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Colorado’s Time Zone: Mountain Standard Explained (2024)

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What time zone does Colorado useYou’re on Mountain Time in Colorado, where the sun both rises and sets later than usual this time of year. As part of the Mountain Time Zone, Colorado currently observes Mountain Daylight Time—also known as MDT.

This gives Coloradans more daylight in the warm summer evenings but shifts sunrise and sunset an hour later.

In November, Mountain Standard Time returns when Daylight Saving Time ends. The time zone itself doesn’t change, just what we call it. The earlier winter sunrises and sunsets of Mountain Standard Time will come back into effect—the perfect seasonal change for skiers eager to hit the slopes at first light.

Key Takeaways

  • Colorado currently uses Mountain Daylight Time (MDT), which is UTC-6 during daylight saving time.
  • Colorado will transition to Mountain Standard Time (MST) on November 5.
  • Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday in March. Its purpose is to conserve energy by aligning with peak daylight hours.
  • Denver International Airport and Colorado Springs Airport follow Mountain Time.

Colorado’s General Time Zone

You’re in the Mountain Time zone, buddy! Colorado’s in the Mountain Time zone, which is commonly abbreviated MT. This time zone has a UTC offset of -7 hours during standard time and -6 hours during daylight saving time.

The transition to daylight saving time occurs on the second Sunday in March each year, when clocks spring forward 1 hour at 2 AM local time. The transition back to standard time takes place on the first Sunday in November, when clocks fall back 1 hour at 2 AM.

Right now, with daylight saving time in effect, it’s 9:55 AM in Colorado. Meanwhile, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the time’s 8:55 AM, as that city’s in the Mountain Time zone as well. So the entire Mountain Time zone, including Colorado and New Mexico, shares the same time zone at the moment.

Mountain Daylight Time Currently Used

Mountain Daylight Time Currently Used
Okay, today ya see that clock show Mountain Daylight Time. Coloradans set their clocks and phones to this time zone during the warmer months. Called MDT, it matches the sun’s schedule in the Rocky Mountains. This time zone runs one hour behind Eastern and two hours ahead of Pacific Time.

It uses Daylight Saving, so clocks spring forward in March and fall back in November.

MDT counts down the hours from UTC minus six. Currently on October 12th, smartphones in Colorado read 9:55am. Their time zone won’t switch to standard time until after the next change on November 5th.

For now, Mountain Daylight Time rules the Centennial State.

Mountain Standard Time Not in Use

Mountain Standard Time Not in Use
Daylight saving time in Colorado will end soon, changing the clocks back one hour. This shift back to mountain standard time, abbreviated as MST, occurs Sunday, November 5th this year. Though not currently active, MST remains Colorado’s standard time zone offset from UTC at -7 hours.

The twice-yearly clock changes between MST and MDT aim to better align daylight hours with people’s schedules.

With smartphone time zones now easy to configure, selecting the correct setting for your location prevents timing mix-ups. For Denver, MDT is accurate until November’s time change. Down in Las Cruces, mountain time also applies but with variations on daylight saving time observance.

Examining location details ensures proper time zone configuration and understanding of when Colorado transitions between standard and daylight time.

When Daylight Saving Time Starts

When Daylight Saving Time Starts
Havin’ daylight savin’ time start on March 12th this year means Colorado currently uses Mountain Daylight Time. Coloradans eagerly await the start of Daylight Saving Time each March when we spring forward our clocks one hour.

This federally mandated schedule commences on the second Sunday in March, as established by the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 energy conservation law.

Adjusting to the time change impacts mornings and evenings bringing more sunshine to summer evenings. With Daylight Saving Time, Colorado gains an extra hour of evening daylight allowing more time for outdoor recreation and economic activity benefiting businesses.

The annual time shift reminds us we’re progressing from winter’s shorter days towards the longer brighter days of summer.

Daylight Saving’s biannual clock changes aim to conserve energy aligning our clocks with hours of peak daylight. Coloradans in the Mountain time zone look forward to the later sunsets DST brings.

When Daylight Saving Time Ends

When Daylight Saving Time Ends
You’re right that daylight saving time ends in Colorado on November 5 this year.

  • The clocks will fall back one hour at 2 am on Sunday morning November 5, 2023. This will return Colorado to Mountain Standard Time (MST).
  • Daylight Saving Time started on March 12 this year when clocks jumped ahead one hour.
  • The twice-yearly time changes are legislated by the federal government. Colorado must abide by the start and end dates.
  • When DST ends, sunrises and sunsets will come earlier again. There’s more light in the morning and less in the evening.
  • The Denver International Airport and Colorado Springs Airport will adjust flight schedules to match the new time zone.

Time Difference From UTC

Time Difference From UTC
You think Colorado ain’t 7 hours behind UTC, but that just shows how mixed up you are about time zones, don’t it? Colorado uses Mountain Time, abbreviated MT. It’s UTC-7 hours in standard time and UTC-6 hours during daylight saving time. So in the summer, Colorado’s only 6 hours behind UTC.

