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Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain West subregion of the
Western United States The Western United States (also called the American West, the Far West, and the West) is the List of regions of the United States#Census Bureau-designated regions and divisions, region comprising the westernmost U.S. state, states of the United ...
. It encompasses most of the Southern Rocky Mountains, as well as the northeastern portion of the
Colorado Plateau The Colorado Plateau, also known as the Colorado Plateau Province, is a United States physiographic region, physiographic and desert, desert region of the Intermontane Plateaus, roughly centered on the Four Corners region of the southwestern Uni ...
and the western edge of the
Great Plains The Great Plains (french: Grandes Plaines), sometimes simply "the Plains", is a broad expanse of plain, flatland in North America. It is located west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains, much of it covered in prairie, step ...
. Colorado is the eighth most extensive and 21st most populous U.S. state. The
2020 United States census The United States census of 2020 was the twenty-fourth decennial United States census. Census Day, the reference day used for the census, was April 1, 2020. Other than a pilot study during the 2000 United States census, 2000 census, this was the ...
enumerated the population of Colorado at 5,773,714, an increase of 14.80% since the
2010 United States census The United States census of 2010 was the twenty-third United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in N ...
. The region has been inhabited by Native Americans and their
ancestors An ancestor, also known as a forefather, fore-elder or a forebear, is a parent or (Recursion, recursively) the parent of an antecedent (i.e., a grandparent, great-grandparent, great-great-grandparent and so forth). ''Ancestor'' is "any person ...
for at least 13,500 years and possibly much longer. The eastern edge of the
Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range and the largest mountain system in North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch in great-circle distance, straight-line distance from the northernmost part of western Can ...
was a major migration route for early peoples who spread throughout the Americas. "''Colorado''" is the Spanish adjective meaning "ruddy", the color of the
Fountain Formation The Fountain Formation is a Pennsylvanian (geology), Pennsylvanian bedrock unit consisting primarily of conglomerate (geology), conglomerate, sandstone, or arkose, in the states of Colorado and Wyoming in the United States, along the east side of ...
outcroppings found up and down the
Front Range The Front Range is a mountain range of the Southern Rocky Mountains of North America located in the central portion of the U.S. Colorado, State of Colorado, and southeastern portion of the U.S. Wyoming, State of Wyoming. It is the first mountain ...
of the Rocky Mountains. The Territory of Colorado was organized on February 28, 1861, and on August 1, 1876, U.S. President
Ulysses S. Grant Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant ; April 27, 1822July 23, 1885) was an American military officer and politician who served as the 18th president of the United States from 1869 to 1877. As Commanding General of the United States ...
signed Proclamation 230 admitting Colorado to the Union as the 38th state. Colorado is nicknamed the " Centennial State" because it became a state one century after the signing of the
United States Declaration of Independence The United States Declaration of Independence, formally The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen States of America, is the pronouncement and founding document adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at Independence Hall, Pennsylv ...
. Colorado is bordered by
Wyoming Wyoming () is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. It is bordered by Montana to the north and northwest, South Dakota and Nebraska to the east, Idaho to the west, Utah to the south ...
to the north,
Nebraska Nebraska () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. It is bordered by South Dakota to the north; Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, both across the Missouri River; Kansas ...
to the northeast,
Kansas Kansas () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. Its Capital city, capital is Topeka, Kansas, Topeka, and its largest city is Wichita, Kansas, Wichita. Kansas is a landlocked state bordered by Nebras ...
to the east,
Oklahoma Oklahoma (; Choctaw language, Choctaw: ; chr, ᎣᎧᎳᎰᎹ, ''Okalahoma'' ) is a U.S. state, state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States, bordered by Texas on the south and west, Kansas on the nor ...
to the southeast,
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe, New Mexico, Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque, New Mexico, Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Albuquerque metropolitan area, Tiguex , Offi ...
to the south, and
Utah Utah ( , ) is a state in the Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Utah is a landlocked U.S. state bordered to its east by Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West su ...
to the west, and touches
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak ) is a U.S. state, state in the Southwestern United States. It is the list of U.S. states and territories by area, 6th largest and the list of U.S. states and territories by population, 14 ...
to the southwest at the
Four Corners The Four Corners is a region of the Southwestern United States consisting of the Southwest Colorado, southwestern corner of Colorado, San Juan County, Utah, southeastern corner of Utah, northeastern corner of Arizona, and Northern New Mexi ...
. Colorado is noted for its vivid landscape of
mountains A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. Although definitions vary, a mountain may differ from a plateau in having a limited Summit (topography), summit area, and ...
,
forests A forest is an area of land dominated by trees. Hundreds of definitions of forest are used throughout the world, incorporating factors such as tree density, tree height, land use, legal standing, and ecological function. The United Nations' ...
, high plains,
mesa A mesa is an isolated, flat-topped elevation, ridge or hill, which is bounded from all sides by steep escarpments and stands distinctly above a surrounding plain. Mesas characteristically consist of flat-lying soft sedimentary rocks capped by a ...
s,
canyon A canyon (from ; archaic British English spelling: ''cañon''), or gorge, is a deep cleft between escarpments or cliffs resulting from weathering and the erosion, erosive activity of a river over geologic time scales. Rivers have a natural tenden ...
s,
plateau In geology and physical geography, a plateau (; ; ), also called a high plain or a tableland, is an area of a highland consisting of flat terrain that is raised sharply above the surrounding area on at least one side. Often one or more sides ha ...
s,
rivers A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of wate ...
, and desert lands. Colorado is one of the
Mountain States The Mountain states (also known as the Mountain West or the Interior West) form one of the nine geographic divisions of the United States that are officially recognized by the United States Census Bureau. It is a subregion of the Western Un ...
, and is a part of the
western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska Western is a village in Saline County, Nebraska, Saline County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 224 at the 2020 United States Census, 2020 census. History Western was laid out in 1 ...
and
southwestern The points of the compass are a set of horizontal, radially arrayed compass directions (or azimuths) used in navigation Navigation is a field of study that focuses on the process of monitoring and controlling the motion, movement of a craft ...
United States.
Denver Denver () is a consolidated city and county, the capital, and most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Its population was 715,522 at the 2020 census, a 19.22% increase since 2010. It is the 19th-most populous city in the Unite ...
is the capital of and most populous city in Colorado. Residents of the state are known as Coloradans, although the antiquated "Coloradoan" is occasionally used. Major parts of the economy include government and defense, mining, agriculture, tourism, and increasingly other kinds of manufacturing. With increasing temperatures and decreasing water availability, Colorado's agriculture, forestry, and tourism economies are expected to be heavily affected by climate change. Colorado is one of the most educated, developed, and wealthiest states, ranking 3rd in percentage of population 25 and over with a bachelor's degree and 8th in percentage of population 25 and over with an advanced degree, 9th on the American Human Development Index, 8th in per capita income and 9th in median household income.


