Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the State of Colorado
Federal Aviation Administration
FAA Drone Website: https://www.faa.gov/uas/
UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Colorado
Drone operation in the State of Colorado is broadly governed by The Federal USA agency responsible for drone safety, the FAA. Click here for details on FAA USA Drone Laws.
In addition, the Colorado legislature has enacted several supplemental rules specific to Colorado drone operations. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details go to the links above and search for unmanned aircraft
Are drones allowed in Colorado?
Drones are allowed in Colorado for recreational and commercial use, subject to FAA regulations and flight controls put in place by local governments. Read on for details.
Specific additional drone use laws by Colorado State legislature
HB 1070 – Study Drone Use By Public Safety Agencies
Requires the center of excellence within the department of public safety to perform a study. The study must identify ways to integrate UAS 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. The study must also consider privacy concerns, costs, and timeliness of deployment for each of these uses. The legislation also creates a pilot program, requiring the deployment of at least one team of UAS operators to a region of the state that has been designated as a fire hazard where they will be trained on the use of UAS for the above specifies functions.
406-0 #004 – AIDS IN TAKING WILDLIFE
It shall be unlawful to use a drone to look for, scout, or detect wildlife as an aid in the hunting or taking of wildlife.
For the purposes of this regulation, drones shall be defined as including, without limitation, any contrivance invented, used, or designed for navigation of, or flight in the air that is unmanned or guided remotely. A drone may also be referred to as “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle” (UAV) or “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System” (UAVs).
Specific additional UAV laws by local governments within Colorado State
City of Boulder | Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP)
The City of Boulder prohibits recreational drone operations in its Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) or city-managed property outside of designated areas. Exceptions are special permit holders who fly drones for research or other authorized purposes. Some of those may include search and rescue, wildlife management, and the management of public land.
- Boulder Drone Flight Request Application https://bouldercolorado.gov/drone-flight-request-application
- Boulder Drone Use https://bouldercolorado.gov/services/drone-use
- Boulder Film Permit Application https://bouldercolorado.gov/services/film-permit-application
- Boulder OSMP Special Use Permits https://bouldercolorado.gov/services/osmp-special-use-permits
- Boulder OSMP Permits https://bouldercolorado.gov/osmp-permits
Village of Cherry Hills | Ordinance No. 13
All drones operating in the Village of Cherry Hills must be FAA registered and adhere to FAA guidelines at all times. It prohibits the flying of UAVs over all city property. That typically includes public buildings, parks, trails, and streets.
City of Denver | Municipal Law
Prohibits all flying objects (including drones) from Denver park facilities outside of designated areas. Drones may be flown in park facility areas designated by the DPR Executive Director for such flying objects, such as a designated model airplane or helicopter flying area, subject to compliance with rules and regulations that may be posted in or near the designated area. There may be exceptions for drones flown at special events or other activities with authorized permits.
Town of Telluride | Municipal Law
Drone operators must NOT fly over the town or privately-owned properties without prior approval. Also, drone pilots must not fly their craft recklessly or in a way potentially dangerous to people and wildlife. The ordinance bans users from operating UAVs while under the influence of mind-altering substances, such as alcohol and marijuana, etc.
UAS operation rules in Parks, Recreation and Cultural Preserves
Colorado State Parks Regulation #100-c.24 (2018)
The regulation makes it illegal to fly drones and other UAS in all Colorado State parks. The only exceptions are those parks that have designated areas for drone operations.
State Parks that currently have designated areas for drone operations include:
- Cherry Creek State Park
- Chatfield State Park, which has designated model airfields
Some state parks may offer Special Use Permits, though this is typically for commercial users only. Interested parties should contact Colorado State for updated information.
Specific additional laws in Jurisdictions within Colorado
Many cities or towns within the state of Colorado may have specific restrictions within their jurisdictions. We recommend checking the local jurisdiction for the latest regulations.
What you must know about Colorado No Fly Zones or No Drone Zones
You need to know if you can operate your drone, under what limitations, whether authorizations are required, and how to get those authorizations.
We encourage you to read our explainer for more details on this topic here: Explainer – What You Must Know About No Fly Zones or No Drone Zones
How do I check for no-fly zones, no-drone zones, and uncontrolled or controlled airspace in Colorado?
The FAA has partnered with Aloft to develop the B4UFLY mobile app, which can tell you if there are any airspace restrictions where you want to fly.
If you are looking for a drone no fly zone map then B4UFLY is a good place to start.
The app provides situational awareness to recreational flyers and other drone users. However, it does not allow users to obtain airspace authorizations to fly in controlled airspace, only available through the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC).
