55 Interesting Facts About Colorado That You Should Know

Last updated on September 13th, 2022

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. The abbreviation for Colorado is CO. With these facts about Colorado, let us learn more about its history, geography, people, economy and more.

55 Interesting 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]

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. It also leads to a 360-acre park that features rides and shows that kids and adults can enjoy.[19]

Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado. facts about 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 that 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 one of 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. This is an interesting Colorado fact that you can share with your friends and family.[1]

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

8. Centennial, Colorado, shares its name with the nickname for the entire state, “The Centennial State.” Centennial is home to the popular 17-mile House Farm Park with a preserved 19th-century farmhouse. Visitors will enjoy the scenic backdrops with red barns, milk shed, silo, and two fully-functional windmills.

9. 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]

10. If you have ever received a tire clamp on your car, you can thank the Mile-High City for that. The first tire clamp was invented by the concert violinist, Frank Marugg in Denver in 1944.

Since then, his invention has been used by Denver’s finest and the Department of Motor Vehicles in forcing drivers to pay outstanding tickets. On January 5, 1955, the Denver police officially put the boot into effect. In its first twenty-five days, the city collected over $18,000 in unpaid parking tickets. This is one of the Colorado facts that an automobile enthusiast would certainly like.

11. 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

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

13. 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]

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

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

16. On the list of Colorado facts, this fact relates to our day to day life. 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]

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

18. While Lakewood is known for its tree-lined streets and residences, the city features a hidden gem for paleontology and Jurassic lovers. The Dinosaur Hotel (once a franchise hotel) is decked out in dinosaur décor and visuals. Located on South Vance Street, this hotel is blanketed with dinosaur statues, bones, and other historical ornaments and designs.

The Dinosaur Hotel celebrates Lakewood’s rich history of dinosaur discovery in the area. In fact, Lakewood is where the first Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus bones were found by paleontologists years ago.

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

20. 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]

21. 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] 

22. 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]

23. 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
Colorado facts: the Continental Divide in North America in red, among other major hydrological divides. Image source – Wikipedia.org

24. 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]

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

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

27. 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]

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

29. 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]

30. Aurora is considered one of the most bike-friendly cities in Colorado. With over 60 miles of bicycling paths and routes, there are tons of rental shops for visitors and locals alike.

The bicycling trails even connect all significant points in the city, including the Aurora Reservoir and Southlands Mall. This is one of the reasons why Aurora is also one of the thinnest towns in the nation with so many activities for residents and guests.

The Flag of Colorado

Flag of Colorado. This article talks about interesting Colorado facts.
Image in Public Domain

About the Flag of Colorado

1. Design and Symbolism

The Colorado flag features three horizontal stripes: white in the middle and blue at the edges. In the foreground is a red letter “C” for Colorado, with a gold disc at the center signifying the mining industry.

“C” also stands for columbine, the state flower. Lastly, it denotes the centennial of the US. Colorado officially joined the union in 1876, coinciding with the 100th year of independence.

Locals are proud of the natural beauty of Colorado. The blue stripes refer to the sky, while the white band signifies the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

2. Adoption and Revision

The state adopted the design on June 5, 1911, but the version you see today is the product of minor revisions until March 31, 1964.

3. Technical Details

If you plan to make a copy, ensure that the layout has a 2:3 ratio. Divide the width equally among the three stripes, and match the colors with the national flag.

Look closely at the gold disc. The diameter must match the width of the white stripe. The red letter “C” must occupy two-thirds of the flag width.

Colorado State Flag waving
Colorado facts. Photo © Jennifer Thompson

4. History

There was no flag when President Ulysses Grant approved Colorado statehood. Instead, locals placed the state seal on a blue background, and voila! An unofficial banner.

In 1907, they finally came up with the first official Colorado flag. It had the state seal and Latin motto: “Nil sine numine” (Nothing without Providence or Deity). Unfortunately, the fancy flag had few fans. The only physical copy never made a public appearance.

In late 1910, the patriotic group Daughters of the American Revolution met in Denver. They discussed the creation of a state flag, not knowing about the 1907 fiasco. After getting design submissions, they rallied behind a striped flag with the state seal.

The lawmaker William H. Sharpley pushed the flag bill, only to get a lukewarm response. Andrew Carlisle Carson knew something had to change. He made the design we know today to the delight of the senate. It gained a unanimous vote in 1911.

5. Protocols

You will always see the flag lowered on three holidays: September 11, Memorial Day, and National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The state flag must always be at the right and under the national flag.

The governor of Colorado can order the state flag flown at half-staff. It usually happens after a national tragedy, the death of a federal official, or the funeral of a Colorado service member.

Every school and government building must have a suitable flagpole for the US and state flags. The two must be of the same size.

6. Applications

Colorado state highway sign
Colorado state highway sign with the state flag at the top. Photo © Deaconbrown

Unlike other places, Colorado is lenient about flag use. The law lets people include the design even in non-flag applications. Shops sell flag-inspired shirts, caps, decals, and other items.

You will see residents paint outdoor furniture with the tri-stripe. Sports teams, like the Colorado Rapids of the MLS, wear uniforms with flag colors.

Meanwhile, the Colorado state highway markers have the flag printed on top.

31. 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
Colorado facts: Blue Mesa Lake in Colorado on a summer day.

32. Colorado has stricter vehicle emission regulations than many other states in the U.S. This Colorado fact draws our attention to the state’s interest in limiting pollution.[14]

33. 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]

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

35. Pueblo, Colorado, holds one of the largest green chilies festivals in the country. The annual event is known as the Chillie and Frijoles Festival, which spans over three days with live music, art demos, and chili cooking competitions.

This event truly captures the essence of the city with a Midwest and southwestern theme that is enjoyed by families, visitors, and locals alike. You can also sample some of the hottest green chilies and delicious pinto beans that are grown by local farmers.

36. Westminster features The Big Red Castle, which is a historic landmark and a religious schooling institution. This magnificent structure looks like it was uprooted from the castles of London and Windsor. However, you are still in Westminster, and this castle — also known as The Pillar Fire — is truly a must-see for all tourists and visitors. It showcases impressive architecture and intertwined elements of medieval and modern designs.

37. 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]

38. Arvada, Colorado, has a storied past that is filled with historical moments. The area saw the first gold strike in the state back on June 22, 1850. The city was also known as “The Celery Capital” of the world back in the late 1800s. Today, Arvada is synonymous with first-class restaurants, shopping boutiques, stores, and residential establishments just 15 minutes from Denver.

39. 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.

40. Colorado is also one of the world’s largest molybdenum producers (a chemical element with symbol Mo and atomic number 42). It also helped the United States became the second largest producer of the element after China. Molybdenum has the sixth-highest melting point of any element.[17,18]

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway, Denver, Colorado. Interesting facts about Colorado.
The Mount Evans Scenic Byway, Denver, Colorado USA – 29 April 2019 Highest paved road in North America leading up to the top of Mount Evans.

41. Colorado’s Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in North America.[22]

42. The state has fresh and powdery snow that attracts millions of skiers and snowboarders to its slopes each year. Tourism is a huge industry in the state attracting billions of dollars in revenue every year.[24]

43. Fort Collins is genuinely an art lover’s paradise with scores of art shops and boutiques all over town. The city is home to Pianos About Town, which commissions local artists that paint pianos and place them throughout the town for public view.

Locals and visitors can watch the artists create masterpieces on pianos, including murals and other eye-catching visuals. Local musicians then play the pianos for an art and music experience like no other!

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