History

The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans and their Paleoamerican ancestors for at least 13,500 years and possibly more than 37,000 years. The eastern edge of the
Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range and the largest mountain system in North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch in great-circle distance, straight-line distance from the northernmost part of western Can ...
was a major migration route that was important to the spread of early peoples throughout the Americas. The Lindenmeier site in Larimer County contains artifacts dating from approximately 8720 BCE. The
Ancient Pueblo peoples The Ancestral Puebloans, also known as the Anasazi, were an ancient Native American culture that spanned the present-day Four Corners The Four Corners is a region of the Southwestern United States consisting of the Southwest Colorad ...
lived in the valleys and mesas of the
Colorado Plateau The Colorado Plateau, also known as the Colorado Plateau Province, is a United States physiographic region, physiographic and desert, desert region of the Intermontane Plateaus, roughly centered on the Four Corners region of the southwestern Uni ...
. The
Ute Nation Ute () are the Indigenous people of the Ute tribe and culture among the Indigenous peoples of the Great Basin The Indigenous peoples of the Great Basin are Native Americans in the United States, Native Americans of the northern Great Basin, Sna ...
inhabited the mountain valleys of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains, even as far east as the Front Range of the present day. The
Apache The Apache () are a group of culturally related Native American tribes in the Southwestern United States, which include the Chiricahua, Jicarilla, Lipan, Mescalero, Mimbreño, Ndendahe (Bedonkohe or Mogollon and Nednhi or Carrizaleño ...
and the
Comanche The Comanche or Nʉmʉnʉʉ ( com, Nʉmʉnʉʉ, "the people") are a Native Americans in the United States, Native American tribe (Native American), tribe from the Great Plains, Southern Plains of the present-day United States. Comanche people t ...
also inhabited Eastern and Southeastern parts of the state. In the
17th century The 17th century lasted from January 1, 1601 This Epoch (reference date)#Computing, epoch is the beginning of the 400-year Gregorian leap-year cycle within which digital files first existed; the last year of any such cycle is the only leap y ...
, the
Arapaho The Arapaho (; french: Arapahos, ) are a Native Americans in the United States, Native American people historically living on the plains of Colorado and Wyoming. They were close allies of the Cheyenne tribe and loosely aligned with the Lakota p ...
and
Cheyenne The Cheyenne ( ) are an Indigenous people of the Great Plains. Their Cheyenne language belongs to the Algonquian languages, Algonquian language family. Today, the Cheyenne people are split into two federally recognized tribe, federally recognize ...
moved west from the
Great Lakes region The Great Lakes region of North America is a binational Canada, Canadian–United States, American region that includes portions of the eight U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York (state), New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania ...
to hunt across the High Plains of Colorado and
Wyoming Wyoming () is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. It is bordered by Montana to the north and northwest, South Dakota and Nebraska to the east, Idaho to the west, Utah to the south ...
. The
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) was a colonial empire governed by Spain and its History ...
claimed Colorado as part of its New Mexico province before U.S. involvement in the region. The U.S. acquired a territorial claim to the eastern Rocky Mountains with the
Louisiana Purchase The Louisiana Purchase (french: Vente de la Louisiane, translation=Sale of Louisiana) was the acquisition of the Louisiana (New France), territory of Louisiana by the United States from the French First Republic in 1803. In return for fifteen ...
from France in 1803. This U.S. claim conflicted with the claim by Spain to the upper Arkansas River Basin as the exclusive trading zone of its colony of
Santa Fe de Nuevo México Santa Fe de Nuevo México ( en, Holy Faith of New Mexico; shortened as Nuevo México or Nuevo Méjico, and translated as New Mexico in English) was a Kingdom of the Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio español), also k ...
. In 1806,
Zebulon Pike Zebulon Montgomery Pike (January 5, 1779 – April 27, 1813) was an American brigadier general and explorer for whom Pikes Peak in Colorado was named. As a United States Army, U.S. Army officer he led two expeditions under authority of President ...
led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed region. Colonel Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalrymen in the
San Luis Valley The San Luis Valley is a region in south-central Colorado with a small portion overlapping into New Mexico. The valley is approximately long and wide, extending from the Continental Divide on the northwest rim into New Mexico on the south. It co ...
the following February, taken to
Chihuahua Chihuahua may refer to: Places *Chihuahua (state), a Mexican state **Chihuahua (dog), a breed of dog named after the state **Chihuahua cheese, a type of cheese originating in the state **Chihuahua City, the capital city of the state **Chihuahua Mun ...
, and expelled from Mexico the following July. The U.S. relinquished its claim to all land south and west of the
Arkansas River The Arkansas River is a major tributary A tributary, or affluent, is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and the main ...
and south of
42nd parallel north The 42nd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 42 degree (angle), degrees true north, north of the Earth, Earth's equator, equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atla ...
and west of the
100th meridian west The meridian 100° west of the Prime Meridian A prime meridian is an arbitrary meridian (geography), meridian (a line of longitude) in a geographic coordinate system at which longitude is defined to be 0°. Together, a prime meridian and ...
as part of its purchase of Florida from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. The treaty took effect on February 22, 1821. Having settled its border with Spain, the U.S. admitted the southeastern portion of the Territory of Missouri to the Union as the
state of Missouri Missouri is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...
on August 10, 1821. The remainder of Missouri Territory, including what would become northeastern Colorado, became an unorganized territory and remained so for 33 years over the question of slavery. After 11 years of war, Spain finally recognized the independence of Mexico with the
Treaty of Córdoba The Treaty of Córdoba established Mexican independence from Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Furth ...
signed on August 24, 1821. Mexico eventually ratified the Adams–Onís Treaty in 1831. The Texian Revolt of 1835–36 fomented a dispute between the U.S. and Mexico which eventually erupted into the
Mexican–American War The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the (''United States intervention in Mexico''), was an armed conflict between the United States and Second Federal Republic of Mexico, Mexico f ...
in 1846. Mexico surrendered its northern territory to the U.S. with the
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ( es, Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo), officially the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits, and Settlement between the United States of America and the United Mexican States, is the peace treaty that was signed on 2 ...
after the war in 1848. Most American
settler A settler is a person who has human migration, migrated to an area and established a permanent residence there, often to colonize the area. A settler who migrates to an area previously uninhabited or sparsely inhabited may be described as a ...
s traveling overland west to the
Oregon Country Oregon Country was a large region of the Pacific Northwest of North America North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, ...
, the new goldfields of California, or the new
Mormon Mormons are a Religious denomination, religious and cultural group related to Mormonism, the principal branch of the Latter Day Saint movement started by Joseph Smith in upstate New York during the 1820s. After Smith's death in 1844, the mov ...
settlements of the
State of Deseret The State of Deseret (modern pronunciation , contemporaneously ) was a proposed U.S. state, state of the United States, proposed in 1849 by settlers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in Salt Lake City. The provi ...
in the
Salt Lake Valley Salt Lake Valley is a valley in Salt Lake County, Utah, Salt Lake County in the north-central portion of the U.S. state of Utah. It contains Salt Lake City, Utah, Salt Lake City and many of its suburbs, notably Murray, Utah, Murray, Sandy, Uta ...
, avoided the rugged Southern Rocky Mountains, and instead followed the
North Platte River The North Platte River is a major tributary A tributary, or affluent, is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and the ...
and Sweetwater River to
South Pass (Wyoming) South Pass (elevation and ) is the collective term for two mountain passes on the American Continental Divide of the Americas, Continental Divide, in the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Wyoming. It lies in a broad high region, wide, between the ...
, the lowest crossing of the
Continental Divide A continental divide is a drainage divide A drainage divide, water divide, ridgeline, watershed, water parting or height of land is elevated terrain that separates neighboring drainage basins. On rugged land, the divide lies along topograph ...
between the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Central Rocky Mountains. In 1849, the Mormons of the Salt Lake Valley organized the extralegal
State of Deseret The State of Deseret (modern pronunciation , contemporaneously ) was a proposed U.S. state, state of the United States, proposed in 1849 by settlers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in Salt Lake City. The provi ...
, claiming the entire
Great Basin The Great Basin is the largest area of contiguous endorheic basin, endorheic watersheds, those with no outlets, in North America. It spans nearly all of Nevada, much of Utah, and portions of California, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, and Baja California ...
and all lands drained by the rivers
Green Green is the color Color (American English) or colour (British English) is the visual perception, visual perceptual Physical property, property deriving from the spectrum of light interacting with the photoreceptor cells of the eyes ...
,
Grand Grand may refer to: People with the name * Grand (surname) * Grand L. Bush (born 1955), American actor * Grand Mixer DXT, American turntablist * Grand Puba (born 1966), American rapper Places * Grand, Oklahoma * Grand, Vosges, village and commun ...
, and
Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. It encompasses most of the Southern Rocky Mountains, as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the wes ...
. The federal government of the U.S. flatly refused to recognize the new Mormon government, because it was
theocratic Theocracy is a form of government in which one or more deity, deities are recognized as supreme ruling authorities, giving divine guidance to human intermediaries who manage the government's daily affairs. Etymology The word theocracy origina ...
and sanctioned
plural marriage Polygamy (called plural marriage by Latter-day Saints in the 19th century or the Principle by modern Mormon fundamentalism, fundamentalist practitioners of polygamy) was practiced by leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (L ...
. Instead, the
Compromise of 1850 The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five separate bills passed by the United States Congress in September 1850 that defused a political confrontation between slave and free states on the status of Mexican Cession, territories acquired in t ...
divided the
Mexican Cession The Mexican Cession ( es, Cesión mexicana) is the region in the modern-day southwestern United States The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest or simply the Southwest, is a geographic and cultural region of the ...
and the northwestern claims of Texas into a new state and two new territories, the
state of California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, located along the West Coast of the United States, Pacific Coast. With nearly 39.2million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territori ...
, the
Territory of New Mexico The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912. It was created from the U.S. provisional government of New Mexico, as a result of ''Santa Fe de Nuevo México ...
, and the
Territory of Utah The Territory of Utah was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 4, 1896, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the United States, Union as the Utah, State of ...
. On April 9, 1851,
Mexican American Mexican Americans ( es, mexicano-estadounidenses, , or ) are Americans of full or partial Mexicans, Mexican heritage. In 2019, Mexican Americans comprised 11.3% of the US population and 61.5% of all Hispanic and Latino Americans. In 2019, 71% ...
settlers from the area of Taos settled the village of San Luis, then in the
New Mexico Territory The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912. It was created from the U.S. provisional government of New Mexico, as a result of ''Santa Fe de Nuevo México ...
, later to become Colorado's first permanent
Euro-American European Americans (also referred to as Euro-Americans) are Americans Americans are the citizens and nationals of the United States of America.; ; Although direct citizens and nationals make up the majority of Americans, many dual cit ...
settlement. In 1854, Senator
Stephen A. Douglas Stephen Arnold Douglas (April 23, 1813 – June 3, 1861) was an American politician and lawyer from Illinois. A U.S. Senator, senator, he was one of two nominees of the badly split History of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Pa ...
persuaded the
U.S. Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicameralism, bicameral, composed of a lower body, the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives, and an upper body, ...
to divide the unorganized territory east of the
Continental Divide A continental divide is a drainage divide A drainage divide, water divide, ridgeline, watershed, water parting or height of land is elevated terrain that separates neighboring drainage basins. On rugged land, the divide lies along topograph ...
into two new organized territories, the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska, and an unorganized southern region known as the
Indian territory The Indian Territory and the Indian Territories are terms that generally described an evolving land area set aside by the Federal government of the United States, United States Government for the relocation of Native Americans in the United St ...
. Each new territory was to decide the fate of slavery within its boundaries, but this compromise merely served to fuel animosity between free soil and
pro-slavery Proslavery is a support for slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave—someone forbidden to quit one's service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as property. Slavery typic ...
factions. The gold seekers organized the Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson on August 24, 1859, but this new territory failed to secure approval from the
Congress of the United States The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicameralism, bicameral, composed of a lower body, the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives, and an upper body, ...
embroiled in the debate over slavery. The election of
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln ( ; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American lawyer, politician, and statesman who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Lincoln led the nation throu ...
for the President of the United States on November 6, 1860, led to the
secession Secession is the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a polity, political entity, but also from any organization, union or military alliance. Some of the most famous and significant secessions have been: the former republics of ...
of nine southern
slave states In the United States before 1865, a slave state was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The Stat ...
and the threat of civil war among the states. Seeking to augment the political power of the Union states, the Republican Party-dominated Congress quickly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas into the Union as the free
State of Kansas Kansas () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...
on January 29, 1861, leaving the western portion of the Kansas Territory, and its gold-mining areas, as unorganized territory.


Territory act

Thirty days later on February 28, 1861, outgoing U.S. President
James Buchanan James Buchanan Jr. ( ; April 23, 1791June 1, 1868) was an American lawyer, diplomat and politician who served as the 15th president of the United States from 1857 to 1861. He previously served as United States Secretary of State, secretary of ...
signed an Act of Congress organizing the
free Free may refer to: Concept * Freedom, having the ability to do something, without having to obey anyone/anything * Freethought, a position that beliefs should be formed only on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism * Emancipate, to procure ...
Territory of Colorado. The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged except for government survey amendments. The name Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the
Colorado River The Colorado River ( es, Río Colorado) is one of the principal rivers (along with the Rio Grande) in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The river drains an expansive, arid drainage basin, watershed that encompasses parts of ...
originated in the territory. In 1776, Spanish priest
Silvestre Vélez de Escalante Silvestre is a Spanish language, Spanish and Portuguese language, Portuguese given name or surname, or a French language, French surname. Notable people with the name include: Surname *Cindy Silvestre (born 1993), a French kickboxer *Franck Silves ...
recorded that Native Americans in the area knew the river as '' el Rio Colorado'' for the red-brown silt that the river carried from the mountains. In 1859, a U.S. Army
topographic Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surface Terrain or relief (also topography, topographical relief) involves the vertical and horizontal dimensions of land surface. The term bathymetry is used to describe under ...
expedition led by Captain John Macomb located the confluence of the Green River with the Grand River in what is now
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park is an American national park located in southeastern Utah near the town of Moab, Utah, Moab. The park preserves a colorful landscape eroded into numerous canyons, mesas, and buttes by the Colorado River, the Green River ...
in
Utah Utah ( , ) is a state in the Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Utah is a landlocked U.S. state bordered to its east by Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West su ...
.Report of the exploring expedition from Santa Fé, New Mexico, to the junction of the Grand and Green Rivers of the great Colorado of the West, in 1859: under the command of Capt. J. N. Macomb, Corps of topographical engineers, Volume
@ archive.org
/ref> The Macomb party designated the confluence as the source of the Colorado River. On April 12, 1861,
South Carolina )''Animis opibusque parati'' ( for, , Latin, Prepared in mind and resources, links=no) , anthem = "Carolina (state song), Carolina";"South Carolina On My Mind" , Former = Province of South Carolina , seat = Columbia, South Carolina, Columbia , ...
artillery opened fire on
Fort Sumter Fort Sumter is a sea fort built on an artificial island An artificial island is an island that has been constructed by people rather than formed by natural means. Artificial islands may vary in size from small islets reclaimed solely to s ...
to start the
American Civil War The American Civil War (April 12, 1861 – May 26, 1865; also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States. It was fought between the Union (American Civil War), Union ("the North") and t ...
. While many gold seekers held sympathies for the Confederacy, the vast majority remained fiercely loyal to the Union cause. In 1862, a force of Texas cavalry invaded the
Territory of New Mexico The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912. It was created from the U.S. provisional government of New Mexico, as a result of ''Santa Fe de Nuevo México ...
and captured Santa Fe on March 10. The object of this Western Campaign was to seize or disrupt the gold fields of Colorado and California and to seize ports on the Pacific Ocean for the Confederacy. A hastily organized force of Colorado volunteers force-marched from Denver City, Colorado Territory, to
Glorieta Pass Glorieta Pass (elevation 7500 ft.) is a mountain pass A mountain pass is a navigable route through a mountain range or over a ridge. Since many of the world's mountain ranges have presented formidable barriers to travel, passes have play ...
, New Mexico Territory, in an attempt to block the Texans. On March 28, the Coloradans and local New Mexico volunteers stopped the Texans at the
Battle of Glorieta Pass The Battle of Glorieta Pass (March 26–28, 1862) in the northern New Mexico Territory, was the decisive battle of the New Mexico campaign during the American Civil War. Dubbed the "Battle of Gettysburg, Gettysburg of the West" by some author ...
, destroyed their cannon and supply wagons, and dispersed 500 of their horses and mules. The Texans were forced to retreat to Santa Fe. Having lost the supplies for their campaign and finding little support in New Mexico, the Texans abandoned Santa Fe and returned to
San Antonio ("Cradle of Freedom") , image_map = , mapsize = 220px , map_caption = Interactive map of San Antonio , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name = United States , subdivision_type1= U.S. state, State , subdivision_name1 = Texas , s ...
in defeat. The Confederacy made no further attempts to seize the Southwestern United States. In 1864, Territorial Governor John Evans appointed the Reverend
John Chivington John Milton Chivington (January 27, 1821 – October 4, 1894) was an American Methodist Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related Christian denomination, denominations of Protestantism, Protestan ...
as Colonel of the Colorado Volunteers with orders to protect white settlers from
Cheyenne The Cheyenne ( ) are an Indigenous people of the Great Plains. Their Cheyenne language belongs to the Algonquian languages, Algonquian language family. Today, the Cheyenne people are split into two federally recognized tribe, federally recognize ...
and
Arapaho The Arapaho (; french: Arapahos, ) are a Native Americans in the United States, Native American people historically living on the plains of Colorado and Wyoming. They were close allies of the Cheyenne tribe and loosely aligned with the Lakota p ...
warriors who were accused of stealing cattle. Colonel Chivington ordered his men to attack a band of Cheyenne and Arapaho encamped along Sand Creek. Chivington reported that his troops killed more than 500 warriors. The militia returned to Denver City in triumph, but several officers reported that the so-called battle was a blatant massacre of Indians at peace, that most of the dead were women and children, and that bodies of the dead had been hideously mutilated and desecrated. Three U.S. Army inquiries condemned the action, and incoming President
Andrew Johnson Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808July 31, 1875) was the 17th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president direc ...
asked Governor Evans for his resignation, but none of the perpetrators was ever punished. This event is now known as the Sand Creek massacre. In the midst and aftermath of the Civil War, many discouraged prospectors returned to their homes, but a few stayed and developed mines, mills, farms, ranches, roads, and towns in Colorado Territory. On September 14, 1864, James Huff discovered silver near Argentine Pass, the first of many silver strikes. In 1867, the
Union Pacific Railroad The Union Pacific Railroad , legally Union Pacific Railroad Company and often called simply Union Pacific, is a freight-hauling railroad that operates 8,300 locomotives over routes in 23 U.S. states west of Chicago and New Orleans. Union Paci ...
laid its tracks west to Weir, now Julesburg, in the northeast corner of the Territory. The Union Pacific linked up with the
Central Pacific Railroad The Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) was a rail company chartered by Pacific Railroad Acts, U.S. Congress in 1862 to build a railroad eastwards from Sacramento, California, to complete the western part of the "First transcontinental railroad" in N ...
at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869, to form the
First transcontinental railroad North America's first transcontinental railroad (known originally as the "Pacific Railroad" and later as the "Overland Route (Union Pacific Railroad), Overland Route") was a continuous railroad line constructed between 1863 and 1869 that connec ...
. The Denver Pacific Railway reached Denver in June the following year, and the Kansas Pacific arrived two months later to forge the second line across the continent. In 1872, rich veins of silver were discovered in the
San Juan Mountains The San Juan Mountains is a high and rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. The area is highly mineralized (the Colorado Mineral Belt) and figured in the gold and silver mining industry ...
on the Ute Indian reservation in southwestern Colorado. The Ute people were removed from the San Juans the following year.


