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Drone Laws in Colorado (Everything You Need To Know in 2022)

Updated in 2022 by Paul Posea
colorado drone laws
height flight limit 1

400ft Max Height

cant fly over crowds of people 1

Under 100 MPH

plane icon white 1 1

Avoid airports

line of sight law 1

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.

Can I Fly a Drone in Colorado?

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 Drone Laws in Colorado

Colorado
Colorado

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

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).

Commercial Flying

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.

The General Federal Laws in Colorado

Below are the federal drone laws in Colorado that you’ll have to keep in mind:

  • Do not fly higher than 400ft
  • Do not fly in uncontrolled airspace without a permit (read up more on that here)
  • Always maintain visual line of sight
  • Never interfere with manned aircrafts
  • Do not fly over crowds of people
  • Your drone must be registered with the FAA on the FAADroneZone website.
  • Your maximum drone speed must not exceed 100mph
  • Your maximum drone weight must be lower than 55lbs, at takeoff.
  • You cannot fly from a moving vehicle.

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 Drone Laws in Colorado

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.

Colorado State Parks Regulations

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.

Wildlife Drone Regulations

It is absolutely prohibited to use drones to aid in hunting or talking wildlife. That includes scouting, detecting and looking for wildlife using drones.

Drones When It Comes to Emergency Situations

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. 

Local Drone Laws in Colorado

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:

City of Boulder

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.

City of Lakewood

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.

City of Aurora

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.

Village of Cherry Hills

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).

Town of Telluride

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.

City of Denver

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.

What Happens if You Break the Drone Laws in Colorado?

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.

author-paul-posea-picture
Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.
paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.

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