Drone Laws in Colorado: Be Vigilant Using UAS!

This article provides a helpful guide to help Colorado residents and visitors understand the state's rules and regulations governing flying drones.
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Last updatedLast updated: July 11, 2022
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Colorado is a stunning state in America with lots of mountains, rivers, vibrant towns and cities, and of course, tons of space. This makes it a fantastic place to fly a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System), otherwise known as a drone.

If you want to know where to fly drones in Colorado and to be able to fly your device sensibly, safely, and without getting in trouble, it is important to understand the laws in this state that surround this popular activity.

Let’s take a closer look at the drone laws in Colorado:

Can You Fly Drones Legally Over Colorado?

Drone Laws in Colorado: Be Vigilant Using UAS!

Drones are restricted from taking off or landing in any of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s more than 350 state wildlife areas.

Drone use in Colorado state is governed by the FAA (Federal Aircraft Association). As for drone regulations, it is stated that drones are allowed to be flown in Colorado for domestic and commercial use. Still, it is strictly under the controls created by local laws (which are frequently updated). Here are the most current local laws regarding drone use in Colorado:

City of Boulder

Recreational drone use is not allowed in OSMP (Open Space and Mountain Parks) or any city-managed properties beyond specified areas. Special permit holders who have authorization can use drones in certain circumstances, such as surveying an area of land or finding somebody who is lost.

Village of Cherry Hills

You cannot fly drones over any public streets, walking trails, parks, buildings, or other city property. You also have to register your drone with the FAA and abide by their most current rules.

City of Denver

You cannot fly drones in Denver’s parks unless you are in a specially designated area, and that designated area allows your aircraft type to be flown. Special permits can be obtained for particular event recording with a drone.

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs drone laws dictate that you can fly your drone as long as you keep it within your line of sight (FPV does not count), within a 400-foot radius and/ or height; it must also not fly over people or from any moving vehicle. In any situation where there is a manned aircraft, it has the right of way. Lastly, the drone must not be flown over 100MPH.

Town of Telluride

You cannot fly over any privately owned properties or town properties without pre-authorization. Anywhere you do fly your drone legally, you must do so with respect and care for the people and wildlife in that area. You must also never fly a drone while you have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For example, if you wouldn’t drive a car, you should not fly a drone.

Colorado State Parks

You cannot fly a drone in any Colorado State park unless in a designated drone flying area such as Chatfield and Cherry Creek State parks. You can apply for special permits for drone use in these areas, but these are usually only given out for commercial, not recreational use.

Using Drones Around Wildlife in Colorado

Drone Laws in Colorado: Be Vigilant Using UAS!

Flying drones around animals can result in behavior changes and increased heart rates, which may indicate stress induced by the drone’s sound and/or visual stimulus.

Colorado is a wildlife haven, and safely irresponsible drone use can threaten the many animals that call this beautiful state home. Animals can be stressed and even die when disturbed by drones, causing a significant impact on the area’s ecology.

At present, you can’t actually take off or land a drone in any Colorado Parks and Wildlife wildlife areas (there are over 350), and the use is limited to specific areas where aircraft use is allowed. Even if you can legally use a drone in that park in a designated area, if you harass any animal with it, that act is illegal, and you can be fined anything from $100 to $125,000 for doing so. Your drone can also be seized irrespective of whether it is a drone under 500 dollars or one worth thousand.

Elsewhere, if you are one of the 85% of Americans Trusted Source America’s Wildlife Values and Related Conservation Information | Defenders of Wildlife The America’s Wildlife Values study draws on new and existing polling and analysis to describe our country’s attitudes and perspectives toward wildlife. defenders.org who have some interest in protecting wildlife as a resource or otherwise, it is important to avoid disturbing animals when using your drone. This includes when you’re using the drone for fishing or when you fly nearby to nesting sites, secluded habitats, and hard-to-reach areas only the drone can get to. You also should not use the drone for any use with hunting.

With a phenomenal drone like the Contixo Quadcopter, it is tempting to get shots where nobody else can. Still, it just isn’t worth doing so whilst damaging animals and ecological environments. Instead, drones like the Contixo can be used to ethically and legally capture phenomenal aerial shots, actively capturing and even promoting Colorado without putting any being in danger, which is a win-win all around.