Statehood

The
United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicameralism, bicameral, composed of a lower body, the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives, and an upper body, ...
passed an enabling act on March 3, 1875, specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a state. On August 1, 1876 (four weeks after the Centennial of the United States), U.S. President
Ulysses S. Grant Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant ; April 27, 1822July 23, 1885) was an American military officer and politician who served as the 18th president of the United States from 1869 to 1877. As Commanding General of the United States ...
signed a proclamation admitting Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the moniker "Centennial State". The discovery of a major silver lode near
Leadville The City of Leadville is a List of municipalities in Colorado#Statutory city, statutory city that is the county seat, the most populous community, and the only List of municipalities in Colorado, incorporated municipality in Lake County, Colorad ...
in 1878 triggered the
Colorado Silver Boom The Colorado Silver Boom was a dramatic expansionist period of silver Silver is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ag (from the Latin ', derived from the Proto-Indo-European wikt:Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/h₂er ...
. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 invigorated silver mining, and Colorado's last, but greatest, gold strike at Cripple Creek a few months later lured a new generation of gold seekers. Colorado women were granted the right to vote on November 7, 1893, making Colorado the second state to grant
universal suffrage Universal suffrage (also called universal franchise, general suffrage, and common suffrage of the common man) gives the right to vote to all adult citizens, regardless of wealth, income, gender, social status, race, ethnicity, or political sta ...
and the first one by a popular vote (of Colorado men). The repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in 1893 led to a staggering collapse of the mining and agricultural economy of Colorado, but the state slowly and steadily recovered. Between the 1880s and 1930s, Denver's floriculture industry developed into a major industry in Colorado. This period became known locally as the Carnation Gold Rush.


Twentieth and twenty-first centuries

Poor labor conditions and discontent among miners resulted in several major clashes between strikers and the
Colorado National Guard The Colorado National Guard consists of the Colorado Army National Guard and Colorado Air National Guard, forming the state of Colorado's component to the United States National Guard. Founded in 1860, the Colorado National Guard falls under th ...
, including the 1903–1904 Western Federation of Miners Strike and
Colorado Coalfield War The Colorado Coalfield War was a major labor uprising in the Southern and Central Colorado Front Range between September 1913 and December 1914. Striking began in late summer 1913, organized by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) aga ...
, the latter of which included the Ludlow massacre that killed a dozen women and children.Philip Taft and Philip Ross, "American Labor Violence: Its Causes, Character, and Outcome", The History of Violence in America: A Report to the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, ed. Hugh Davis Graham and Ted Robert Gurr, 1969. Both the 1913–1914 Coalfield War and the Denver streetcar strike of 1920 resulted in federal troops intervening to end the violence. In 1927, the Columbine Mine massacre resulted in six dead strikers following a confrontation with Colorado Rangers. More than 5,000 Colorado miners—many immigrants—are estimated to have died in accidents since records were first formally collected following an 1884 accident in
Crested Butte Crested Butte is a prominent mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. Although definitions vary, a mountain may differ from a plateau in having a lim ...
that killed 59. In 1924, the
Ku Klux Klan The Ku Klux Klan (), commonly shortened to the KKK or the Klan, is an American white supremacist, Right-wing terrorism, right-wing terrorist, and hate group whose primary targets are African Americans, Jews, Hispanic and Latino Americans, L ...
Colorado Realm achieved dominance in Colorado politics. With peak membership levels, the Second Klan levied significant control over both the local and state Democrat and Republican parties, particularly in the governor's office and city governments of Denver, Cañon City, and
Durango Durango (), officially named Estado Libre y Soberano de Durango ( en, Free and Sovereign State of Durango; Tepehuán: ''Korian''; Nahuatl: ''Tepēhuahcān''), is one of the 31 states which make up the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico Mexic ...
. A particularly strong element of the Klan controlled the Denver Police.
Cross burning In modern times, cross burning or cross lighting is a practice which is associated with the Ku Klux Klan The Ku Klux Klan (), commonly shortened to the KKK or the Klan, is an American white supremacist, Right-wing terrorism, right-wing t ...
s became semi-regular occurrences in cities such as
Florence Florence ( ; it, Firenze ) is a city in Central Italy and the capital city of the Tuscany region. It is the most populated city in Tuscany, with 383,083 inhabitants in 2016, and over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area.Bilancio demografico ...
and Pueblo. The Klan targeted African-Americans,
Catholics The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
, Eastern European immigrants, and other non-White
Protestant Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Na ...
groups. Efforts by non-Klan lawmen and lawyers including Philip Van Cise lead to a rapid decline in the organization's power, with membership waning significantly by the end of the 1920s. Colorado became the first western state to host a major political convention when the Democratic Party met in Denver in 1908. By the U.S. census in 1930, the population of Colorado first exceeded one million residents. Colorado suffered greatly through the
Great Depression The Great Depression (19291939) was an economic shock that impacted most countries across the world. It was a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States. The Financial contagion, ...
and the
Dust Bowl The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s. The phenomenon was caused by a combination of both natural factors (severe drought) an ...
of the 1930s, but a major wave of immigration following
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
boosted Colorado's fortune. Tourism became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an important economic engine. The
United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the Federal Statistical System of the United States, U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the Americans, Ame ...
estimated that the population of Colorado exceeded five million in 2009. On September 11, 1957, a plutonium fire occurred at the
Rocky Flats Plant The Rocky Flats Plant was a U.S. manufacturing complex that produced nuclear weapons parts in the western United States, near Denver, Colorado. The facility's primary mission was the fabrication of plutonium pit (nuclear weapon), pits, whi ...
, which resulted in the significant plutonium contamination of surrounding populated areas. From the 1940s and 1970s, many protest movements gained momentum in Colorado, predominantly in Denver. This included the
Chicano Movement The Chicano Movement, also referred to as El Movimiento, was a civil rights movements, social and political movement in the United States inspired by prior acts of resistance among people of Mexican descent, especially of Pachucos in the 1940s and ...
, a
civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals. They ensure one's entitlement to participate in the civil and political lif ...
and social movement of
Mexican Americans Mexican Americans ( es, mexicano-estadounidenses, , or ) are Americans of full or partial Mexicans, Mexican heritage. In 2019, Mexican Americans comprised 11.3% of the US population and 61.5% of all Hispanic and Latino Americans. In 2019, 71% ...
emphasizing a
Chicano Chicano or Chicana is a chosen identity for many Mexican Americans in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, ...
identity that is widely considered to have begun in Denver. The National Chicano Liberation Youth Conference was held in Colorado in March 1969. In 1967, Colorado was the first state to loosen restrictions on
abortion Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus. An abortion that occurs without intervention is known as a miscarriage or "spontaneous abortion"; these occur in approximately 30% to 40% of pregnan ...
when governor John Love signed a law allowing abortions in cases of rape, incest, or threats to the woman's mental or physical health. Many states followed Colorado's lead in loosening abortion laws in the 1960s and 1970s. Since the late 1990s, Colorado has been the site of multiple major
mass shooting There is a lack of consensus on how to define a mass shooting. Most terms define a minimum of three or four victims of gun violence (not including the shooter or in an inner city) in a short period of time, although an Australian study from 200 ...
s, including the infamous
Columbine High School massacre On April 20, 1999, a school shooting and attempted bombing occurred at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, United States. The perpetrators, twelfth grade, 12th grade students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered 12 students and ...
in 1999 which made international news, where
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold Eric David Harris (April 9, 1981 – April 20, 1999) and Dylan Bennet Klebold (; September 11, 1981 – April 20, 1999) were an American mass murder duo who perpetrated the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999. Harris and Klebold ...
killed 12 students and one teacher, before committing suicide. The incident has since spawned many copycat incidents. On July 20, 2012, a gunman killed 12 people in a movie theater in
Aurora An aurora (plural: auroras or aurorae), also commonly known as the polar lights, is a natural light display in Earth's sky, predominantly seen in polar regions of Earth, high-latitude regions (around the Arctic and Antarctic). Auroras display ...
. The state responded with tighter restrictions on firearms, including introducing a limit on
magazine A magazine is a periodical literature, periodical publication, generally published on a regular schedule (often weekly or monthly), containing a variety of content (media), content. They are generally financed by advertising, newsagent's shop, ...
capacity. On March 22, 2021, a gunman killed 10 people, including a police officer, in a
King Soopers King Soopers is a supermarket brand of Kroger located in the Rocky Mountains of the United States. It started as its own brand and, today, is headquartered in Denver, Denver, Colorado. King Soopers has a significant presence in the state of Colo ...
supermarket in
Boulder In geology, a boulder (or rarely bowlder) is a rock (geology), rock fragment with size greater than in diameter. Smaller pieces are called cobble (geology), cobbles and pebbles. While a boulder may be small enough to move or roll manually, ot ...
. Four warships of the U.S. Navy have been named the USS ''Colorado''. The first USS ''Colorado'' was named for the Colorado River and served in the Civil War and later the
Asiatic Squadron The Asiatic Squadron was a squadron of United States Navy The United States Navy (USN) is the maritime military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the eight uniformed services of the United States. It ...
, where it was attacked during the 1871
Korean Expedition The United States expedition to Korea, known in Korea as the ''Shinmiyangyo'' () or simply the Korean Expedition, was the first American military action in Korea Korea ( ko, 한국, or , ) is a peninsular region in East Asia. Since 1945 ...
. The later three ships were named in honor of the state, the including an armored cruiser and the battleship USS ''Colorado'', the latter of which was the lead ship of her class and served in
World War II in the Pacific The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia–Pacific War, was the theater Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a re ...
beginning in 1941. At the time of the
attack on Pearl Harbor The attack on Pearl HarborAlso known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as t ...
, the battleship USS ''Colorado'' was located at the naval base in San Diego, California, and thus went unscathed. The most recent vessel to bear the name USS ''Colorado'' is
Virginia-class submarine The ''Virginia'' class, also known as the SSN-774 class, is a Ship classification, class of Nuclear marine propulsion, nuclear-powered Cruise missile submarine, cruise missile fast-attack submarines, in service in the United States Navy. Design ...
USS ''Colorado'' (SSN-788), which was commissioned in 2018.


Geography

Colorado is notable for its diverse
geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) and ‘Graphien’ (to describe), literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, i ...
, which includes alpine mountains, high plains, deserts with huge sand dunes, and deep canyons. In 1861, the
United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicameralism, bicameral, composed of a lower body, the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives, and an upper body, ...
defined the boundaries of the new Territory of Colorado exclusively by lines of
latitude In geography, latitude is a Geographic coordinate system, coordinate that specifies the north–south position of a point on the surface of the Earth or another celestial body. Latitude is given as an angle that ranges from –90° at the south ...
and
longitude Longitude (, ) is a geographic coordinate system, geographic coordinate that specifies the east–west position of a point on the surface of the Earth, or another Celestial navigation, celestial body. It is an angular measurement, usually exp ...
, stretching from 37°N to 41°N latitude, and from 102°02′48″W to 109°02′48″W longitude ( 25°W to 32°W from the
Washington Meridian The Washington meridians are four meridian (geography), meridians that were used as prime meridians in the United States and pass through History of Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C. The four which have been specified are: # through the United Sta ...
). After years of government surveys, the borders of Colorado were officially defined by 697
boundary marker A boundary marker, border marker, boundary stone, or border stone is a robust physical marker that identifies the start of a land Border, boundary or the change in a boundary, especially a change in direction of a boundary. There are several ...
s and 697 straight boundary lines. Colorado,
Wyoming Wyoming () is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. It is bordered by Montana to the north and northwest, South Dakota and Nebraska to the east, Idaho to the west, Utah to the south ...
, and
Utah Utah ( , ) is a state in the Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Utah is a landlocked U.S. state bordered to its east by Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West su ...
are the only states that have their borders defined solely by straight boundary lines with no natural features. The southwest corner of Colorado is the
Four Corners Monument The Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the Southwestern United States where the U.S. state, states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. It is the only point in the United States shared by four states, leading to the area ...
at 36°59′56″N, 109°2′43″W.The official
Four Corners Monument The Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the Southwestern United States where the U.S. state, states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. It is the only point in the United States shared by four states, leading to the area ...
is located at 36°59′56.31591″N, 109°2′42.62064″W, a short distance east of the 37°N, 109°02′48″W location
Congress A congress is a formal meeting of the Representative democracy, representatives of different countries, constituent states, organizations, trade unions, political party, political parties, or other groups. The term originated in Late Middle Eng ...
originally designated.
The
Four Corners Monument The Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the Southwestern United States where the U.S. state, states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. It is the only point in the United States shared by four states, leading to the area ...
, located at the place where Colorado,
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe, New Mexico, Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque, New Mexico, Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Albuquerque metropolitan area, Tiguex , Offi ...
,
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak ) is a U.S. state, state in the Southwestern United States. It is the list of U.S. states and territories by area, 6th largest and the list of U.S. states and territories by population, 14 ...
, and
Utah Utah ( , ) is a state in the Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Utah is a landlocked U.S. state bordered to its east by Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West su ...
meet, is the only place in the United States where four states meet.