To convert UTC to local Colorado time, you subtract 6 or 7 depending on whether daylight saving is in effect. Other Mountain Time places like Arizona and parts of Mexico also share Colorado’s UTC offset.

Having the Mountain Timezone helps businesses and folks coordinate timing across the region. Remembering those time differences helps when arranging calls and meetings across time zones. So don’t be getting it twisted – Colorado’s either 6 or 7 hours back from UTC depending on daylight saving time.

Sunrise and Sunset Times

Sunrise and Sunset Times
Our journey begins with sunrise—Denver was blessed by its arrival promptly at 7:06 am from a mesmerizing position of 99 degrees east. The golden rays gracefully caressed everything they touched before bidding their farewell during sunset at exactly 6:25 pm.

With dignity and resplendence, the setting took place from the opposite direction—a remarkable westward angle of 261 degrees. Denverites reveled in approximately eleven hours and eighteen minutes of daylight on this glorious occasion.

Ample time for adventures as the city comes alive to bask in the glory of October.

And marking the sun’s zenith, the solar noon precisely occurred at 12:46 pm. Shadows retreated to their shortest length as our celestial star reached its apex with an altitude of approximately 42.

But let’s not forget the romantic interlude that twilight bestows upon us. Civil twilight graced Denver around 6:36 am, nautical twilight awoke earlier still at 5:59 am, and astronomical twilight swept across the city from 5:22 am.

As morning leads into today and day into evening, these precious moments create avenues for reflection and anticipation.

So embrace each sunrise and sunset knowing that within Colorado’s rich time zone, life fully unfolds like the petals of a flower, bathing in the ever-changing light.

Day Length Varies

Day Length Varies
Hold tight while this daylight dance slowly guides your evening into night. As the earth tilts on its axis, Colorado sees a change in day length through the year. During summer, days swell to over 15 hours as the sun crests high in the sky. But winter shortens daylight to under 10 hours, with the sun taking a lower path across the sky.

The rising and setting of the sun mark twilight times that wrap the state in civil, nautical and astronomical dusk and dawn. This solar rhythm also phases the moon through its monthly cycle, waxing and waning in a celestial choreography.

Even on the equinoxes, when day and night equalize, seasonal change continues Colorado’s endless interplay of sunlight and shadow. The predictable yet remarkable dance of daylight propels time forward through each Colorado day.

Moon Phases in MT

Moon Phases in MT
Tonight’s moon phase in Mountain Time is just a slim crescent. At 4.1% illumination, the moon is in a waxing crescent phase.

Over the next week, the crescent will grow larger until it becomes a First Quarter Moon on October 20. The New Moon occurs when the Moon is between Earth and the Sun, so the side of the Moon facing toward us receives no direct sunlight.

As the Moon orbits Earth, we see more of the sunlit side, creating the phases of the moon.

Knowing the moon phases can help plan night sky viewing and understand tides. The lunar calendar marks the progression of these moon phases over months. Watching the moon’s phases unfold in the Colorado night sky connects us with celestial events and cycles.

Nearby Airports in MT

Nearby Airports in MT
You live in Colorado, which uses the Mountain Time Zone. Denver International Airport and Colorado Springs Airport are two major airports located in the state functioning on Mountain Standard Time and Mountain Daylight Time.

Upcoming Holidays

Coming up you’ll find excitement during Halloween and be honoring veterans on November 11th. Citizens of Colorado will celebrate upcoming festivities like Halloween at the end of October. The public holiday calendar also includes Veterans Day on November 11th, when the state honors veterans.

Astronomical, Nautical, and Civil Twilight Details

Since you’re in Denver, the Civil Twilight will end today at 7:21 am when the sun has risen 6° below the horizon, letting you catch the first morning light without artificial lighting.

  • Astronomical Twilight ends when the sun is 18° below the horizon and the sky is dark enough for astronomical observations.
  • Nautical Twilight ends when the sun is 12° below the horizon and the horizon is still visible enough for navigational purposes.

Civil Twilight ends when the sun is 6° below the horizon, marking the start of morning civil twilight.

Twilight provides ambient light before sunrise and after sunset, with varying definitions based on visibility needs.


In finality, Rocky Mountain visitors find comfort knowing Colorado currently aligns with MDT. Despite the approaching pause on prolonged daylight in early November, those traveling through Denver soon discover daylight hours gliding over distant summits before plunging below the horizon.

Whether midday or midnight under the moon’s many facades, this mountainous time zone chronicles time reliably. Rest assured—clocks clearly convey Colorado’s commitment to Mountain Daylight Savings Time, even as darker days materialize.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is an author and software engineer from the United States, I and a group of experts made this blog with the aim of answering all the unanswered questions to help as many people as possible.