35 Important Facts About Colorado That You Should Know

Last updated on March 12th, 2020

Colorado is the 21st most populous and the 8th most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It lies in the western region of the United States. The state attained statehood on August 1, 1876, becoming the 38th state to join the union. Its seven bordering states are New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Kansas, and NebraskaSee the full list of the 50 states and their borders here. Colorado (nicknamed: the Centennial State) has 64 counties. The state’s capital is Denver. With these facts about Colorado, let us learn more about its history, geography, people, economy and more.

35 Important facts about Colorado

1. The Spanish were the first European visitors who arrived in Colorado in the 1500s.[15]

2. The state was named after the Colorado River. In Spanish, Colorado means “colored red.”[1,6]

Colorado with bordering states on the U.S. map.
Colorado with bordering states on the map.

3. The Royal Gorge Bridge, above the Arkansas River, was for more than 70 years, the world’s highest suspension bridge. The Bridge has a deck height of 955 ft, measured from the deck to the surface of the river below.[19]

Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado.
Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado.

4. Did you know that the name “cheeseburger” was trademarked by Louis Ballast of Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver in 1935?[25]

5. Did you know the Denver Mint produced 15.4 billion coins in fiscal year 2000, more coins than ever produced by a single U.S. Mint facility? The mint celebrated its 100th anniversary of coin production in 2006.[21]

6. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Eisenhower Tunnel in Colorado is the highest vehicular tunnel in the world.[6]

7. The state is nicknamed the “Centennial State” because it joined the Union after a century of the United States Declaration of Independence.[1]

Colorado - 64 counties. the fact file
Map of the 64 counties of the State of Colorado. Source

8. The capital city of Colorado is Denver, which also happens to be its most populous city. Denver is also known as the “Mile High City” because it sits at 5,280 feet above sea level—exactly one mile.[1,6]

9. Colorado is one of the three states in the U.S. which has its boundaries solely defined by lines of latitudes and longitudes. The other two states are Utah and Wyoming. For more clarity, see the map.[1]

Colorado on the map

10. It is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1000 meters’ elevation. Thus, it is also the nation’s highest state.[1]

11. The Summit of Mount Elbert (14,440 feet) in Lake County is the highest point in Colorado. It is also the highest summit of the Rocky Mountains.[1]

12. Almost 70% of the state’s population resides in the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains.[1]

13. Silver was discovered in Leadville in 1879. The discovery marked the beginning of Silver Boom in the state.[20]

14. During a study conducted on the water of Colorado Springs, it was found that it was the presence of fluoride in the water that caused the residents to have fewer cavities. Thus, fluorides were used commercially for maintaining healthy teeth.[5]

15. It is interesting to learn that Colorado entered statehood in 1876, exactly after 100 years of the nation’s independence (1776).

16. Colorado, women were granted the right to vote in 1893.

17. The state also has the highest low point of any state in the U.S. The point (3,317 feet) is where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado into the Cheyenne County, Kansas.[1]

18. In the Western United States, a mountain peak with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet is known as “fourteeners” or “14ers” locally. There are 58 such fourteeners in Colorado – the most of any state (Alaska has 22; California has 12; Washington has 1).[2] 

19. Roughly one-third of the state that lies west of the Continental Divide is referred to as the Western Slope of Colorado. The Western Slope contains 33% of the state’s land but is home to only 10% of its population.[3]

20. Water that falls west of the Continental Divide flows to the Pacific Ocean while that which falls to the east heads to the Atlantic Ocean.[15]

Continental Divide of the Americas. the fact file - Colorado facts
The Continental Divide in North America in red, among other major hydrological divides. Image source – Wikipedia.org

21. The Colorado River with its origin in the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming provides water and hydroelectric power to at least 35 million people in the United States and Mexico.[4]

22. The gold rush happened in Colorado between 1858 – 59. The gold was first discovered in Colorado in 1858 in present day Englewood.[5]

23. After the formation of the territory of Colorado in 1861, William Gilpin was named the first governor of the state.[5]

24. More than a third of the land of Colorado is owned by the government of the United States. The government controls mining, grazing, and logging in this area.[6]

25. Colorado is also home to the United States Air Force Academy.[6]

26. Colorado Springs is the largest city in Colorado by area. The city is 1 mile above sea level and is situated at the base of one of the most famous American mountains, Pikes Peak.[7]

The Flag of Colorado

Flag of Colorado

27. Blue Mesa Reservoir is Colorado’s largest lake located entirely within the state. The reservoir has a surface area of 9180 acres.[13]

Blue Mesa Lake in Colorado
Blue Mesa Lake in Colorado on a summer day.

28. Colorado has stricter vehicle emission regulations than many other states in the U.S.[14]

29. Colorado was offered to host the Winter Olympics but its residents turned down the offer due to the lack of infrastructure, and some environmental concerns.[12]

30. The largest flat-topped mountain in the world – the Grand Mesa – is located in western Colorado. It has an area of 500 miles.[11]

The state quarter

State quarter Colorado: Colorado fact file

31. By total land area (33,531 acres), the Denver International Airport is the largest airport in the United States. The airport also has the longest commercial runway in the United States. The airport is the sixth busiest airport in the United States and the 18th busiest airport in the world. More than 5 million passengers passed through the airport in April 2018.[8,9,10]

32. The only point in the United States where the boundaries of four states (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico) meet is termed as the Four Corners. Thus, one can practically stand in four states at the same time.[16]

The Four Corners - Colorado. facts about Colorado
The Four Corners region is the red circle in this map. The Four Corners states are highlighted in orange.

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