Plains

Approximately half of Colorado is flat and rolling land. East of the Rocky Mountains are the
Colorado Eastern Plains The Eastern Plains of Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. It encompasses most of the Southern Rocky Mountains, as well as the northeastern portion ...
of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Nebraska at elevations ranging from roughly . The Colorado plains are mostly prairies but also include
deciduous forests In the fields of horticulture and Botany, the term ''deciduous'' () means "falling off at maturity" and "tending to fall off", in reference to trees and shrubs that seasonally shed Leaf, leaves, usually in the autumn; to the shedding of petals ...
,
butte __NOTOC__ In geomorphology, a butte () is an isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top; buttes are smaller landforms than mesas, plateaus, and table (landform), tablelands. The word ''butte'' comes from a F ...
s, and canyons.
Precipitation In meteorology, precipitation is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravitational pull from clouds. The main forms of precipitation include drizzle, rain, Rain and snow mixed, sleet, snow, ice pellets, ...
averages annually. Eastern Colorado is presently mainly farmland and rangeland, along with small farming villages and towns.
Corn Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn ( North American and Australian English Australian English (AusE, AusEng, AuE, AuEng, en-AU) is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties ...
,
wheat Wheat is a Poaceae, grass widely Agriculture, cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain that is a worldwide staple food. The Taxonomy of wheat, many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum'' ; the most widely grown is common wheat ...
,
hay Hay is grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous Family (biology), family of monocotyledonous flowering plants commonly known as grasses. It includes the cereal grasses, bamboos and the grasses of natural grassla ...
,
soybean The soybean, soy bean, or soya bean (''Glycine max'') is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean, which has numerous uses. Traditional unfermented food uses of soybeans include soy milk, from which tofu and ...
s, and oats are all typical crops. Most villages and towns in this region boast both a water tower and a
grain elevator A grain elevator is a facility designed to stockpile or store grain. In the grain trade, the term "grain elevator" also describes a tower containing a bucket elevator or a pneumatic conveyor, which scoops up grain from a lower level and deposits ...
. Irrigation water is available from both surface and subterranean sources. Surface water sources include the South Platte, the
Arkansas River The Arkansas River is a major tributary A tributary, or affluent, is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and the main ...
, and a few other streams. Subterranean water is generally accessed through
artesian well An artesian aquifer is a Aquifer#Confined versus unconfined, confined aquifer containing groundwater under positive pressure. An artesian aquifer has trapped water, surrounded by layers of Permeability (earth sciences), impermeable rock or cl ...
s. Heavy usage of these wells for irrigation purposes caused underground water reserves to decline in the region. Eastern Colorado also hosts a considerable amount and range of livestock, such as cattle ranches and hog farms.


Front Range

Roughly 70% of Colorado's population resides along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor between
Cheyenne, Wyoming Cheyenne ( or ) is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Wyoming, as well as the county seat of Laramie County, Wyoming, Laramie County, with 65,132 residents, per the 2020 US Census. It is the principal city of the Cheyenne ...
, and
Pueblo, Colorado Pueblo () is a List of municipalities in Colorado#Home rule municipality, home rule municipality that is the county seat and the List of municipalities in Colorado, most populous municipality of Pueblo County, Colorado, Pueblo County, Colorado ...
. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms that blow in from the Pacific Ocean region by the high Rockies in the middle of Colorado. The "Front Range" includes Denver,
Boulder In geology, a boulder (or rarely bowlder) is a rock (geology), rock fragment with size greater than in diameter. Smaller pieces are called cobble (geology), cobbles and pebbles. While a boulder may be small enough to move or roll manually, ot ...
,
Fort Collins A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from Latin ''fortis'' ("strong") and ''facere'' ...
, Loveland, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Greeley, and other townships and municipalities in between. On the other side of the Rockies, the significant population centers in Western Colorado (which is not considered the "Front Range") are the cities of Grand Junction,
Durango Durango (), officially named Estado Libre y Soberano de Durango ( en, Free and Sovereign State of Durango; Tepehuán: ''Korian''; Nahuatl: ''Tepēhuahcān''), is one of the 31 states which make up the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico Mexic ...
, and Montrose.


Mountains

To the west of the Great Plains of Colorado rises the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. Notable peaks of the Rocky Mountains include
Longs Peak Longs Peak (Arapaho The Arapaho (; french: Arapahos, ) are a Native Americans in the United States, Native American people historically living on the plains of Colorado and Wyoming. They were close allies of the Cheyenne tribe and loosely a ...
,
Mount Evans Mount Evans is the highest peak in the Mount Evans Wilderness in the Front Range The Front Range is a mountain range of the Southern Rocky Mountains of North America located in the central portion of the U.S. Colorado, State of Colorado, an ...
,
Pikes Peak Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the southern Front Range The Front Range is a mountain range of the Southern Rocky Mountains of North America located in the central portion of the U.S. Colorado, State of Colorado, and southeastern porti ...
, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg, in southern Colorado. This area drains to the east and the southeast, ultimately either via the
Mississippi River The Mississippi River is the List of longest rivers of the United States (by main stem), second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest Drainage system (geomorphology), drainage system in North America, second only to the Hudson B ...
or the
Rio Grande The Rio Grande ( and ), known in Mexico as the Río Bravo del Norte or simply the Río Bravo, is one of the principal rivers (along with the Colorado River) in the southwestern United States and in northern Mexico. The length of the Rio G ...
into the
Gulf of Mexico The Gulf of Mexico ( es, Golfo de México) is an ocean basin and a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, largely surrounded by the North American continent. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United ...
. The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 53 true peaks with a total of 58 that are or higher in elevation above sea level, known as
fourteeners In the mountaineering Jargon, parlance of the Western United States, a fourteener is a Summit, mountain peak with an elevation of at least . The 96 fourteeners in the United States are all west of the Mississippi River. Colorado has the most (53 ...
. These mountains are largely covered with trees such as
conifer Conifers are a group of conifer cone, cone-bearing Spermatophyte, seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the phylum, division Pinophyta (), also known as Coniferophyta () or Coniferae. The division contains a single ...
s and
aspen Aspen is a common name for certain tree species; some, but not all, are classified by botanists in the section (botany), section Populus sect. Populus, ''Populus'', of the ''Populus'' genus. Species These species are called aspens: *''Popul ...
s up to the
tree line The tree line is the edge of the habitat at which trees are capable of growing. It is found at high elevations and high latitudes. Beyond the tree line, trees cannot tolerate the environmental conditions (usually cold temperatures, extreme snowp ...
, at an elevation of about in southern Colorado to about in northern Colorado. Above this tree line only alpine vegetation grows. Only small parts of the Colorado Rockies are snow-covered year-round. Much of the alpine snow melts by mid-August except for a few snow-capped peaks and a few small glaciers. The
Colorado Mineral Belt The Colorado Mineral Belt (CMB) is an area of ore deposits from the La Plata Mountains in Southwestern Colorado to near the middle of the state at Boulder, Colorado and from which over 25 million troy ounces (778 t) of gold were extracted begin ...
, stretching from the
San Juan Mountains The San Juan Mountains is a high and rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. The area is highly mineralized (the Colorado Mineral Belt) and figured in the gold and silver mining industry ...
in the southwest to
Boulder In geology, a boulder (or rarely bowlder) is a rock (geology), rock fragment with size greater than in diameter. Smaller pieces are called cobble (geology), cobbles and pebbles. While a boulder may be small enough to move or roll manually, ot ...
and
Central City In urban planning Urban planning, also known as town planning, city planning, regional planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design of land use and the built environment, i ...
on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.
Mount Elbert Mount Elbert is the List of mountain peaks of the Rocky Mountains#Highest prominent summits, highest summit of the Rocky Mountains, the highest point in the U.S. state of Colorado, and the second-highest summit in the contiguous United States (a ...
is the highest summit of the
Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range and the largest mountain system in North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch in great-circle distance, straight-line distance from the northernmost part of western Can ...
. The 30 highest major summits of the
Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range and the largest mountain system in North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch in great-circle distance, straight-line distance from the northernmost part of western Can ...
of North America are all within the state. The summit of
Mount Elbert Mount Elbert is the List of mountain peaks of the Rocky Mountains#Highest prominent summits, highest summit of the Rocky Mountains, the highest point in the U.S. state of Colorado, and the second-highest summit in the contiguous United States (a ...
at elevation in Lake County is the highest point in Colorado and the Rocky Mountains of North America. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters elevation. The point where the
Arikaree River The Arikaree River is a river in the central Great Plains of North America. It lies mostly in the United States, American state of Colorado, draining land between the North and South Forks of the Republican River, and it flows into the North For ...
flows out of
Yuma County, Colorado Yuma County is a county located in the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily l ...
, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in Colorado at elevation. This point, which is the highest low elevation point of any state, is higher than the high elevation points of 18 states and the District of Columbia.


Continental Divide

The
Continental Divide of the Americas The Continental Divide of the Americas (also known as the Great Divide, the Western Divide or simply the Continental Divide; ) is the principal, and largely mountainous, hydrological divide of the Americas. The Continental Divide extends from th ...
extends along the crest of the
Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range and the largest mountain system in North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch in great-circle distance, straight-line distance from the northernmost part of western Can ...
. The area of Colorado to the west of the Continental Divide is called the Western Slope of Colorado. West of the Continental Divide, water flows to the southwest via the
Colorado River The Colorado River ( es, Río Colorado) is one of the principal rivers (along with the Rio Grande) in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The river drains an expansive, arid drainage basin, watershed that encompasses parts of ...
and the Green River into the
Gulf of California The Gulf of California ( es, Golfo de California), also known as the Sea of Cortés (''Mar de Cortés'') or Sea of Cortez, or less commonly as the Vermilion Sea (''Mar Bermejo''), is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean that separates the Baja Ca ...
. Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks which are high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is the North Park of Colorado. The North Park is drained by the
North Platte River The North Platte River is a major tributary A tributary, or affluent, is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and the ...
, which flows north into Wyoming and Nebraska. Just to the south of North Park, but on the western side of the Continental Divide, is the Middle Park of Colorado, which is drained by the Colorado River. The South Park of Colorado is the region of the
headwater The headwaters of a river or stream is the farthest place in that river or stream from its estuary or downstream confluence with another river, as measured along the course of the river. It is also known as a river's source. Definition The ...
s of the South Platte River.


South Central region

In south-central Colorado is the large
San Luis Valley The San Luis Valley is a region in south-central Colorado with a small portion overlapping into New Mexico. The valley is approximately long and wide, extending from the Continental Divide on the northwest rim into New Mexico on the south. It co ...
, where the headwaters of the
Rio Grande The Rio Grande ( and ), known in Mexico as the Río Bravo del Norte or simply the Río Bravo, is one of the principal rivers (along with the Colorado River) in the southwestern United States and in northern Mexico. The length of the Rio G ...
are located. The valley sits between the
Sangre De Cristo Mountains The Sangre de Cristo Mountains ( Spanish for "Blood of Christ Blood of Christ, also known as the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in Christian theology refers to (a) the physical blood actually shed by Jesus Christ primarily on the ...
and
San Juan Mountains The San Juan Mountains is a high and rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. The area is highly mineralized (the Colorado Mineral Belt) and figured in the gold and silver mining industry ...
, and consists of large desert lands that eventually run into the mountains. The Rio Grande drains due south into New Mexico, Mexico, and Texas. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the
Rio Grande Rift The Rio Grande rift is a north-trending continental rift zone. It separates the Colorado Plateau in the west from the interior of the North American craton on the east. The rift extends from central Colorado in the north to the state of Chihuahu ...
, a major
geological formation A geological formation, or simply formation, is a body of rock having a consistent set of physical characteristics (lithology) that distinguishes it from adjacent bodies of rock, and which occupies a particular position in the layers of rock expo ...
of the Rocky Mountains, and its branches.