The B4UFLY app is available to download for free:
B4UFLY at the App Store for iOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/b4ufly-drone-airspace-safety/id992427109
B4UFLY at the Google Play store for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.faa.b4ufly2&hl=en_US&gl=US
B4UFLY is also available as a desktop version for preflight planning and research. https://b4ufly.aloft.ai/ (“B4UFLY App | Federal Aviation Administration”)
How do I get authorization to fly in controlled airspace in Colorado?
Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), which is run by the FAA, is the only way to get permission to fly in controlled airspace.
LAANC is available to pilots operating under the Small UAS Rule Part 107 or under the exception for Recreational Flyers.
You can get access through one of the FAA Approved LAANC UAS Service Suppliers. Some providers have apps that can be used to apply for approval in near-real time.
There are two ways to use LAANC:
- Submit a near real-time authorization request for operations under 400 feet in controlled airspace around airports (available to Part 107 Pilots and Recreational Flyers).
- Submit a “further coordination request” if you need to fly above the designated altitude ceiling in a UASFacility Map, up to 400 feet.
- You can apply up to 90 days before a flight, and the approval is coordinated manually through the FAA (available to Part 107 pilots only).
LAANC is available at 726 airports. If you want to fly in controlled airspace near airports not offering LAANC, you can use the manual process to apply for authorization.
Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Colorado
If you have a small drone of less than 55 pounds, you can fly recreationally by following Drone Laws in the USA defined by 49 USC 44809.
In Colorado, recreational UAS operations (i.e., flying for recreational purposes) are approved under law, specifically 49 USC 44809. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.
Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Colorado
If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly recreationally by following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.
Recreational UAS operations (i.e., flying for recreational purposes) in Colorado are approved under FAA law, specifically Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.
Following these rules will keep you and your drone safe and help keep the airspace available to everyone.
The law requires that all recreational flyers pass an aeronautical knowledge and safety test and provide proof of passage if asked by law enforcement or FAA personnel. The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) was developed to meet this requirement.
TRUST provides education and testing on important safety and regulatory information. If you fly your drone recreationally under the Exception for Recreational Flyers, you must pass the test before you fly.
Note: If your drone weighs more than .55 pounds (lbs), you must register your drone through the FAA‘s Drone Zone.
For a complete discussion on drone registration, see our Drone Registration Explainer.
To fly your drone as a recreational flyer, it’s as easy as 1-2-3
- Understand recreational flying requirements
- Note: Non-recreational drone flying includes things like taking photos to help sell a property or service, doing roof inspections, or taking pictures of a high school football game for the school’s website. Goodwill can also be considered non-recreational. This would include volunteering to use your drone to survey coastlines on behalf of a non-profit organization. If you’re unsure which rules apply to your flight, fly under Part 107 (See below).
- Visit the Recreational Flyers page to learn about the rules for recreational flyers.
- Download the FAA’s B4UFLY mobile app for more recreational drone flying resources.
- Take TRUST
- You may take the free online test through any of the FAA-approved test administrators.
- All FAA-approved TRUST test administrators offer the test free.
- All test questions are correctable to 100% prior to issuing your completion certificate.
- After completing TRUST, you’ll need to download, save or print your completion certificate.
- If you lose your certificate, you will need to retake TRUST.
- View a list of TRUST Test Administrators
- Receive your certificate
- After you pass the test, you will receive a certificate from the test administrator you selected.
- Test administrators will not keep a record of your certificate. If law enforcement officers ask, you must present a copy of your certificate.
General Rules for Recreational Flyers
The Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft (USC 44809) is the law that describes how, when, and where you can fly drones for recreational purposes. Following these rules helps keep people, your drone, and our airspace safe:
- Fly only for recreational purposes (personal enjoyment).
- Follow the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community-Based Organization (CBO).
For more information on how to become an FAA-recognized CBO, read Advisory Circular 91-57C.
- Keep your drone within the visual line of sight, or use a visual observer who is co-located (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
- Give way to and do not interfere with other aircraft.
- Fly at or below FAA-authorized altitudes in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and surface Class E designated for an airport) only with prior FAA authorization by using LAANC or DroneZone.
- Fly at or below 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace.
Note: Flying drones in restricted airspace is not allowed. Drone pilots should always check for airspace restrictions prior to flight on our B4UFLY app or the UAS Facility Maps webpage.
- Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage when flying.
- Have a current FAA registration, mark (PDF) your drones on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of registration when flying.
Note: Beginning September 16, 2023, if your drone requires an FAA registration number, it will also be required to broadcast Remote ID information.
- Do not operate your drone in a manner that endangers the safety of the national airspace system.
