400ft Max Height
Under 100 MPH
Only line of sight
Colorado is home to breathtaking sights, if you want to fly your drone legally there and take shots like the picture above, there are rules and regulations that you must follow and that we’ll go over in this article.
That’s the obligatory question that we must answer before we move on. And I got good news for you, drones are allowed in Colorado for recreational and commercial uses!
They’re however regulated by a myriad of laws and regulations. There are three types of drone laws in Colorado which we’ll go over in this article.
Starting with the first and general type of laws; federal drone laws.
Federal laws are laws created by the federal government, and that apply to every US state, including Colorado.
I have already done an in-depth article about the general drone laws in the US, which you can find here. But I’ll brush up on them in this section.
In the US, there are two types of drone flying. Recreational and commercial:
Recreational flying is any flying that is done as a hobby (you don’t get paid for it). All you have to do to fly your drone recreationally is pass the TRUST test.
You can pass it for FREE from an official test administrator. Beware of anyone who tries to charge you for it. The FAA requires the test to be free (my personal recommendation are Uavcoach, they’re an FAA approved test provider).
In order to fly commercially, i.e receive money from your drone activities, you’ll have to study for and pass the 107 test. I have done a complete guide on that test here.
There are also various other conditions that you need to fulfill. You can check them here.
Below are the federal drone laws in Colorado that you’ll have to keep in mind:
I invite you to read up more on that in my US drone laws article, where I go over airspace classifications and various other things related to drone regulations.
State laws are laws that were created by Colorado’s legislators and that apply only to Colorado. We’ll go over each one of them in this section.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation there are only three state-wide drone laws in Colorado that I could find.
It’s prohibited to operate drones over state parks in Colorado, except in some designated areas like Cherry Creek State Park and Chatfield State Park in their model airfields.
You can still request a flying permit from local authorities though, whether you get it or not will largely depend on what you need it for.
Read up more on that law here.
It is absolutely prohibited to use drones to aid in hunting or talking wildlife. That includes scouting, detecting and looking for wildlife using drones.
Although this probably has nothing to do with you personally, I’m including this other drone law in Colorado that I found.
This law mandates that the Center of Excellence within the Department of Public Safety perform a study to identify ways to integrate drones within local and state government functions relating to firefighting, search and rescue, accident reconstruction, crime scene documentation, emergency management, and emergencies involving significant property loss, injury or death.
It also requires that there are drone pilots trained and at least one of them deployed to fire hazard situations.
These local drone laws are laws that only apply to certain cities or regions within the state of Colorado. They’re created and enforced by the local authorities.
I’ve found 6 cities in Colorado that have extra drone laws, they’re as follows:
Boulder’s ordinance prohibits the operation of a drone within any OSMP park or managed property without a special permit. You can find more on how to get a permit here.
You can’t take-off or land drones in the city of lakewood. In other words, drones are banned here.
Read up more from the official source.
In this city, you can’t take-off or land your drone in any city park without authorization from the director of parks of the Recreation and Open Space department.
You can read more here.
This ordinance also prohibits drones from flying over city property, including public streets, trails, parks, and public buildings. You can basically only fly your drone on the outskirts of the village, or above your own property.
You also need to be registered with the FAA (I spoke on that in the first section of this article).
You can’t fly your drone under substance use (alcohol, marijuana, etc…). You also need permission from the private landowner or the town hall before flying your drone over public or private owned property.
The Denver department of Parks and recreation bans the flight of drones over a state owned park or public facility. Exceptions can be made if the executive director of the DPR gives you permission to do so.
You can find more on that here.
Fines are up to the enforcement division, but the FAA rarely goes for the maximum. In the case of an accidental first-offense, the FAA tends to require a temporary suspension of their UAS Airman certificate and remedial training.
Just keep in mind that most drone rules are just common sense and fly safely.