Colorado Western Slope

The Western Slope area of Colorado includes the western face of the Rocky Mountains and all of the states to the western border. This area includes several terrains and climates from alpine mountains to arid deserts. The Western Slope includes many ski resort towns in the Rocky Mountains and towns west of the mountains. It is less populous than the Front Range but includes a large number of national parks and monuments. From west to east, the land of Colorado consists of desert lands, desert plateaus, alpine mountains, National Forests, relatively flat grasslands, scattered forests, buttes, and canyons on the western edge of the
Great Plains The Great Plains (french: Grandes Plaines), sometimes simply "the Plains", is a broad expanse of plain, flatland in North America. It is located west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains, much of it covered in prairie, step ...
. The famous
Pikes Peak Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the southern Front Range The Front Range is a mountain range of the Southern Rocky Mountains of North America located in the central portion of the U.S. Colorado, State of Colorado, and southeastern porti ...
is located just west of
Colorado Springs Colorado Springs is a home rule municipality Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to govern at a Subnational administrative division, subnational level, such as a regional or ...
. Its isolated peak is visible from nearly the Kansas border on clear days, and also far to the north and the south. The northwestern corner of Colorado is a sparsely populated region, and it contains part of the noted
Dinosaur National Monument Dinosaur National Monument is an American national monument located on the southeast flank of the Uinta Mountains on the border between Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of ...
, which not only is a
paleontological Paleontology (), also spelled palaeontology or palæontology, is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene The Holocene ( ) is the current geological epoch. It began approximate ...
area, but is also a scenic area of rocky hills, canyons, arid desert, and streambeds. Here, the Green River briefly crosses over into Colorado. Desert lands in Colorado are located in and around areas such as the
Pueblo In the Southwestern United States The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest or simply the Southwest, is a geographic and cultural region of the United States that generally includes Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, ...
, Canon City,
Florence Florence ( ; it, Firenze ) is a city in Central Italy and the capital city of the Tuscany region. It is the most populated city in Tuscany, with 383,083 inhabitants in 2016, and over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area.Bilancio demografico ...
,
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is an American national park A national park is a nature park, natural park in use for conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a re ...
,
San Luis Valley The San Luis Valley is a region in south-central Colorado with a small portion overlapping into New Mexico. The valley is approximately long and wide, extending from the Continental Divide on the northwest rim into New Mexico on the south. It co ...
, Cortez,
Canyon of the Ancients National Monument Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is a United States National Monument, national monument protecting an archaeologically-significant landscape located in the southwestern region of the U.S. state of Colorado. The monument's are managed ...
,
Hovenweep National Monument Hovenweep National Monument is located on land in southwestern Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. It encompasses most of the Southern Rocky Mountain ...
,
Ute Mountain Ute Mountain, also known as Ute Peak or Sleeping Ute Mountain (; Ute: ''Wisuv Káruv'', Navajo: ''Dził Naajiní''), is a peak within the Ute Mountains, a small mountain range in the southwestern corner of Colorado. It is on the northern edge o ...
, Delta, Grand Junction, Colorado National Monument, and other areas surrounding the
Uncompahgre Plateau The Uncompahgre Plateau in western Colorado is a distinctive large uplift part of the Colorado Plateau. is a Ute language, Ute word that describes the water: "Dirty Water" or "Rocks that make Water Red". The plateau, with an average elevation of ...
and Uncompahgre National Forest. The Western Slope of Colorado is drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries (primarily the
Gunnison River The Gunnison River is located in western Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. It encompasses most of the Southern Rocky Mountains, as well as the ...
, Green River, and the San Juan River), or by evaporation in its arid areas. The Colorado River flows through Glenwood Canyon, and then through an arid valley made up of desert from
Rifle A rifle is a long-barreled firearm A firearm is any type of gun designed to be readily carried and used by an individual. The term is legally defined further in different countries (see #Legal_definitions, Legal definitions). The first fi ...
to
Parachute A parachute is a device used to slow the motion of an object through an atmosphere by creating Drag (physics), drag or, in a ram-air parachute, aerodynamic Lift (force), lift. A major application is to support people, for recreation or as a sa ...
, through the desert canyon of De Beque Canyon, and into the arid desert of Grand Valley, where the city of Grand Junction is located. Also prominent in or near the southern portion of the Western Slope is the Grand Mesa, which lies to the southeast of Grand Junction; the high San Juan Mountains, a rugged mountain range; and to the west of the San Juan Mountains, the
Colorado Plateau The Colorado Plateau, also known as the Colorado Plateau Province, is a United States physiographic region, physiographic and desert, desert region of the Intermontane Plateaus, roughly centered on the Four Corners region of the southwestern Uni ...
, a high arid region that borders Southern Utah.
Grand Junction, Colorado Grand Junction is a List of municipalities in Colorado#Home rule municipality, home rule municipality that is the county seat and the List of municipalities in Colorado, most populous municipality of Mesa County, Colorado, Mesa County, Colorado, ...
is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction and Durango are the only major centers of
television broadcasting A television network or television broadcaster is a telecommunications network for distribution of television program content, where a central operation provides programming to many television stations or multichannel video programming distributo ...
west of the Continental Divide in Colorado, though most mountain resort communities publish daily newspapers. Grand Junction is located along
Interstate 70 Interstate 70 (I-70) is a major east–west Interstate Highway System, Interstate Highway in the United States that runs from Interstate 15, I-15 near Cove Fort, Utah, to a park and ride lot just east of Interstate 695 (Maryland), I-695 in ...
, the only major highway in Western Colorado. Grand Junction is also along the major railroad of the Western Slope, the
Union Pacific The Union Pacific Railroad , legally Union Pacific Railroad Company and often called simply Union Pacific, is a freight-hauling railroad that operates 8,300 locomotives over routes in 23 U.S. states west of Chicago and New Orleans. Union Paci ...
. This railroad also provides the tracks for
Amtrak The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Trade name, doing business as Amtrak () , is the national Passenger train, passenger railroad company of the United States. It operates inter-city rail service in 46 of the 48 contiguous United Stat ...
's
California Zephyr The ''California Zephyr'' is a passenger train A passenger train is a train used to transport people along a railroad line. These trains may consist of unpowered passenger railroad cars (also known as coaches or carriages) hauled by one o ...
passenger train, which crosses the Rocky Mountains between Denver and Grand Junction via a route on which there are no continuous highways. The Western Slope includes multiple notable destinations in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, including Glenwood Springs, with its resort hot springs, and the
ski resort A ski resort is a resort developed for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. In Europe, most ski resorts are towns or villages in or adjacent to a ski area – a mountainous area with pistes (ski trails) and a ski lift system. In North ...
s of
Aspen Aspen is a common name for certain tree species; some, but not all, are classified by botanists in the section (botany), section Populus sect. Populus, ''Populus'', of the ''Populus'' genus. Species These species are called aspens: *''Popul ...
, Breckenridge,
Vail Vail is a Home rule in the United States, home rule municipality in Eagle County, Colorado, Eagle County, Colorado, United States. The population of the town was 4,835 in 2020. Home to Vail Ski Resort, the largest ski mountain in Colorado, the ...
,
Crested Butte Crested Butte is a prominent mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. Although definitions vary, a mountain may differ from a plateau in having a lim ...
, Steamboat Springs, and Telluride. Higher education in and near the Western Slope can be found at
Colorado Mesa University Colorado Mesa University is a public university in Grand Junction, Colorado. The university's other locations include Bishop Campus, which houses Western Colorado Community College in northwestern Grand Junction, and a regional campus in Mont ...
in Grand Junction,
Western Colorado University Western Colorado University (Western) is a public university A public university or public college is a university or college that is in state ownership, owned by the state or receives significant government spending, public funds through a na ...
in Gunnison,
Fort Lewis College Fort Lewis College is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociology ...
in Durango, and
Colorado Mountain College Colorado Mountain College (CMC) is a Public college, public community college with multiple campuses in western Colorado. Founded in 1965, the institution offers numerous associate degrees, seven bachelor's degrees and a variety of career-technic ...
in Glenwood Springs and Steamboat Springs. The
Four Corners Monument The Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the Southwestern United States where the U.S. state, states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. It is the only point in the United States shared by four states, leading to the area ...
in the southwest corner of Colorado marks the common boundary of Colorado,
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe, New Mexico, Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque, New Mexico, Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Albuquerque metropolitan area, Tiguex , Offi ...
,
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak ) is a U.S. state, state in the Southwestern United States. It is the list of U.S. states and territories by area, 6th largest and the list of U.S. states and territories by population, 14 ...
, and
Utah Utah ( , ) is a state in the Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Utah is a landlocked U.S. state bordered to its east by Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West su ...
; the only such place in the United States.


Climate

The
climate Climate is the long-term weather pattern in an area, typically averaged over 30 years. More rigorously, it is the mean and variability of meteorological variables over a time spanning from months to millions of years. Some of the meteorologi ...
of Colorado is more complex than states outside of the
Mountain States The Mountain states (also known as the Mountain West or the Interior West) form one of the nine geographic divisions of the United States that are officially recognized by the United States Census Bureau. It is a subregion of the Western Un ...
region. Unlike most other states, southern Colorado is not always warmer than northern Colorado. Most of Colorado is made up of mountains, foothills, high plains, and desert lands. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect the local climate. Northeast, east, and southeast Colorado are mostly the high plains, while Northern Colorado is a mix of high plains, foothills, and mountains. Northwest and west Colorado are predominantly mountainous, with some desert lands mixed in. Southwest and southern Colorado are a complex mixture of desert and mountain areas.


Eastern Plains

The climate of the Eastern Plains is
semi-arid A semi-arid climate, semi-desert climate, or steppe climate is a dry climate sub-type. It is located on regions that receive precipitation below Evapotranspiration#Potential evapotranspiration, potential evapotranspiration, but not as low as a des ...
(
Köppen climate classification The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by German-Russian climatologist Wladimir Köppen (1846–1940) in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen, nota ...
: ''BSk'') with low humidity and moderate precipitation, usually from annually, although many areas near the rivers is semi-humid climate. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool, clear nights, which give this area a great average diurnal temperature range. The difference between the highs of the days and the lows of the nights can be considerable as warmth dissipates to space during clear nights, the heat radiation not being trapped by clouds. The Front Range urban corridor, where most of the population of Colorado resides, lies in a pronounced precipitation shadow as a result of being on the lee side of the Rocky Mountains. In summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35 °C) and often 100 °F (38 °C). On the plains, the winter lows usually range from 25 to −10 °F (−4 to −23 °C). About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which can be severe, and from major snowstorms that occur in the winter and early spring. Otherwise, winters tend to be mostly dry and cold. In much of the region, March is the snowiest month. April and May are normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month overall. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to
Chinook wind Chinook winds, or simply Chinooks, are two types of prevailing warm, generally westerly winds in western North America: Coastal Chinooks and interior Chinooks. The coastal Chinooks are persistent seasonal, wet, southwesterly winds blowing in from ...
s which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures of 70 °F (21 °C) or higher in the winter. The average July temperature is 55 °F (13 °C) in the morning and 90 °F (32 °C) in the afternoon. The average January temperature is 18 °F (−8 °C) in the morning and 48 °F (9 °C) in the afternoon, although variation between consecutive days can be 40 °F (20 °C).


Front Range foothills

Just west of the plains and into the foothills, there is a wide variety of climate types. Locations merely a few miles apart can experience entirely different weather depending on the topography. Most valleys have a semi-arid climate not unlike the eastern plains, which transitions to an
alpine climate Alpine climate is the typical weather (climate) for elevations above the tree line, where trees fail to grow due to cold. This climate is also referred to as a mountain climate or highland climate. Definition There are multiple definitions of ...
at the highest elevations. Microclimates also exist in local areas that run nearly the entire spectrum of climates, including subtropical highland (''Cfb/Cwb''), humid subtropical (''Cfa''), humid continental (''Dfa/Dfb''), Mediterranean (''Csa/Csb'') and subarctic (''Dfc'').


