Some of the things to be done on a Colorado Cannabis Tours outing: Get high; learn about the marijuana plant and how it's grown; live glass blowing demo. (Provided by Colorado Cannabis Tours)

Six essential Colorado cannabis tours, from party buses to free-form adventures

See what you want to see with a Colorado cannabis tour company, whether it's behind-the-scenes peeks, a 420-friendly ride from the airport or a scenic trip. There are classes and custom offerings to be had too

They won’t adorn you with a hemp lei when you step off the plane, but Colorado remains a top destination for travelers looking to celebrate the “high holiday” of April 20.

Whether it’s to see the now seemingly annual Snoop Dogg concert or join thousands for the infamous 420 Rally at Denver’s Civic Center Park, there’s no shortage of marijuana revelry to take part in. It’s no coincidence there has been a big spike in dispensary sales every April in the state’s recreational marijuana era.

For the less experienced tourist, what starts as a fun weed-cation can go wrong in a toke, so it’s no wonder dozens of marijuana-focused tour companies have popped up to guide visitors on their stoner sojourns. That said, I’ve also seen plenty of people passed out on tour buses to wonder: Was the guidance lacking — or just ignored? Picking the right business for your needs is as important as it is daunting.

Estimated 125,000 turn out for two-day 4/20 rally in Civic Center
A reveler at Denver’s annual 4/20 festival at Civic Center Park in 2015. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post) (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)

For experienced aficionados, sometimes the information spoon-fed to novices on certain tours can make it feel like sitting through a Friday afternoon staff meeting. For the canna-curious, sometimes outings can feel like more of a pot-themed bachelor party than the educational seminar they’d hoped for. Sometimes, you see someone’s nana with a gas mask bong on her face taking rips of Super Lemon Haze and you don’t know what to think anymore.

So when you’re ready to book a tour, take some time to research the options, and reach out to the individual operators to get more details on the itineraries.

Here are my picks for celebrating 4/20:

The Party Plan

Not all of us travel with a rapper’s entourage, so if you’re looking to meet a few like-minded cannabis enthusiasts in a social smoking setting, you’ve come to the right place when you’re on the bus. I never fail to meet a few new friends from around the world in this lively atmosphere that combines basic education points with a trip to a dispensary and garden.

Colorado Cannabis Tours – Denver

The self-proclaimed world’s largest cannabis tour company, CCT still throws down for their hometown with the regular shuttles and a wide range of activities that won them Denver Westword’s “Best Cannabis Tour” in 2017. Known for their engaging guides and wide range of tour options, they offer everything from glass blowing demonstrations to cross-stitch classes … on weed. Cost: Tours from $45-$249, classes from $25-$399

Colorado Highlife Tours – Colorado Springs

Want to see a real-life cannabis club? That’ll mean a trip to Colorado Springs, where 20-year resident Tim takes you on a “club crawl” where you can stretch your legs and your lungs. Starting in Denver, you’re treated to a packed day of entertainment: a visit to the Garden of the Gods park, a bite in Manitou Springs a tour of an indoor garden and stops at three private pot clubs. For those not into nature, there’s a VR headset too. Cost: $175

Just the ride

An ideal option for those crewed up and looking to get screwed up promptly after arriving at the airport. You and your party can walk from baggage claim to your own private smokemobile. With dispensaries minutes from Denver International Airport, you’ll be ready to roll a joint in no time – and smoke it without your driver tossing you from the vehicle and giving you a zero-star rating.

Mile High Limo Tours – Denver

For the baller with no budget, Mile High Limo Tours will grab you and five of your closest sesh buddies after you land for a pot shop stop and a ride to your accommodations. While they offer casino trips and concert stops, you’ll get your best value on this high-end airport shuttle service. If he’s available, ask for fan favorite Jim. Cost: $219 minimum for up to six people

Transportation Elevated – Gunnison

Not all of us are looking to party our faces off. Kenny, a 40-year resident of the Gunnison Valley in the central Rockies, prides himself on getting you to the hot springs, ski areas and trailheads that only locals know about, along with advice on where you can and cannot consume. With service for up to six people, it’s a sneaky good time that’ll leave you with stories that’ll have friends back home hanging on your every word. Cost: $650 for one-way transfer from Denver

Choose your own adventure

If you’re like me, you wind up wandering away from the museum tour high as a kite to stare at a statue for five minutes that turns out to be a very confused real-life person. Not everyone needs the cookie-cutter tour and would prefer to craft their own schedule, even if it leads to new, profoundly weird experiences like wandering our very own infamous Colfax Avenue for hours.

City Sessions – Denver

Expertly blending her knowledge of the city with the inside dirt on cannabis, tour owner Goldie and her crew work to customize your trip by incorporating events outside of the standard weed fare. Whether you’re into underground art shows or touring the latest microbrewery, they’ll craft an experience that pairs well with indica or sativa. Price varies

Loopr – downtown Denver

One of the more affordable options for tourists, Loopr gives you a way to travel downtown without worrying about getting ticketed for smoking while you do it. Hop on at one of their pickup points, hop off when you want to grub, re-up on your stash, or explore a different area. Running from 4 p.m.-midnight, the late-night parties are worth the price of admission alone. Cost: $35 per day