Podcasts got us through the pandemic and have now become part of our everyday lives. We listen to them to learn, to laugh, to relax, and to stay informed. (Sometimes we even listen to them just to quiet our brains so we can fall asleep.) Regardless of why you don your headphones, having a lengthy queue of high-quality, interesting pods to listen to helps when you need a break from all the other noise in your life.

As such, allow us to present 26 of our go-tos, all of which are either produced by Coloradans or focus on issues important to the Rocky Mountain West. Some are a few years old but just as relevant as ever, while others are still cranking out new episodes. All of them are worthy of your time. Grab your earbuds and hit play.

Jump Ahead:

Image courtesy of Longreads


  • From: Oregon Public Broadcasting and Longreads
  • Host: Leah Sottile
  • Seasons: Two
  • Episodes: 15

We originally thought this National Magazine Award–nominated podcast was a retelling of the Ted Bundy serial killer saga. Little did we realize there was another notorious Bundy roaming the West: Cliven, a Nevada rancher who, along with his band of anti-government radicals, was involved in standoffs with federal agents near his home in 2014 and in Oregon in 2016. In Sottile’s first season of Bundyville, she pulls off the best kind of retrospective reporting, creating empathy for Bundy by tracing his personal history of distrust for the federal government to the nuclear bomb tests of the 1950s, which poisoned many of Bundy’s neighbors. By the end of the season, listeners just might find themselves siding with the bandit—or at least gaining a better understanding of how right-wing conspiracy theorists come by their paranoias. —Spencer Campbell

City Cast
Image courtesy of City Cast Denver

City Cast Denver

  • From: City Cast
  • Hosts: Bree Davies and Paul Karolyi
  • Frequency: Daily

Daily or weekly podcasts are often built on personalities, and part of why City Cast Denver works so well is the chemistry between Davies and Karolyi, who are by turns serious, probing, honest, and funny—and always smart. They’ll opine on the latest news in the city, interview newsmakers and sources with subject expertise, and have on special guests once a week for longer episodes dissecting what’s going on in the Mile High City. (Disclosure: Lindsey King and I were guests on an episode last summer, and the City Cast Denver team records episodes in the 5280 office once a week.) Whether the duo is talking about the re-opening of Casa Bonita, intractable transportation issues, Colorado green chile, or city politics, they bring intelligence and levity to the topics on the minds—or the topics that should be on the minds—of Denverites. —GVD

Paul Karolyi, host of City Cast Denver
Photo courtesy of Blake Jackson

Behind the Mic: Paul Karolyi, host and executive producer, City Cast Denver

My favorite Colorado podcast: Get More Smarter

“Hilarious and insightful, co-hosts and Democratic strategist types Ian Silverii and Jason Bane deliver a compelling convo about Colorado politics every week and regularly book the exact guests I want to hear.”

Dear White Women
Image courtesy of Dear White Women

Dear White Women

  • Hosts: Sara Blanchard and Misasha Suzuki Graham
  • Frequency: Biweekly
  • Episodes: 238

What started in 2019 as two half-Japanese, half-white besties sharing the conversations they were already having about race and social justice has evolved into an eponymous book, speaking engagements and corporate workshops, and Dear White Women episodes that often feature high-profile guests with diverse perspectives. Whether they’re talking to He/She/They author and trans inclusion advocate Schuyler Bailar, workplace DEI expert Mita Mallick, or former U.S. Senator Doug Jones, Denver-based Blanchard and Suzuki Graham, who lives in California, stay focused on compassionately encouraging white women—and anyone else with social influence—to act on what they hear. “You can listen and learn and be on the back burner forever,” Blanchard says. “Nothing changes unless you do something.” —Jessica LaRusso

Sara, cohost of Dear White Women
Photo courtesy of Pamela Li Photography

Behind the Mic: Sara Blanchard, co-host of Dear White Women

My favorite Colorado podcast: Turmeric & Tequila

“I love host Kristen Olson’s boundless energy. She interviews a diverse group of mission-driven, authentic humans who inspire listeners to embrace radical self-acceptance, challenge the status quo, and chase their real purpose.”

