlines and Southwest Airlines. However, it’s also served by many international carriers from Europe in particular.
The airport’s vast layout, with six runways in various directions, makes it difficult to spot at. However, there are a few locations which you can visit if you have a car. These include Valley Head St and 114th Avenue.
Colorado Springs Airport
The second-busiest passenger airport in Colorado. It is just over an hour’s drive south of Denver. It has three runways, which it shares with Peterson Air Force Base on the north side of the site. The passenger terminal is to the south, between the parallel runways.
Airlines include Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta, United, and the dominant carrier Frontier Airlines. FedEx Express fly in cargo and use facilities on the western side of the airport, among the FBOs and general aviation parking areas. Aviation Way runs down this side with some views through the fence as you progress. At its northern end is the National Museum of World War II Aviation, which has some views of the airport and military base from its car park.
Popular with the rich and famous and consequently a hub for executive aircraft. Some airliner traffic in the form of regional turboprops and jets connect Aspen to Atlanta, Denver and Los Angeles, but otherwise it’s fairly quiet in this respect apart from a surge in seasonal flights to other destinations during the winter ski period. The airport has a single runway nestled high in the Rockies alongside steep mountains, making it a real challenge for pilots. A walk or drive along Airport Rd, which passes the terminal entrance, should reveal most of the parked bizjets and any other airliners. Light aircraft and another executive ramp are not as easy to see at the very north end of the airport.
Colorado’s Secondary Airports
Denver Centennial Airport
Located 15 miles south-east of Denver itself, this is the city’s main reliever airport which handles corporate, air taxi, flight training and some limited scheduled services.
Centennial has three runways. The terminal, most of the general aviation hangarage and flight training companies are along the north-eastern side, whilst to the south is the main FBO ramp.
Just north of the terminal and its parking area is a fence with views across part of the aircraft parking ramp. Photographs are possible, and you can see movements on the largest runway beyond. The bar inside the terminal also has great views.
Denver Front Range Airport
The primary general aviation airport for the Denver area, situated 5 miles south of the international airport. It has two runways and a selection of based flying clubs and resident aircraft.
Also known now as Colorado Air and Space Port.
There is a restaurant in the main building with views of the ramp.
Eagle County Regional
Serving the city and winter resort of Vail in the heart of the Rockies. The only regular airline service at Eagle County is with United Express from Denver. However, during the busy winter season you can see Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta and more United services, usually with larger aircraft. The airport is also popular with corporate aircraft users, which use extensive parking areas east of the main terminal.
On the north side of the single runway is a small Colorado Air National Guard base with Chinook helicopters.
The location of the airport within a valley means aircraft nearly always land on runway 25, and often make a sharp turn after departure.
There are some views of the biz jets from Cooley Mesa Rd and the terminal car park. The car park of the Costco superstore to the east of the airport also sits directly underneath the final approach, but is no good for photographs.
Montrose is served by American Airlines and United Airlines, with additional seasonal services by Allegiant Air, American, Delta and United. It has two runways and a small passenger terminal. To its south are FBOs and a large apron for general aviation, which is popular here. There are additional light aircraft areas to the north.
Airport Rd passes all of the small hangars and ramps. It has some views through the fence of aircraft parked outside. The passenger ramp is visible from the car park.
Telluride is North America’s highest commercial airport, situated at 9,078ft up on a plateau outside the mountain ski resort town.
It has a single runway and airline service from Great Lakes Airlines. You’ll also usually see a few light aircraft and corporate aircraft parked up on the small ramp, visible from the car park.
Airport Spotting Guides USA
For more information on spotting in Colorado, as well as over 400 other airports across all 50 states, get your copy of our book Airport Spotting Guides USA.
This guide is perfect for planning your trips, as well as taking on the road with you. It includes maps, descriptions of spotting locations and the aircraft you’ll see, as well as tips on spotting hotels and aviation museum to visit.
Main photo (c) Bryan Siders