Recreational drone pilots should know that if they violate these safety requirements and/or operate their drone flight carelessly or recklessly, they could be liable for criminal and/or civil penalties.
You do not need a drone license if your drone use is recreational and falls within the scope of 44809. However, to fly your drone commercially or under the FAA’s Small UAS Rule (Part 107), you must first obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate (RPC), also known as a drone license or a Part 107 certificate. You may want to get your drone license for the flexibility it allows in your drone flights.
For more details on drone licensing, please see our Drone License Explainer.
It is recommended that recreational drone operators consult the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations on the proper use of recreational drones and use common sense when operating these devices around crowded public areas, wildlife, or historic resources.
Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in Colorado
If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.
Commercial drone operations in Colorado State are approved under the FAA Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.
For a complete review of the FAA Part 107 regulation please see our comprehensive FAA 107 Explainer.
Note: The Operations Over People rule became effective on April 21, 2021. Drone pilots operating under Part 107 may fly at night, over people and moving vehicles without a waiver as long as they meet the requirements defined in the rule. Airspace authorizations are still required for night operations in controlled airspace under 400 feet.
If you have a small drone of fewer than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following the Part 107 guidelines. To fly under Part 107 rules, there are three main steps.
Step 1: Learn the Rules
Ensure you understand what is and is not allowed under Part 107 rules.
If you are unsure if Part 107 rules work for you and your intended operation, check our user identification tool.
Some operations will require a waiver. Here are the regulations specified in §107.205 that are subject to waiver:
- Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft – §107.25
- Operation at Night – §107.29(a)(2) and (b)
- Visual line of sight aircraft operation – §107.31
- Visual observer – §107.33
- Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems – §107.35
- Yielding the right of way – §107.37(a)
- Operation over human beings – §107.39
- Operation in certain airspace – §107.41
- Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft – §107.51
- Operations Over Moving Vehicles – §107.145
Learn more about Part 107 Waivers.
Drone operators should avoid flying near airports because it is difficult for crewed aircraft to see and avoid a drone while flying. Remember that the drone operator must avoid manned aircraft and are responsible for any safety hazard their drone creates in an airport environment.
Step 2: Become an FAA-Certified Drone Pilot by Passing the Knowledge Test
For more details on drone licensing, please see our Drone License Explainer.
To be eligible to get your Remote Pilot Certificate, you must be:
- At least 16 years old
- Able to read, write, speak, and understand English
- Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a UAS
Study for the Knowledge Test
- Review Knowledge Test Suggested Study Materials provided by the FAA.
Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN)
- Create an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile before registering for the knowledge test.
Schedule an Appointment
- Take the Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center.
Complete FAA Form 8710-13
- Once you’ve passed your test for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application), log in to the FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA)* to complete FAA form 8710-13.
- Review the entire process to get your Remote Pilot Certificate.
Step 3: Register your Drone with the FAA
For a complete discussion on drone registration, see our Drone Registration Explainer.
Registration costs $5 and is valid for three years. You’ll need a credit or debit card and the make and model of your drone handy in order to register. Learn more about registering your drone.
- Create an account and register your drone at FAADroneZone. Select “Fly sUAS under Part 107.”
- Once you’ve registered, mark your drone (PDF) with your registration number in case it gets lost or stolen.
Useful published information on flying drones in Colorado
We have partnered with the FAA and other drone enthusiasts in supporting an internet educational campaign called Know Before You Fly. The tips, pointers, and resources apply to Colorado Drone Users also. Please visit the site for additional information: Know Before You Fly
Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International – Mostly for commercial drone service providers and users.
Academy of Model Aeronautics – Mostly for hobbyists
NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model Aircraft, toy, remote-controlled, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.
Find out why we think you must use a Drone Preflight Checklist and a Drone Post-flight checklist
Free Drone Flight Checklist PDF
This Drone Flight Checklists is better than others.
It includes both the preflight checklist and post-flight checklist
It’s an easy to use printable pdf that covers all your bases.
Traveling with a Drone?
Click here to read our Comprehensive Guide For Traveling With A Drone.
NOW ITS YOUR TURN
23 thoughts on “Drone Laws in Colorado”
I get it, that a drone can legally fly over private property, but what about when they are photographing private property like your back porch, that’s isn’t visible to the public view? What are the statutes on this?
Please check if there are any privacy regulations in your area that covers this.