Extreme weather

Extreme weather changes are common in Colorado, although a significant portion of the extreme weather occurs in the least populated areas of the state. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental Divide in the spring and summer, yet are usually brief. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the Divide and across the eastern Plains, especially the northeast part of the state. Hail is the most commonly reported warm-season severe weather hazard, and occasionally causes human injuries, as well as significant property damage. The eastern Plains are subject to some of the biggest hail storms in North America. Notable examples are the severe hailstorms that hit Denver on July 11, 1990 and May 8, 2017, the latter being the costliest ever in the state. The Eastern Plains are part of the extreme western portion of
Tornado Alley Tornado Alley is a loosely defined area of the central United States where tornadoes are most frequent. The term was first used in 1952 as the title of a research project to study severe weather in areas of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, So ...
; some damaging tornadoes in the Eastern Plains include the 1990 Limon F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsor EF3 tornado, which devastated a small town. Portions of the eastern Plains see especially frequent tornadoes, both those spawned from
mesocyclone A mesocyclone is a meso-gamma Mesoscale meteorology, mesoscale (or storm scale) region of rotation (vortex), typically around in diameter, most often noticed on radar within thunderstorms. In the northern hemisphere it is usually located in the ...
s in
supercell A supercell is a thunderstorm characterized by the presence of a mesocyclone: a deep, persistently rotating vertical draft, updraft. Due to this, these storms are sometimes referred to as rotating thunderstorms. Of the four classifications of ...
thunderstorms and from less intense
landspout __NOTOC__ Landspout is a term created by atmospheric scientist Howard B. Bluestein in 1985 for a kind of tornado not associated with a mesocyclone. The ''Glossary of Meteorology'' defines a landspout as : "Colloquial expression describing torn ...
s, such as within the Denver convergence vorticity zone (DCVZ). The Plains are also susceptible to occasional floods and particularly severe flash floods, which are caused both by thunderstorms and by the rapid melting of snow in the mountains during warm weather. Notable examples include the 1965 Denver Flood, the
Big Thompson River The Big Thompson River is a tributary of the South Platte River, approximately 78 miles (123 km) long, in the U.S. state of Colorado. Originating in Forest Canyon in Rocky Mountain National Park, the river flows into Lake Estes in the town ...
flooding of 1976 and the
2013 Colorado floods The 2013 Colorado floods were a series of natural disasters occurring in the United States, U.S. state of Colorado. Starting on September 11, 2013, a slow-moving cold front stalled over Colorado, clashing with warm humid monsoonal air from the ...
. Hot weather is common during summers in Denver. The city's record in 1901 for the number of consecutive days above 90 °F (32 °C) was broken during the summer of 2008. The new record of 24 consecutive days surpassed the previous record by almost a week. Much of Colorado is very dry, with the state averaging only of precipitation per year statewide. The state rarely experiences a time when some portion is not in some degree of drought. The lack of precipitation contributes to the severity of wildfires in the state, such as the Hayman Fire of 2002. Other notable fires include the Fourmile Canyon Fire of 2010, the Waldo Canyon Fire and High Park Fire of June 2012, and the
Black Forest Fire The Black Forest Fire was a forest fire that began near Colorado State Highway 83, Highway 83 and Shoup Road in Black Forest, Colorado around 1:00 p.m. on June 11, 2013. As of June 20, 2013, the fire was 100 percent contained, were burned, a ...
of June 2013. Even these fires were exceeded in severity by the Pine Gulch Fire, Cameron Peak Fire, and East Troublesome Fire in 2020, all being the three largest fires in Colorado history (see 2020 Colorado wildfires). And the Marshall Fire which started on December 30, 2021, while not the largest in state history, was the most destructive ever in terms of property loss (see Marshall Fire). However, some of the mountainous regions of Colorado receive a huge amount of moisture from winter snowfalls. The spring melts of these snows often cause great waterflows in the
Yampa River The Yampa River flows through northwestern Colorado in the United States. Rising in the Rocky Mountains, it is a tributary of the Green River (Colorado River), Green River and a major part of the Colorado River system. The Yampa is one of the f ...
, the
Colorado River The Colorado River ( es, Río Colorado) is one of the principal rivers (along with the Rio Grande) in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The river drains an expansive, arid drainage basin, watershed that encompasses parts of ...
, the Rio Grande, the Arkansas River, the North Platte River, and the South Platte River. Water flowing out of the Colorado Rocky Mountains is a very significant source of water for the farms, towns, and cities of the southwest states of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada, as well as the Midwest, such as Nebraska and Kansas, and the southern states of Oklahoma and Texas. A significant amount of water is also diverted for use in California; occasionally (formerly naturally and consistently), the flow of water reaches northern Mexico.


Climate change


Records

The highest official ambient air temperature ever recorded in Colorado was on July 20, 2019, at John Martin Dam. The lowest official air temperature was on February 1, 1985, at Maybell.


Earthquakes

Despite its mountainous terrain, Colorado is relatively quiet seismically. The U.S.
National Earthquake Information Center The National Earthquake Information Center (abbreviated NEIC) is part of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) located on the campus of the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. The NEIC has three main missions: * First, the NEIC determ ...
is located in Golden. On August 22, 2011, a 5.3 magnitude earthquake occurred west-southwest of the city of
Trinidad Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands of Trinidad and Tobago. The island lies off the northeastern coast of Venezuela and sits on the continental shelf of South America. It is often referred to as the southernmos ...
. There were no casualties and only a small amount of damage was reported. It was the second-largest earthquake in Colorado's history. A magnitude 5.7 earthquake was recorded in 1973. In early morning hours of August 24, 2018, four minor earthquakes rattled Colorado, ranging from magnitude 2.9 to 4.3. Colorado has recorded 525 earthquakes since 1973, a majority of which range 2 to 3.5 on the Richter scale.


Fauna

A process of extirpation by trapping and poisoning of the
gray wolf The wolf (''Canis lupus''; plural, : wolves), also known as the gray wolf or grey wolf, is a large Canis, canine native to Eurasia and North America. More than thirty subspecies of Canis lupus, subspecies of ''Canis lupus'' have been reco ...
(''Canis lupus'') from Colorado in the 1930s saw the last wild wolf in the state shot in 1945. A wolf pack recolonized Moffat County, Colorado in northwestern Colorado in 2019. Cattle farmers have expressed concern that a returning wolf population potentially threatens their herds. Coloradoans voted to reintroduce gray wolves in 2020, with the state committing to a plan to have a population in the state by 2022 and permitting non-lethal methods of driving off wolves attacking livestock and pets. While there is fossil evidence of Harrington's mountain goat in Colorado between at least 800,000 years ago and its extinction with
megafauna In terrestrial zoology, the megafauna (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέγας ''megas'' "large" and New Latin ''fauna'' "animal life") comprises the large or giant animals of an area, habitat, or geological period, extinct and/or extant. The most c ...
roughly 11,000 years ago, the
mountain goat The mountain goat (''Oreamnos americanus''), also known as the Rocky Mountain goat, is a hoofed mammal endemic to mountainous areas of western North America. A subalpine to Alpine tundra, alpine species, it is a Sure-footedness, sure-footed clim ...
is not native to Colorado but was instead introduced to the state over time during the interval between 1947 and 1972. Despite being an artificially-introduced species, the state declared mountain goats a native species in 1993. In 2013, 2014, and 2019, an unknown illness killed nearly all mountain goat kids, leading to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife investigation. The native population of
pronghorn The pronghorn (, ) (''Antilocapra americana'') is a species of Even-toed ungulate, artiodactyl (even-toed, hoofed) mammal indigenous to interior western and central North America. Though not an antelope, it is known colloquially in North America ...
in Colorado has varied wildly over the last century, reaching a low of only 15,000 individuals during the 1960s. However, conservation efforts succeeded in bring the stable population back up to roughly 66,000 by 2013. The population was estimated to have reached 85,000 by 2019 and had increasingly more run-ins with the increased suburban housing along the eastern Front Range. State wildlife officials suggested that landowners would need to modify fencing to allow the greater number of pronghorns to move unabated through the newly developed land. Pronghorns are most readily found in the northern and eastern portions of the state, with some populations also in the western San Juan Mountains. Common wildlife found in the mountains of Colorado include
mule deer The mule deer (''Odocoileus hemionus'') is a deer indigenous to western North America; it is named for its ears, which are large like those of the mule. Two subspecies of mule deer are grouped into the black-tailed deer. Unlike the related whit ...
, southwestern red squirrel, golden-mantled ground squirrel,
yellow-bellied marmot The yellow-bellied marmot (''Marmota flaviventris''), also known as the rock chuck, is a large, stout-bodied ground squirrel in the marmot Marmots are large ground squirrels in the genus ''Marmota'', with 15 species living in Asia, Europe, ...
,
moose The moose (in North America) or elk (in Eurasia) (''Alces alces'') is a member of the Capreolinae, New World deer subfamily and is the monotypic taxon, only species in the genus ''Alces''. It is the Largest cervids, largest and heaviest extan ...
,
American pika The American pika (''Ochotona princeps''), a diurnal species of pika A pika ( or ; archaically spelled pica) is a small, mountain-dwelling mammal found in Asia and North America. With short limbs, very round body, an even coat of fur, a ...
, and
red fox The red fox (''Vulpes vulpes'') is the largest of the true foxes and one of the most widely distributed members of the Order (biology), order Carnivora, being present across the entire Northern Hemisphere including most of North America, Europe ...
, all at exceptionally high numbers, though moose are not native to the state. The foothills include
deer Deer or true deer are hoofed ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the elk (wapiti), the red deer, and the fallow deer; and the Capreolinae, including the ...
,
fox squirrel The fox squirrel (''Sciurus niger''), also known as the eastern fox squirrel or Bryant's fox squirrel, is the largest species of tree squirrel native to North America. Despite the differences in size and coloration, it is sometimes mistaken for A ...
,
desert cottontail The desert cottontail (''Sylvilagus audubonii''), also known as Audubon's cottontail, is a New World The term ''New World'' is often used to mean the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas."America." ''The Oxford C ...
,
mountain cottontail The mountain cottontail or Nuttall's cottontail (''Sylvilagus nuttallii'') is a species of mammal Mammals () are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class Mammalia (), characterized by the presence of mammary glands which ...
, and
coyote The coyote (''Canis latrans'') is a species of canis, canine native to North America. It is smaller than its close relative, the wolf, and slightly smaller than the closely related eastern wolf and red wolf. It fills much of the same ecologica ...
. The prairies are home to
black-tailed prairie dog The black-tailed prairie dog (''Cynomys ludovicianus'') is a rodent of the family Sciuridae found in the Great Plains of North America from about the United States-Canada border to the United States-Mexico border. Unlike some other prairie dogs, ...
, the endangered
swift fox The swift fox (''Vulpes velox'') is a small light orange-tan fox Foxes are small to medium-sized, omnivorous mammals belonging to several genera of the family Canidae. They have a flattened skull, upright, triangular ears, a pointed, slig ...
,
American badger The American badger (''Taxidea taxus'') is a North America North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by th ...
, and
white-tailed jackrabbit The white-tailed jackrabbit (''Lepus townsendii''), also known as the prairie hare and the white jack, is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of Taxonomy (biology), classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well ...
.


Counties

The State of Colorado is divided into 64
counties A county is a geographic region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...
. Two of these counties, the City and County of Broomfield and the City and County of Denver, have consolidated city and county governments. Counties are important units of government in Colorado since there are no
civil township A civil township is a widely used unit of local government in the United States that is subordinate to a county (United States), county, most often in the northern and midwestern parts of the country. The term town is used in New England town, Ne ...
s or other
minor civil division A minor civil division (MCD) is a term used by the United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the Federal Statistical System of the United States, U.S. Fed ...
s. The most populous county in Colorado is El Paso County, the home of the City of Colorado Springs. The second most populous county is the City and County of Denver, the state capital. Five of the 64 counties now have more than 500,000 residents, while 12 have fewer than 5,000 residents. The ten most populous Colorado counties are all located in the Front Range Urban Corridor. Mesa County is the most populous county on the
Colorado Western Slope The Western Slope is the part of the state of Colorado west of the Continental Divide. Bodies of water west of the Divide flow toward the Pacific Ocean; water that falls and flows east of the Divide heads east toward the Gulf of Mexico. The Weste ...
.


Municipalities

Colorado has 272 active incorporated municipalities, comprising 197
town A town is a human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a minuscule number of dwellings group ...
s, 73
cities A city is a human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a minuscule number of dwellings grouped ...
, and two consolidated city and county governments. At the
2020 United States census The United States census of 2020 was the twenty-fourth decennial United States census. Census Day, the reference day used for the census, was April 1, 2020. Other than a pilot study during the 2000 United States census, 2000 census, this was the ...
, 4,299,942 of the 5,773,714 Colorado residents (74.47%) lived in one of these 272 municipalities. Another 714,417 residents (12.37%) lived in one of the 210 census-designated places, while the remaining 759,355 residents (13.15%) lived in the many rural and mountainous areas of the state. Colorado municipalities operate under one of five types of municipal governing authority. Colorado currently has two consolidated city and county governments, 61 home rule cities, 12 statutory cities, 35 home rule towns, 161 statutory towns, and one territorial charter municipality. The most populous municipality is the City and County of Denver. Colorado now has 13 municipalities with more than 100,000 residents, and 17 with fewer than 100 residents. The 16 most populous Colorado municipalities are all located in the Front Range Urban Corridor. The City of Grand Junction is the most populous municipality on the
Colorado Western Slope The Western Slope is the part of the state of Colorado west of the Continental Divide. Bodies of water west of the Divide flow toward the Pacific Ocean; water that falls and flows east of the Divide heads east toward the Gulf of Mexico. The Weste ...
. The Town of Carbonate has had no year-round population since the 1890 census due to its severe winter weather and difficult access.


Unincorporated communities

In addition to its 272 municipalities, Colorado has 210
unincorporated Unincorporated may refer to: * Unincorporated area, land not governed by a local municipality * Unincorporated entity, a type of organization * Unincorporated territories of the United States, territories under U.S. jurisdiction, to which Congress ...
census-designated places (CDPs) and many other small communities. The most populous unincorporated community in Colorado is Highlands Ranch south of Denver. The seven most populous CDPs are located in the Front Range Urban Corridor. The Clifton CDP is the most populous CDP on the
Colorado Western Slope The Western Slope is the part of the state of Colorado west of the Continental Divide. Bodies of water west of the Divide flow toward the Pacific Ocean; water that falls and flows east of the Divide heads east toward the Gulf of Mexico. The Weste ...
.


