Last updated on September 29th, 2018
Colorado is the 21st most populous and the 8th most extensive of the United States. It lies in the southwestern region of the United States. The state attained statehood on August 1, 1876, becoming the 38th state to join the union. It has seven (7) bordering states including New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska. See the full list of 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.
25 Informative facts about Colorado
1. The Spanish were the first European visitors who arrived in Colorado in the 1500s.
2. The state was named after the Colorado River. In Spanish, Colorado means “colored red.”[1,6]
3. The state is nicknamed the “Centennial State” because it joined the Union after a century of the United States Declaration of Independence.
4. 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]
5. 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.
Map of Colorado
6. It is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1000 meters’ elevation. Thus, it is also the nation’s highest state.
7. 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.
8. Almost 70% of the state’s population resides in the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains.
9. 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.
10. In the Western United States, a mountain peak with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet is known as a fourteener. There are 53 such fourteeners in Colorado.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. The gold rush happened in Colorado between 1858 – 59. The gold was first discovered in Colorado in 1858 in present day Englewood.
15. After the formation of the territory of Colorado in 1861, William Gilpin was named the first governor of the state.
16. 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.
17. Colorado is also home to the United States Air Force Academy.
18. 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.
Flag of Colorado
19. Blue Mesa Reservoir is Colorado’s largest lake located entirely within the state. The reservoir has a surface area of 9180 acres.
20. Colorado has stricter vehicle emission regulations than many other states in the U.S.
21. 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.
22. The largest flat-topped mountain in the world – the Grand Mesa – is located in western Colorado. It has an area of 500 miles.
23. 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]
24. 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.
25. 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]
Colorado – Quick Facts and State Symbols
|State Size||Total (Land + Water): 104,094 sq miles; Land Only: 103,718 sq miles|
(Estimate July 1, 2017 from United States Census Bureau)
|Statehood||August 1, 1876
|State rank by population||21st|
|State rank by date of formation||38th|
|State rank by area||8th|
|Number of Counties||64|
|Bordering States||Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming
|Highest Point||Mount Elbert in Lake County|
|Lowest point||Arikaree River at the Kansas border
3,317 ft (1011 m)
|Length||280 miles (450 km)
|Width||380 miles (610 km)
|State Motto||Nil sine numine (Nothing without the Deity)
|State Nickname||Centennial State
|Nobel Prize Winners||Edward Tatum (Physiology or Medicine, 1958)
Willard F. Libby (Chemistry, 1960)
John L. Hall (Physics, 2005)
|Famous people||Dutch Clark (Pro Football player)
Rich Gossage (Baseball player)
|State coat of arms|
|Reptile||Western painted turtle
|Amphibian||Western tiger salamander
|State fish||Greenback cutthroat trout
|State mammal||Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep
|State Bird||Lark bunting
|Pet||Colorado shelter pets
|Cactus||Claret cup cactus
|State Tree||Colorado blue spruce
|State Insect||Colorado hairstreak butterfly
|Longitude||102°03'W to 109°03'W
|Latitude||37°N to 41°N
|Time Zone||Mountain Time Zone|
|Table last updated||21 June, 2018|