There has been a drone in our neighborhood flying at night looking in our home and neighbor’s home windows…hovering snd going around houses for minutes upon minutes at a time… my neighbor has noticed and watched with binoculars it happening to my house, and other houses behind us. There was a HUGE meth bust in our neighborhood a few months ago – H U G E – and we are weirded out about it all. I understand recreational and hobby drone usage, but what we’ve seen seems much more than ‘just a quick fly by.’ We live on an area with 5 acre parcels. Please advise on next steps for us to walk…do see above taking pictures is a good start…I’m wanting to put up a ‘warning’ sign in our bedroom windows at night BUUUT T am thinking this’ll encourage the brown hole down under ‘pilot’ to be more of a smelly pest.
Please contact your local law enforcement
The FAA is the only organization allowed to govern airspace, cities cannot legally enact a drone ordinance. As long as the pilot is following FAA guidelines, they are legally allowed to fly.
Steven, that is correct, subject to the operator not operating unsafely or violating the privacy rights that may be enshrined in the law.
It is completely legal to fly a recreational drone over residential houses daily? Of course the noise is grating on one’s nerves. Constant shrill. Have to close windows while I am home. But probably not much you can do about that – people are just rude af these days. The main concern is – how is it lawful to invade people’s property rights and privacy rights on a daily basis for 2 hours? Do we contact the FAA to put up regulations to stop this?
Dennis, we suggest you contact your local regulators. Depending on your location, there are ordinances that prohibit nuisance/privacy infringements
Every single city in the USA that has created “laws” against drones has been struck down in court. Cities to NOT get the option of regulating airspace. ANYONE can fly over ANYONE’s land, period. End of Story. Taking off, operating and/or landing is another thing. But you cannot take a legal activity like flying a drone, and turn it into a crime by calling it a privacy issue. That is complete non-sense. The “laws” by Telluride for example is a joke and not lawful. ANYONE can go stand in Telluride and fly their drone legally over private property. I would love that town to cite me for that!
We share the laws that exist and advocate for drone operators to operate safely and within the law. When the laws are struck down, we are happy to update the specific page, all we ask is a specific link to validate the law was struck down (in case we can’t find it ourselves).
Can you point a Lazer at a drone
It is illegal to interfere with drones. If pointing the laser is intended to disrupt the communication, you are violating a federal law.
It is perfectly legal for a UAS pilot to fly over your property. Generally speaking, the FAA is the sole entity for control of all air space within the US. The homeowner may not interfere with any aircraft in transit. There is NO specific height established as airspace begins at ground level.
Here is a link with more data.
Now, that being said, does it make it morally right that I can fly my drone over your house at a relatively low altitude? Yes, if I am conducting a flight for you under the rules of 107. No, for practically all other reasons. There is an expectation of personal privacy. It is not illegal, but it is immoral. Licensed UAS pilots would be among the first to condemn a rogue pilot for those actions. Some people would say “shoot it down”! DON’T!!! A drone is an aircraft under the FAA rules and federal laws. To shoot down a UAS, is a criminal act and may come back to bite you on the t*sh! Photograph and report. It is morally wrong to fly a drone for purpose of spying in windows of homes.
I’m a bit confused. In one sentence it mentions 55lbs then in another it says .55 (250g). Are there 2 different standards or is this a type?
Mike, Drones below 55lbs are approved for recreational or commercial flights following the rules.
If the drone is below .55 (250g) and used recreationally, it does not need to be registered. If it’s more than .55 but less than 55 it must be registered before a recreational flight. All drones used for commercial flights must be registered.
Hope that helps.
You need a bit more detail here. If a drone is <.55lbs and only flown recreationally, then you don't need to register it.
Any drone flown under 14 CFR Part 107 must be individually registered, no matter the weight.
I would like to see the ban apply to ranches that have Conservation easements on them as well!
Please contact and discuss with your local regulators.
I can’t fly a drone within 35 miles of my house. All city, county, state parks are off limits. All otherwise public spaces such as the University, the natural areas, and open spaces have banned drones. Seems anyone with a pencil has taken up the “no drone” attitude. I pay taxes, I should be able to use the spaces I help pay for.
I’m curious how that Telluride law applies. If you’re taking off / operating / landing on your own property, the FAA governs the airspace and trumps anything local ordinances would try and dictate.
Is your property recognized by the city as an area approved for take-off and landing of drones? Yes the city has some controls they can put in place especially if they invoke “public safety”. At that point just give up.
Laws that try to make a lawful activity a crime are unconstitutional. You cannot use “public safety” to make a law banning all Ford cars in your town because there was a recall and you are concerned for “public safety”. same for legal drone operations. Can you image a city using “public safety” to make roofers replacing a roof an illegal activity? Something might fly off the roof and hurt someone! I would love for any city to charge me for that, good luck.