Special districts

Colorado has more than 4,000 special districts, most with
property tax A property tax or millage rate is an ad valorem tax on the value of a property.In the OECD classification scheme, tax on property includes "taxes on immovable property or Wealth tax, net wealth, taxes on the change of ownership of property thr ...
authority. These districts may provide schools, law enforcement, fire protection, water, sewage, drainage, irrigation, transportation, recreation, infrastructure, cultural facilities, business support, redevelopment, or other services. Some of these districts have the authority to levy sales tax as well as property tax and use fees. This has led to a hodgepodge of sales tax and property tax rates in Colorado. There are some street intersections in Colorado with a different sales tax rate on each corner, sometimes substantially different. Some of the more notable Colorado districts are: * The
Regional Transportation District The Regional Transportation District, more commonly referred to as RTD, is the regional agency operating public transit services in eight out of the twelve counties in the Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area in the U.S. state of Colo ...
(RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties * The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties ** It is a 0.1% retail sales and uses tax (one penny on every $10). ** According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement, or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history, or cultural history. ** As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage. *** Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%. *** Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%. *** Tier III has more than 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding from the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%. ** An 11-member board of directors oversees the distributions by the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado. * The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the
Denver Broncos The Denver Broncos are a professional American football franchise based in Denver. The Broncos compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) AFC West, West division. The team is ...
' stadium
Empower Field at Mile High Empower Field at Mile High (previously known as Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Invesco Field at Mile High and Sports Authority Field at Mile High, and commonly known as Mile High, New Mile High or Mile High Stadium) is an American football stadium ...
. * Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of Jefferson and Broomfield counties. * The Metropolitan Major League Baseball Stadium District, approved by voters to pay for and help build the
Colorado Rockies The Colorado Rockies are an American professional baseball team based in Denver. The Rockies compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) National League West, West division. The team plays its home baseba ...
' stadium
Coors Field Coors Field is a baseball stadium in downtown Denver, Colorado. It is the home field of Major League Baseball's Colorado Rockies. Opened in 1995 Major League Baseball season, 1995, the park is located in Denver's LoDo, Lower Downtown neighborhood ...
. * Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, and Gunnison County.


Statistical areas

Most recently on March 6, 2020, the
Office of Management and Budget The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is the largest office within the Executive Office of the President of the United States (EOP). OMB's most prominent function is to produce the president's budget, but it also examines agency programs, poli ...
defined 21 statistical areas for Colorado comprising four
combined statistical area Combined statistical area (CSA) is a United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) term for a combination of adjacent metropolitan (MSA) and micropolitan statistical areas (µSA) across the 50 US states and the territory of Puerto R ...
s, seven
metropolitan statistical area In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, state ...
s, and ten micropolitan statistical areas. The most populous of the seven
metropolitan statistical area In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, state ...
s in Colorado is the 10-county Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of 2,963,821 at the
2020 United States census The United States census of 2020 was the twenty-fourth decennial United States census. Census Day, the reference day used for the census, was April 1, 2020. Other than a pilot study during the 2000 United States census, 2000 census, this was the ...
, an increase of +15.29% since the 2010 census. The more extensive 12-county Denver-Aurora, CO Combined Statistical Area had a population of 3,623,560 at the 2020 census, an increase of +17.23% since the 2010 census. The most populous extended metropolitan region in Rocky Mountain Region is the 18-county Front Range Urban Corridor along the northeast face of the Southern Rocky Mountains. This region with Denver at its center had a population of 5,055,344 at the 2020 census, an increase of +16.65% since the 2010 census.


Demographics

The
2020 United States census The United States census of 2020 was the twenty-fourth decennial United States census. Census Day, the reference day used for the census, was April 1, 2020. Other than a pilot study during the 2000 United States census, 2000 census, this was the ...
enumerated the population of the State of Colorado at 5,773,714, an increase of 14.80% since the
2010 United States census The United States census of 2010 was the twenty-third United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in N ...
. The largest future increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor. People of
Hispanic and Latino American Hispanic and Latino Americans ( es, Estadounidenses hispanos y latinos; pt, Estadunidenses hispânicos e latinos) are Americans of Spanish and/or Latin American ancestry. More broadly, these demographics include all Americans who identify ...
(of any race made) heritage made up 20.7% of the population. According to the 2000 census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Mexican (18%), Irish (12%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are especially numerous in the Front Range, the Rockies (west-central counties), and Eastern parts/High Plains. Colorado has a high proportion of
Hispanic The term ''Hispanic'' ( es, hispano) refers to people, Spanish culture, cultures, or countries related to Spain, the Spanish language, or Hispanidad. The term commonly applies to countries with a cultural and historical link to Spain and to Vic ...
, mostly
Mexican-American Mexican Americans ( es, mexicano-estadounidenses, , or ) are Americans of full or partial Mexicans, Mexican heritage. In 2019, Mexican Americans comprised 11.3% of the US population and 61.5% of all Hispanic and Latino Americans. In 2019, 71% ...
, citizens in Metropolitan Denver, Colorado Springs, as well as the smaller cities of Greeley and Pueblo, and elsewhere. Southern, Southwestern, and Southeastern Colorado has a large number of
Hispanos Hispanos (from es, adj. prefix Hispano- relating to Spain, from la, Hispānus) are Hispanic residents of the United States who are culturally descended from the original Spanish language, Spanish-speaking settlers in the areas which were once ...
, the descendants of the early settlers of colonial Spanish origin. In 1940, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Colorado's population as 8.2% Hispanic and 90.3% non-Hispanic white. The Hispanic population of Colorado has continued to grow quickly over the past decades. By 2019, Hispanics made up 22% of Colorado's population, and
Non-Hispanic White Non-Hispanic whites or Non-Latino whites are Americans who are classified as "white", and are not of Hispanic (also known as Hispanic and Latino Americans, "Latino") heritage. The United States Census Bureau defines ''white'' to include European ...
s made up 70%. Spoken English in Colorado has many Spanish idioms. Colorado also has some large African-American communities located in Denver, in the neighborhoods of Montbello, Five Points, Whittier, and many other East Denver areas. The state has sizable numbers of Asian-Americans of Mongolian,
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Popul ...
, Filipino,
Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans, ethnic group originating in the Korean Peninsula * Korean cuisine * Korean culture * Korean language **Korean alphabet, known as Hangul or Chosŏn'gŭl **Korean dialects and the Jeju language ** ...
,
Southeast Asian Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia, South-eastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, south-eastern region of Asia, consistin ...
, and
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea ...
descent. The highest population of Asian Americans can be found on the south and southeast side of Denver, as well as some on Denver's southwest side. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political issues and environmental concerns. There were a total of 70,331 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth rate of 14.6 per thousand.) In 2007, non-Hispanic whites were involved in 59.1% of all the births. Some 14.06% of those births involved a non-Hispanic white person and someone of a different race, most often with a couple including one Hispanic. A birth where at least one Hispanic person was involved counted for 43% of the births in Colorado. As of the 2010 census, Colorado has the seventh highest percentage of Hispanics (20.7%) in the U.S. behind
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe, New Mexico, Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque, New Mexico, Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Albuquerque metropolitan area, Tiguex , Offi ...
(46.3%), California (37.6%),
Texas Texas (, ; Spanish language, Spanish: ''Texas'', ''Tejas'') is a state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States. At 268,596 square miles (695,662 km2), and with more than 29.1 million residents in 2 ...
(37.6%),
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak ) is a U.S. state, state in the Southwestern United States. It is the list of U.S. states and territories by area, 6th largest and the list of U.S. states and territories by population, 14 ...
(29.6%),
Nevada Nevada ( ; ) is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, Western region of the United States. It is bordered by Oregon to the northwest, Idaho to the northeast, California to the west, Arizona to the southeast, and Utah to the east. N ...
(26.5%), and Florida (22.5%). Per the 2000 census, the Hispanic population is estimated to be 918,899 or approximately 20% of the state total population. Colorado has the 5th-largest population of Mexican-Americans, behind California, Texas, Arizona, and
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. Its largest metropolitan areas include the Chicago metropolitan area, and the Metro East section, of Greater St. Louis. Other smaller metropolitan areas inc ...
. In percentages, Colorado has the 6th-highest percentage of Mexican-Americans, behind New Mexico, California, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada.


Birth data

In 2011, 46% of Colorado's population younger than the age of one were minorities, meaning that they had at least one parent who was not non-Hispanic white. ''Note: Births in table don't add up, because Hispanics are counted both by their ethnicity and by their race, giving a higher overall number.'' * Since 2016, data for births of
White Hispanic White Latin Americans, or European Latin Americans, are Latin Americans Latin Americans ( es, Latinoamericanos; pt, Latino-americanos; ) are the citizenship, citizens of Latin American countries (or people with cultural, ancestral or nation ...
origin are not collected, but included in one ''Hispanic'' group; persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. In 2017, Colorado recorded the second-lowest fertility rate in the United States outside of New England, after
Oregon Oregon () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington (state), Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of it ...
, at 1.63 children per woman. Significant, contributing factors to the decline in pregnancies were the Title X Family Planning Program and an
intrauterine device An intrauterine device (IUD), also known as intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD or ICD) or coil, is a small, often T-shaped birth control device that is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. IUDs are one form of long-acting reversi ...
grant from
Warren Buffett Warren Edward Buffett ( ; born August 30, 1930) is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is one of the most successful investors in the world and has a net ...
's family.


Language

English, the official language of the state, is the most commonly spoken in Colorado, followed by Spanish. One Native American language still spoken in Colorado is the
Colorado River Numic language Colorado River Numic (also called Ute , Southern Paiute , Ute–Southern Paiute, or Ute-Chemehuevi ), of the Numic languages, Numic branch of the Uto-Aztecan languages, Uto-Aztecan language family, is a dialect chain that stretches from southeast ...
also known as the
Ute dialect Ute Givón, T. ''Ute Reference Grammar''. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2011 is a dialect of the Colorado River Numic language, spoken by the Ute people. Speakers primarily live on three reservations: Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Oura ...
.


Religion

Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado as of 2014 were 64% Christian, of whom there are 44% Protestant, 16%
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan c ...
, 3%
Mormon Mormons are a Religious denomination, religious and cultural group related to Mormonism, the principal branch of the Latter Day Saint movement started by Joseph Smith in upstate New York during the 1820s. After Smith's death in 1844, the mov ...
, and 1%
Eastern Orthodox Eastern Orthodoxy, also known as Eastern Orthodox Christianity, is one of the three main branches of Chalcedonian Christianity, alongside Catholicism and Protestantism. Like the Pentarchy of the first millennium, the mainstream (or " canonica ...
. Other religious breakdowns according to the Pew Research Center were 1% Jewish, 1%
Muslim Muslims ( ar, المسلمون, , ) are people who adhere to Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the ...
, 1%
Buddhist Buddhism ( , ), also known as Buddha Dharma and Dharmavinaya (), is an Indian religion or philosophical tradition based on teachings attributed to the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, most commonly referred to as the Buddha, was a ...
and 4% other. The religiously unaffiliated made up 29% of the population. In 2020, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, Christianity was 66% of the population. Judaism was also reported to have increased in this separate study, forming 2% of the religious landscape, while the religiously unaffiliated were reported to form 28% of the population at this separate study. The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2010 were the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
with 811,630; multi-denominational Evangelical Protestants with 229,981; and
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a Nontrinitarianism, nontrinitarian Christianity, Christian church that considers itself to be the Restorationism, restoration of the ...
with 151,433. Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church was the first permanent Catholic parish in modern-day Colorado and was constructed by Spanish colonists from New Mexico in modern-day Conejos.
Latin Church , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , alt = Façade of the Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran , caption = Archbasilica of Saint Joh ...
Catholics are served by three dioceses: the Archdiocese of Denver and the Dioceses of Colorado Springs and
Pueblo In the Southwestern United States The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest or simply the Southwest, is a geographic and cultural region of the United States that generally includes Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, ...
. The first permanent settlement by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Colorado arrived from Mississippi and initially camped along the Arkansas River just east of the present-day site of Pueblo.


Health

Colorado is generally considered among the healthiest states by behavioral and healthcare researchers. Among the positive contributing factors is the state's well-known outdoor recreation opportunities and initiatives. However, there is a stratification of health metrics with wealthier counties such as Douglas and Pitkin performing significantly better relative to southern, less wealthy counties such as Huerfano and Las Animas.


Obesity

According to several studies, Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US. , 24% of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest in the nation, the percentage had increased from 17% in 2004.


Life expectancy

According to a report in the
Journal of the American Medical Association ''The Journal of the American Medical Association'' (''JAMA'') is a peer-reviewed medical journal published 48 times a year by the American Medical Association. It publishes original research, reviews, and editorials covering all aspects of biom ...
, residents of Colorado had a 2014
life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, current age, and other demographic factors like sex. The most commonly used measure is life expectancy at birth ...
of 80.21 years, the longest of any U.S. state.