Death in the West
Image courtesy of Death in the West

Death In the West

  • Hosts: Zach Dundas, Chad Dundas, Erika Fredrickson, and Leif Fredrickson
  • Seasons: Two
  • Episodes: 23

This quartet—composed of three journalists and a professor—tackles “strange crimes and unsolved intrigues” in the American West, but that description undersells this independent podcast. In the vein of Serial and the best narrative pods, Death in the West employs dogged research and reporting, original music, field interviews, archival clips, and sharp writing and editing as the hosts investigate Western mysteries. Season one covers the 1917 murder of union organizer Frank Little in Butte, Montana; season two looks into the 1971 hijacking of a Northwest Orient flight from Seattle to Portland, Oregon. Both seasons keep listeners engaged and guessing as the Death in the West team attempts to fully unravel these much-stranger-than-fiction tales. —GVD

DNVR Nuggets podcast
Image courtesy of DNVR Nuggets

DNVR Nuggets Podcast

  • From: DNVR
  • Hosts: Adam Mares, Harrison Wind, Brendan Vogt, Eric Wedum, and Duvalier Johnson
  • Frequency: Five days a week and after every game

X’s and O’s? Check. Big-picture analysis? Yep. Insightful interviews? You bet. The DNVR Nuggets Podcast provides die-hard Denver basketball fans with almost daily opining on the defending NBA champions. Mares, Wind, Vogt, Wedum, and Johnson are energetic and jocular, and they know the ins and outs of both the Nuggets organization and the NBA. Episodes include postgame recaps in addition to pods on nongame days that take a broader view and might focus on role players or contract situations. Whether this group is singing the praises of Reggie Jackson this season, interviewing Michael Porter Jr.’s skills coach, or being outraged after Nikola Jokić’s ejection from a game this past December, Mares & Co. consistently give Nuggets fans interesting, perceptive, and sometimes laugh-inducing episodes. —GVD

Elevated Denver
Image courtesy of Elevated Denver

Elevated Denver

  • From: Elevated Denver
  • Hosts: Johnna Flood, Nathan Havey, Liane Morrison, and Myra Nagy
  • Frequency: Every two to three weeks
  • Seasons: Two
  • Episodes: 30

We often hear about Denver’s homelessness crisis through shocking statistics and legal-jargon-filled ballot initiatives. This podcast, which released its debut season in spring 2022, takes a more human approach to the topic by centering the voices and stories of those most affected by homelessness in the metro area. In each 20- to 30-minute episode of Elevated Denver, you’ll meet Denverites who are currently unhoused or have been in the past, learn about local humanitarian organizations with missions to help, and gain nuggets of knowledge that help demystify this complex and critical housing issue in the Mile High City. —Michelle Johnson

Courtesy of Chris Fairbanks

The Grawlix Saves the World

  • Hosts: Adam Cayton-Holland, Ben Roy, and Andrew Orvedahl
  • Frequency: Weekly
  • Episodes: 104

Cayton-Holland, Roy, and Orvedahl, the creators of the comedy troupe the Grawlix and TruTV’s Those Who Can’t, host this funny and thoughtful “self-help” pod, which both embraces and pokes fun at the genre. After 100 episodes of the Grawlix, the trio is freshening up the podcast this year with a new weekly release schedule and a focus on thinking globally and acting locally. The hosts have fantastic chemistry, honed by 15 years of performing together and evidenced by their clear love for each other—which sometimes takes the form of brutally goofing on one another. There are lots of f-bombs and lots of laughs, but there are also vulnerable and affecting moments, as in one episode from late 2023 in which the three discuss insecurities they deal with in their friendships and relationships. —GVD

Guardians of the River
Image courtesy of Cat Jaffee

Guardians of the River

  • From: House of Pod (with the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project and the Wild Bird Trust)
  • Host: Kerllen Costa
  • Seasons: One
  • Episodes: Eight

This 2021 release from Colorado’s House of Pod expertly uses the medium to take listeners on an auditory journey to Africa’s Okavango River Basin. Primordial sounds leap from the headphones as Costa explains the mission of the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project. He and his colleagues are there, along with House of Pod founder and producer Catherine Jaffee, to answer a question: How can they protect a threatened ecosystem that supports several communities and is home to some of the most endangered animals on Earth? It took more than two years for Jaffee to collect enough reporting to try to resolve that monumental inquiry in Guardians of the River. —LBK