General Drone Regulations in Colorado

Drone Laws in Colorado: Be Vigilant Using UAS!In Colorado, it is allowed to enjoy piloting any drone under 55 pounds recreationally as long as you follow the current drone laws set out by the FAA. Flying for this purpose is allowed in Colorado at present, but the FAA also requests you check your local jurisdiction to ensure you abide by local laws and restrictions.

There are also helpful organizations called CBO’s (Community Based Organisations) who are at present not officially recognized by all organizations, but the FAA can recognize them. This helps you feel reassured they have all the latest information and advice to use within your local area.

Federal Drone Laws in Colorado

Federal airspace laws are more of an authority than any general state drone laws, so they are essential to be aware of. If any local law goes against what the FAA advises regarding drone use, the FAA is likely to win.

The most important Federal drone law in this state is drone registration in Colorado. This law requests that you register your drone with the FAA Trusted Source How to Register Your Drone | FAA Register your drone at FAA DroneZone either under part 107 or the Exception for Recreational Flyers. www.faa.gov , firmly fixing the registration number onto the drone itself before you fly it. This is only for drones over 0,55 pounds, which can be registered under Part 107 for recreational purposes and commercial operations under the 107 guidelines. Drones under 0,55 pounds fall under the Exception for Recreational Flyers section, Trusted Source Recreational Flyers & Modeler Community - Based Organizations | FAA The rule for operating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones under 55 pounds in the National Airspace System (NAS) is 14 CFR Part 107, referred to as the Small UAS Rule. www.faa.gov and they can be flown recreationally but cannot be flown under part 107 guidelines. Those flying under Exception for Recreational Flyers rules must abide by the rules in that section exclusively.

It is also law to be able to show your certificate of registration to any enforcement officer if asked. You can keep the paper certificate in your vehicle or have an electronic copy accessible even in areas without internet access (a screenshot, perhaps).

When you register with the FAA, you will need to supply your:

  • Name
  • Current address
  • Serial number, make, and model of each drone you want to register to fly
  • Email address

The great news is that you only need one registration per drone owner. As long as all your drones are registered, they can all have the same registration number affixed to them.

By abiding by the FAA’s registration rules and local rules, you are in a great position to safely and legally fly your drone.

Helpful Notes for Operating UAS in Colorado

If you want to catch incredible aerial shots with a drone in Colorado, the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is a great choice. It lets you capture amazing photos with a 2 x optical zoom whilst also respecting local laws, wildlife, and people wherever you choose to safely and legally fly your drone.

Suppose you do choose to fly your drone illegally in any way. In that case, it is essential to understand that Colorado state, local, and federal laws will not simply accept your behavior or give you a verbal warning. In most cases, those who have been caught illegally flying drones, especially putting people or animals in danger, have been fined heavily and had their devices seized.

For full respect to the state and to keep your bank balance and drone in great shape, it makes sense to follow local and FAA rules to the letter, regularly checking in on the latest law changes as they are often amended and improved to keep up with drone technology.

Final Thoughts

Flying a drone is becoming increasingly exciting and easy with amazing technology pushing the aircraft forward in their range, flight times, maneuverability, and more. You can get an incredible drone for under 100 dollars and mind-blowing devices when you stretch your budget further.

For the safety of everyone, as drones become more integrated into our recreational and commercial industries, laws around flying them will continue to be made and enforced, much like those in Colorado.

To fly your drone safely, responsibly, and legally. It is important to follow drone laws in Colorado whenever you’re in the state for the best possible flight experience that comes without the cost of a fine, drone confiscation, or worse, the endangerment of wildlife or human life.

References

1.
America’s Wildlife Values and Related Conservation Information | Defenders of Wildlife
The America’s Wildlife Values study draws on new and existing polling and analysis to describe our country’s attitudes and perspectives toward wildlife.
2.
How to Register Your Drone | FAA
Register your drone at FAA DroneZone either under part 107 or the Exception for Recreational Flyers.
3.
Recreational Flyers & Modeler Community - Based Organizations | FAA
The rule for operating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones under 55 pounds in the National Airspace System (NAS) is 14 CFR Part 107, referred to as the Small UAS Rule.
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