Colorado Travel Facts

Colorado Travel Facts
Year Colorado Became a State: 1876
Nickname:The Centennial State
Timezone:Mountain Standard
Population:5,029,196 (2010)
Land Area:103,717.5 sq. miles (8th largest state in land area)
Highest Point:14,433 feet — Mount Elbert
Lowest Elevation:3,315 feet — the Arikaree River
Average Altitude:6,800 feet
Average days of sunshine per year along Colorado's Front Range300
Ski Resorts:28
Fourteeners (peaks that top 14,000-plus feet in elevation)58
National Parks4 — Mesa Verde National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
State Parks43
National Forests and National Grasslands15
Scenic and Historic Byways26 (13 of which are also America's Byways)
National Monuments and National Recreation Areas11
National Heritage Areas3
WineriesMore than 150
Craft Breweries400 and counting
Craft Distilleries100 and counting
Scenic and Historic Railways10
Rivers and LakesHome to the headwaters of 7 major rivers; 8,000 miles of rivers; 2,000 lakes
Wildlife Species960
Dude and Guest RanchesMore than 30
Ghost Towns1,500
Mountain Ranges7

Colorado Fun Facts

  • The world's largest flat-top mountain is the Grand Mesa.
  • Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous U.S. highway, leaves Rocky Mountain National Park on the east and soars to 12,183 feet as it crosses the Continental Divide to the Western Slope.
  • The highest paved road in North America is the road to Mount Evans off of I-70 from Idaho Springs. The road climbs up to 14,258 feet above sea level.
  • Colorado has more craft breweries per capita than any other state.
  • The Dwight Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel between Clear Creek and Summit counties is the highest auto tunnel in the world. Bored at an elevation of 11,000 feet under the Continental Divide, it is 8,960 feet long.
  • Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the United States at 10,430 feet elevation. Because there were many "silver" named towns at the time, the founding fathers suggested Leadville.
  • The tallest sand dunes in America are in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve outside of Alamosa in south-central Colorado. This 149,512-acre landscape of 8,000-foot sand peaks was created by ocean waters and wind more than one million years ago.
  • Colorado is home to 58 14,000-feet mountain peaks, more than any other state in the United States.
  • Colorado has the highest mean altitude of all the states.
  • The Kit Carson County Carousel in Burlington dates back to 1905, making it the oldest wooden merry-go-round in the United States. It is the only wooden carousel in America that still has its original paint.
  • One of the highest suspension bridges in the world is over the Royal Gorge near Cañon City. The Royal Gorge Bridge spans the Arkansas River at a height of 1,053 feet.
  • The world's largest natural hot springs pool is located in Glenwood Springs. The two-block long pool is across the street from the historic Hotel Colorado, a favorite stop of former president Teddy Roosevelt.
  • The highest point in Colorado is Mount Elbert at 14,433 feet.
  • The oldest existing Colorado town, San Luis (in south-central Colorado), was founded in 1851.
  • A golf ball flies on average 10 percent farther in Colorado than other states because of the altitude. It flies even farther at higher altitudes (above 7,000 feet).
  • There are canyons deeper and narrower than the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, but no other canyon in North America combines this gorge’s depth with its width.
  • Grand Lake, on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park, is the largest natural lake in the state.

Mile High Trivia

  • The 13th step of the state capitol building in Denver is one mile (5,280 feet) above sea level.
  • "Beulah red" is the name of the red marble that gives the Colorado State Capitol its distinctive splendor. Cutting, polishing and installing the marble in the capitol took six years, from 1894 to 1900. All of the "Beulah red" marble in the world went into the capitol.
  • Colfax Avenue in Denver is the longest continuous street in America.
  • Denver has the largest city park system in the nation, with 205 parks in city limits and 20,000 acres of parkland in the nearby mountains.

Historic Hot Spots

  • Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike explored the southwest portion of the Louisiana Territory in 1806, and though he never climbed the peak that bears his name, he did publish a report that attracted a lot of interest to the area. In fact, a trip to the top of Pikes Peak in 1893 inspired Katherine Lee Bates to write the ballad "America the Beautiful."
  • In Fruita, the town folk celebrate Mike the Headless Chicken Day. Seems that a farmer named L.A. Olsen cut off Mike's head on September 10, 1945 in anticipation of a chicken dinner — and Mike lived for another four years without a head.
  • The Stanley Hotel, in Estes Park, has a long list of celebrities and heads of state that have stayed at the luxurious 1909 hostelry, which was also said to be the inspiration behind author Stephen King's novel The Shining.
  • Greeley is home to the internationally acclaimed Greeley Independence Stampede, which dates back to the 1800s and features national rodeo events, live music performances from national headliners, carnivals and more.
  • For 16 years, Bent’s Old Fort was the lifeblood of trade trappers and hunters along the Santa Fe Trail. The fort was created by two brothers, both of whom were known as good brokers of peace with Indian nations in the area. Around 550 A.D, a basketmaker culture developed in south-western Colorado.
  • Ancestral Puebloans: this native tribe formed and built villages in rock canyons.  Today parts of their intricate structures still stand at Mesa Verde National Park near Cortez, which was the first national park created solely to preserve the work of humans.