Behind the Mic: Catherine Jaffee, founder and producer, House of Pod

My favorite Colorado podcast: Dear Alana,

Cat Jaffe, host of Guardians of the River
Photo by Benjamin Rasmussen

“This show [about faith and sexuality] crushed me. It takes place in Boulder and sears me raw because parts of this show ring close to home. I grew up in Boulder and went to Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School, where I was once pinned under a swing set and punched for admitting I was queer. I was in fourth grade. Luckily, the thing that we worked on changing was my school, not my identity. This show is sensitive, relevant, and important.”

Laws of Notion
Image courtesy of Laws of Notion

Laws of Notion

  • From: The Institute for Science & Policy at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
  • Host: Kristan Uhlenbrock
  • Frequency: Weekly, in season
  • Seasons: Three
  • Episodes: 28

In discussions about the most intractable scientific problems facing humanity, the humans most directly affected by policymakers are too often left out of the conversation. This nonprofit-produced, national-award-winning series gives literal voice to those Coloradans, from coal miners in Craig grappling with the closing of a local plant to Pueblo families who regularly breathe the state’s dirtiest air. Uhlenbrock and her team at Laws of Notion spend the better part of each year building relationships with researchers, government officials, and everyday citizens to explore—in a relatable, storytelling style—issues such as the transition to clean energy (season one), water shortages (season two), and air pollution (season three). “We’re not here to tell what the solution should be,” Uhlenbrock says. “We’re here to understand.” —JL

Legends of the Old West
Image courtesy of Black Barrel Media

Legends of the Old West

  • From: Black Barrel Media
  • Host: Chris Wimmer
  • Seasons: 32
  • Episodes: More than 200

We’re suckers for a good old-fashioned yarn, and the folks at Phoenix-based Black Barrel Media know how to weave one. Going strong since 2018, Legends of the Old West has delved into some of the West’s most iconic characters, bringing to life—through deep reporting and deft storytelling—their quintessentially this-side-of-the-Mississippi tales. The two most recent seasons (we use that term loosely; they’re more like themed chapters of varying lengths) have focused on Buffalo Bill as well as the Donner party and the Bender family. If you don’t know those names, you should—and the most entertaining and informative way to learn is to cue up this high-quality pod. —LBK

Lost Highways
Image courtesy of Lost Highways

Lost Highways: Dispatches from the Shadows of the Rocky Mountains

  • From: History Colorado (supported by the Sturm Family Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities)
  • Hosts: Noel Black and Maria Maddox
  • Frequency: Biweekly, seasonally
  • Seasons: Five
  • Episodes: 33

Like many history podcasts, History Colorado’s Rocky Mountain West–focused Lost Highways delivers stories you can’t believe you’ve never heard (a Boulder county clerk issued six same-sex marriage licenses and denied one to a man and his horse in 1975) and paradigm-shifting insights into tales you thought you knew (was Alfred, aka Alferd, Packer really such a bad guy?). But what gives the documentary-style episodes, which feature archival audio and contemporary interviews, true depth is the way they frequently draw connections to the present: The 2024 season will include episodes about the history of doping and the future of fairness in sports and how the 1881 lynching-in-effigy of a Chinese man in Gothic is related to why our mountain communities are not particularly diverse today. —JL

Modern West
Image courtesy of Wyoming Public Media

The Modern West

  • From: Wyoming Public Media and PRX
  • Host: Melodie Edwards
  • Seasons: Seven
  • Episodes: 65

Whether Edwards is telling stories about the West’s ghost towns in the making or the continuing fallout from the Plains Indian Wars or, as she does in the Modern West’s most recent season, the surprising fury of metro Denver’s Marshall fire in December 2021, her innate Westernness is apparent. Raised in rural Walden, Colorado, by a roughneck father and journalist mother, Edwards comes off as curious, thoughtful, and earnest as she interviews a diverse array of people and elucidates difficult subject matter that affects all Westerners, whether they know it or not. —LBK 

Mountain and Prairie
Image courtesy of Mountain and Prairie

Mountain & Prairie

  • Host: Ed Roberson
  • Frequency: Every 10 days
  • Episodes: 220

Conservationist Ed Roberson’s North Carolina accent may feel out of place in the American West, but make no mistake: Colorado Springs–based Roberson has lived here since 2010 and is an advocate for the landscapes that make this part of the world so special. Mountain & Prairie has a simple conceit—long-form interviews with “innovators of the American West”—and Roberson is a capable and relaxed host. His guests include journalists, ranchers, athletes, and environmentalists—and just about anyone else who’s shaping what it means to live in this region right now. One of our favorite episodes is Roberson’s chat with the actor-woodworker-environmentalist Nick Offerman, which is funny and also surprisingly enlightening. —GVD

Thirst Gap
Image courtesy of Thirst Gap

Thirst Gap

  • From: KUNC
  • Host: Luke Runyon
  • Seasons: One
  • Episodes: Six

It’s impossible to escape the unpleasant reality that the American West has a water problem. As in, we don’t have enough of it—and no one can seem to agree on what to do about that. The dearth is nowhere more evident than on the Colorado River, which flows southwest from snow-covered peaks in the Centennial State and provides water to seven U.S. states and parts of Mexico. In 2023’s Thirst Gap, Runyon explains the flawed 102-year-old Colorado River Compact that still divvies up the river; how farmers rely on the river; the region’s inflexible system of water rights; the record-low levels in Lake Powell; the restrictions on water usage in Las Vegas; the role Native American tribes should play in water allocation discussions; and the dry end the river meets before reaching the ocean. It’s not uplifting, but it’s critical information for those who would like to continue taking daily showers. —LBK

What's Her Name
Image courtesy of What’s Her Name podcast

What’s Her Name

  • Hosts: Katie Nelson and Olivia Meikle
  • Frequency: Biweekly
  • Episodes: 128

Academics (and sisters) Nelson and Meikle turned what could’ve been a sleepy podcast into an auditory delight in 2018 when they decided to dedicate a show to history’s forgotten women. The rapport between Meikle (an adjunct professor of gender and women’s studies at Boulder’s Naropa University) and Nelson (who has a doctorate in history and teaches at Utah’s Weber State University) works in What’s Her Name’s favor, bringing a conversational tone to the roughly 30- to 50-minute episodes that explore the lives of women who have been erased by time’s steady march. From one-time Coloradans such as Margaret “Molly” Brown and “Rattlesnake” Kate Slaughterback to Trinidad-born journalist and activist Claudia Jones and forensic scientist Frances Glessner Lee, the sisters illuminate the accomplishments of the fairer sex in a way that’s funny and smart and delivered in such a manner that reminds us all that the world would likely be a far better place if these women had received more credence and credit. —LBK

Image courtesy of With(in) podcast


  • From: DU Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI) and the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC)
  • Hosts: Andrew Draper, Ashley Hamilton, and Denise Presson
  • Frequency: Varies
  • Episodes: 23

Poignant, sharply produced, and thoughtful, With(in) gives listeners a peek inside a world—American prisons—that most people only know through the movies. Hosts Draper and Presson are both incarcerated in Colorado prisons, and Hamilton is the co-founder and executive director of the DU PAI; the three are deft whether they are interviewing men who have been sentenced to prison for life or the director of the CDOC. The episodes—by turns raw, funny, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking—challenge your assumptions about the U.S. criminal justice system and stay with you long after you stop listening. If you don’t want to start at episode one, we recommend listening to “Fear Made the Lion,” parts one and two, which tells the story of two men who, after attempting to escape from prison, have shifted their outlooks on strength, violence, and masculinity. —GVD

The 7 Best Podcasts from Colorado Public Radio

In the Centennial State, CPR is the undisputed champion of podcasting. Here, the pods we love from the current title holder.

Back From Broken
Image courtesy of CPR

Back from Broken

  • Host: Vic Vela
  • Seasons: Four
  • Episodes: 36

Host Vela, whose final episode for CPR was recorded in August 2023, has a superpower: vulnerability. Now in recovery, Vela doesn’t shy away from sharing the bleakest moments from his 15 years of cocaine addiction. That honesty inspires his guests—including famous ones like Hunter Biden—to open up about their own challenges with substance misuse. But don’t let the somber stories fool you into thinking Back from Broken is a downer: Vela and his guests offer their stories to remind us all that we can overcome life’s toughest tests. —Chris Walker

Off the Walls
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Off the Walls

  • Hosts: Kibwe Cooper and Emily Williams
  • Frequency: Weekly, in season
  • Episodes: Five

Off the Walls, a newish pod from the CPR/Denverite team, aims to tell the stories of murals in Denver—but really it’s about much more. The 30- to 40-minute episodes provide listeners with artist profiles, neighborhood history lessons, and cultural context as Cooper and Williams use audio to describe visual artworks. Their reporting and interviews paint rich portraits of these murals and their stories; our favorite installment (so far) of this pod is the episode on Welton Street Cafe’s Fathima Dickerson, the dramatic mural of her in RiNo, and her efforts to reopen the iconic restaurant. —GVD

On Something
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On Something

  • Host: Ann Marie Awad
  • Seasons: Three
  • Episodes: 31

Legalizing pot already seems like old news, and many of us have come to take recreational weed for granted. But Awad is able to cut through the haze to show us just how transformational legalization has been in the realms of politics, criminal justice, and culture. Using This American Life–style narration, Awad delves into all kinds of heady topics you don’t usually hear about, including pot’s carbon footprint, failures to make the cannabis industry equitable, and why legalization is meaningful to the LGBTQ community. (Disclosure: I’m in an episode about weed smuggling.) Once you’re On Something—as a listener—you’ll never think about pot the same way. —CW

Image courtesy of CPR


  • Host: Michael Elizabeth Sakas
  • Seasons: One
  • Episodes: 11

There could be something in the water that’s spurring journalists to make podcasts about the Colorado River (see Thirst Gap). But we think it’s likely the lack of H2O in the American West, which is the result of a 24-year megadrought. Parched is CPR’s entry in this subcategory of environmental pods. Over the course of 11 episodes, Sakas takes us from the headwaters of the mighty Colorado River to Arizona, Nevada, California, and beyond to introduce us to people working to solve the water crisis while examining the ideas that could make it more sustainable to live in the arid West. —GVD

Quien Are We
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¿Quién Are We?

  • Host: May Ortega
  • Seasons: One
  • Episodes: Nine

Ortega’s adorable giggle is reason enough to tune into ¿Quién Are We?, but you’ll want to keep your AirPods in for the insightful and enjoyable explorations of the everyday lives of those who are part of Latino/Hispanic/Chicano communities in Denver and beyond. Raised in South Texas, Ortega is not only fluent in English and Spanish, but as a “first gen” Mexican American, she can also speak about examining identity. And at its core, that’s exactly what ¿Quién Are We? does: It looks at what it means to be Latino or Hispanic or Chicano while also dancing, cooking, and politicking in Colorado. Season two is due out early in 2024. —LBK

Image courtesy of CPR

The Taxman

  • Hosts: Rachel Estabrook, Nathaniel Minor, and Ben Markus
  • Seasons: One
  • Episodes: Three

CPR’s veteran reporters converted an economics story into a thriller with real-life stakes and a larger-than-life protagonist in Douglas Bruce, the legislator largely responsible for the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. After digging up archival audio of Bruce’s antics, The Taxman’s hosts not only give us a sense for a controversial Coloradan but they also present the backstory of a tax law that’s still causing problems today. —CW

Terra Firma
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Terra Firma

  • Host: CMarie Fuhrman
  • Frequency: Weekly, in season
  • Seasons: One
  • Episodes: Nine

Unless we’ve missed something, there’s nothing else being produced in Colorado quite like Terra Firma. Narrated by Fuhrman, a Colorado-born Indigenous poet and writer, the five- to 10-minute episodes could be substituted for your favorite meditation app. Fuhrman’s rhythmic voice, paired with the sounds of squawking birds, babbling brooks, and rustling leaves—all collected by field recordist Jacob Job—lulls listeners into a near trancelike state, where they can lose themselves in the grandeur of nature. New episodes are expected to drop in early 2024. —LBK