Economy

* Total employment (2019): 2,473,192 * Number of employer establishments: 174,258 The total state product in 2015 was $318.6 billion. Median Annual Household Income in 2016 was $70,666, 8th in the nation. Per capita personal income in 2010 was $51,940, ranking Colorado 11th in the nation. The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th-century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat,
dairy product Dairy products or milk products, also known as lacticinia, are Food product, food products made from (or containing) milk. The most common dairy animals are cow, water buffalo, dairy goat, nanny goat, and Sheep, ewe. Dairy products include commo ...
s,
corn Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn ( North American and Australian English Australian English (AusE, AusEng, AuE, AuEng, en-AU) is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties ...
, and
hay Hay is grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous Family (biology), family of monocotyledonous flowering plants commonly known as grasses. It includes the cereal grasses, bamboos and the grasses of natural grassla ...
. The
federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a political union, union of partially Federated state, self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under a central #Federal governments, federal gover ...
operates several federal facilities in the state, including
NORAD North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD ), known until March 1981 as the North American Air Defense Command, is a combined organization of the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the ...
(North American Aerospace Defense Command),
United States Air Force Academy The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) is a United States service academies, United States service academy in El Paso County, Colorado, El Paso County, Colorado, immediately north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Colorado Springs. It edu ...
, Schriever Air Force Base located approximately 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of
Peterson Air Force Base Peterson Space Force Base, previously Peterson Air Force Base, Peterson Field, and Army Air Base, Colorado Springs, is a United States Space Force, U.S. Space Force Base that shares an airfield with the adjacent Colorado Springs Municipal Airp ...
, and
Fort Carson Fort Carson is a United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare, land military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight Uniformed services of the United States, U.S. uniformed se ...
, both located in
Colorado Springs Colorado Springs is a home rule municipality Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to govern at a Subnational administrative division, subnational level, such as a regional or ...
within El Paso County;
NOAA The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (abbreviated as NOAA ) is an United States scientific and regulatory agency within the United States Department of Commerce that forecasts weather, monitors oceanic and atmospheric conditio ...
, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (
NREL The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in the US specializes in the research and development Research and development (R&D or R+D), known in Europe as research and technological development (RTD), is the set of innovative activ ...
) in Golden, and the
National Institute of Standards and Technology The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is an agency of the United States Department of Commerce whose mission is to promote American innovation and industrial competitiveness. NIST's activities are organized into Outline of p ...
in
Boulder In geology, a boulder (or rarely bowlder) is a rock (geology), rock fragment with size greater than in diameter. Smaller pieces are called cobble (geology), cobbles and pebbles. While a boulder may be small enough to move or roll manually, ot ...
; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the
Denver Federal Center The Denver Federal Center, in Lakewood, Colorado, is part of the General Services Administration and is home to about 6,200 employees of agencies of the federal government of the United States. The Center encompasses an area of about and has 90 ...
near Lakewood; the
Denver Mint The Denver Mint is a branch of the United States Mint that struck its first coins on February 1, 1906. The mint is still operating and producing coins for circulation, as well as United States Mint coin sets, mint sets and commemorative coins. Coi ...
,
Buckley Space Force Base Buckley Space Force Base is a United States Space Force base in Aurora, Colorado named after United States Army Air Service First lieutenant, First Lieutenant John Harold Buckley. The base is run by Space Base Delta 2, with major units including ...
, the
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (in case citations, 10th Cir.) is a United States federal court, federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the United States district court, district courts in the following United St ...
, and the
Byron G. Rogers Federal Building and United States Courthouse The Byron G. Rogers Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse is a historic building on Stout Street in downtown Denver, Colorado, which serves as a courthouse of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. Completed in 1965, the bui ...
in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Cañon City. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four
National Parks A national park is a nature park, natural park in use for conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state dec ...
that contribute to federal ownership of of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state. In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration on scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include
food processing Food processing is the transformation of Agriculture, agricultural products into food, or of one form of food into other forms. Food processing includes many forms of processing foods, from grinding grain to make raw flour to home cooking to co ...
, transportation equipment,
machinery A machine is a physical system using Power (physics), power to apply Force, forces and control Motion, movement to perform an action. The term is commonly applied to artificial devices, such as those employing engines or motors, but also to na ...
, chemical products, the extraction of metals such as gold (see
Gold mining in Colorado Gold mining in Colorado, a state of the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It ...
), silver, and
molybdenum Molybdenum is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Mo and atomic number 42 which is located in period 5 and group 6. The name is from New Latin, Neo-Latin ''molybdaenum'', which is based on Ancient Greek ', meaning lead, since i ...
. Colorado now also has the largest annual production of beer in any state. Denver is an important financial center. The state's diverse
geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) and ‘Graphien’ (to describe), literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, i ...
and majestic mountains attract millions of tourists every year, including 85.2 million in 2018. Tourism contributes greatly to Colorado's economy, with tourists generating $22.3 billion in 2018. Several nationally known brand names have originated in Colorado factories and laboratories. From
Denver Denver () is a consolidated city and county, the capital, and most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Its population was 715,522 at the 2020 census, a 19.22% increase since 2010. It is the 19th-most populous city in the Unite ...
came the forerunner of telecommunications giant
Qwest Qwest Communications International, Inc. was a United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North A ...
in 1879,
Samsonite Samsonite International S.A. () is an American premium luggage Baggage or luggage consists of bags, cases, and containers which hold a travel Travel is the movement of people between distant geographical Location (geography), locat ...
luggage in 1910, Gates belts and hoses in 1911, and Russell Stover Candies in 1923. Kuner canned vegetables began in
Brighton Brighton () is a seaside resort and one of the two main areas of the City of Brighton and Hove in the county of East Sussex, England. It is located south of London. Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the Bronze Ag ...
in 1864. From Golden came Coors beer in 1873,
CoorsTek CoorsTek, Inc. is a privately owned manufacturer of technical ceramics for aerospace Aerospace is a term used to collectively refer to the atmosphere and outer space. Aerospace activity is very diverse, with a multitude of commercial, indust ...
industrial ceramics in 1920, and
Jolly Rancher Jolly Rancher is an American brand of sweet hard candy, Gummi candy, gummies, jelly beans, lollipops, sour bites, and a line of Soft drink, soda put out by Elizabeth Beverage Company in 2004. It is currently manufactured by The Hershey Company. ...
candy in 1949. CF&I railroad rails, wire, nails, and pipe debuted in
Pueblo In the Southwestern United States The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest or simply the Southwest, is a geographic and cultural region of the United States that generally includes Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, ...
in 1892. Holly Sugar was first milled from beets in
Holly ''Ilex'' (), or holly, is a genus of over 570 species of flowering plants in the family (biology), family Aquifoliaceae, and the only living genus in that family. ''Ilex'' has the most species of any woody dioecious angiosperm genus. The speci ...
in 1905, and later moved its headquarters to Colorado Springs. The present-day
Swift Swift or SWIFT most commonly refers to: * SWIFT, an international organization facilitating transactions between banks ** SWIFT code * Swift (programming language) * Swift (bird), a family of birds It may also refer to: Organizations * SWIFT, a ...
packed meat of Greeley evolved from Monfort of Colorado, Inc., established in 1930. Estes model rockets were launched in Penrose in 1958.
Fort Collins A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from Latin ''fortis'' ("strong") and ''facere'' ...
has been the home of Woodward Governor Company's motor controllers (governors) since 1870, and Waterpik dental water jets and showerheads since 1962.
Celestial Seasonings Celestial Seasonings is an American tea company based in Boulder In geology, a boulder (or rarely bowlder) is a rock (geology), rock fragment with size greater than in diameter. Smaller pieces are called cobble (geology), cobbles and pebb ...
herbal teas have been made in
Boulder In geology, a boulder (or rarely bowlder) is a rock (geology), rock fragment with size greater than in diameter. Smaller pieces are called cobble (geology), cobbles and pebbles. While a boulder may be small enough to move or roll manually, ot ...
since 1969.
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is an international franchiser, confectionery manufacturer and retail operator in the United States, with outlets in South Korea, Panama, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates. The company is based in the ...
made its first candy in
Durango Durango (), officially named Estado Libre y Soberano de Durango ( en, Free and Sovereign State of Durango; Tepehuán: ''Korian''; Nahuatl: ''Tepēhuahcān''), is one of the 31 states which make up the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico Mexic ...
in 1981. Colorado has a flat 4.63%
income tax An income tax is a tax imposed on individuals or entities (taxpayers) in respect of the income or profits earned by them (commonly called taxable income). Income tax generally is computed as the product of a tax rate times the taxable income. Tax ...
, regardless of income level. On November 3, 2020, voters authorized an initiative to lower that income tax rate to 4.55 percent. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal ''adjusted gross income'', Colorado taxes are based on ''taxable income''—income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions. Colorado's state
sales tax A sales tax is a tax paid to a governing body for the sales of certain goods and services. Usually laws allow the seller to collect funds for the tax from the consumer at the point of purchase. When a tax on goods or services is paid to a govern ...
is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, according to Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights legislation, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates, in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply. Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break was scheduled to return for the assessment year 2006, payable in 2007. , the state's unemployment rate was 4.2%. The West Virginia teachers' strike in 2018 inspired teachers in other states, including
Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. It encompasses most of the Southern Rocky Mountains, as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the wes ...
, to take similar action.


Agriculture

Corn Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn ( North American and Australian English Australian English (AusE, AusEng, AuE, AuEng, en-AU) is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties ...
in grown in the Eastern Plains of Colorado. Arid conditions and drought negatively impacted yields in 2020 and 2022.


Natural resources

Colorado has significant
hydrocarbon In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons are examples of group 14 hydrides. Hydrocarbons are generally colourless and Hydrophobe, hydrophobic, and their odors are usuall ...
resources. According to the
Energy Information Administration The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is a principal agency of the Federal Statistical System of the United States, U.S. Federal Statistical System responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating energy information to promote ...
, Colorado hosts seven of the largest natural gas fields in the United States, and two of the largest
oil field A petroleum reservoir or oil and gas reservoir is a subsurface accumulation of hydrocarbons contained in porous or fractured rock formations. Such reservoirs form when kerogen (ancient plant matter) is created in surrounding rock by the prese ...
s. Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado basins typically account for more than five percent of annual U.S. natural gas production. Colorado's
oil shale Oil shale is an organic-rich Granularity, fine-grained sedimentary rock containing kerogen (a solid mixture of Organic compound, organic chemical compounds) from which liquid hydrocarbons can be produced. In addition to kerogen, general compos ...
deposits hold an estimated of oil—nearly as much oil as the entire world's proven oil reserves. Substantial deposits of
bituminous Asphalt, also known as bitumen (, ), is a sticky, black, highly viscosity, viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum. It may be found in natural deposits or may be a refined product, and is classed as a Pitch (resin), pitch. Before the ...
, subbituminous, and
lignite Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, is a soft, brown, combustion, combustible, sedimentary rock formed from naturally compressed peat. It has a carbon content around 25–35%, and is considered the coal rank, lowest rank of coal due to its ...
coal are found in the state. Uranium mining in Colorado goes back to 1872, when pitchblende ore was taken from gold mines near Central City, Colorado. Not counting byproduct uranium from
phosphate In chemistry, a phosphate is an anion, salt (chemistry), salt, functional group or ester derived from a phosphoric acids and phosphates, phosphoric acid. It most commonly means orthophosphate, a derivative of phosphoric acid, orthophosphoric a ...
, Colorado is considered to have the third-largest uranium reserves of any U.S. state, behind Wyoming and New Mexico. When Colorado and Utah dominated
radium Radium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ra and atomic number 88. It is the sixth element in alkaline earth metal, group 2 of the periodic table, also known as the alkaline earth metals. Pure radium is silvery-white, but ...
mining from 1910 to 1922, uranium and
vanadium Vanadium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol V and atomic number 23. It is a hard, silvery-grey, malleable transition metal. The elemental metal is rarely found in nature, but once isolated artificially, the formation of an ...
were the byproducts (giving towns like present-day
Superfund site Superfund sites are Pollution, polluted locations in the United States requiring a long-term response to clean up hazardous material contaminations. They were designated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability ...
Uravan their names). Uranium price increases from 2001 to 2007 prompted several companies to revive uranium mining in Colorado. During the 1940s, certain communities–including Naturita and
Paradox A paradox is a logically self-contradictory statement or a statement that runs contrary to one's expectation. It is a statement that, despite apparently valid reasoning from true premises, leads to a seemingly self-contradictory or a logically u ...
–earned the moniker of "
yellowcake Yellowcake (also called urania) is a type of uranium Uranium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol U and atomic number 92. It is a silvery-grey metal in the actinide series of the periodic table. A uranium atom has 92 ...
towns" from their relationship with uranium mining. Price drops and financing problems in late 2008 forced these companies to cancel or scale back the uranium-mining project. As of 2016, there were no major uranium mining operations in the state, though plans existed to restart production.


Electricity generation

Colorado's high Rocky Mountain ridges and eastern plains offer
wind power Wind power or wind energy is mostly the use of wind turbines to electricity generation, generate electricity. Wind power is a popular, sustainable energy, sustainable, renewable energy source that has a much smaller Environmental impact of wi ...
potential, and geologic activity in the mountain areas provides potential for
geothermal power Geothermal power is electricity generation, electrical power generated from geothermal energy. Technologies in use include dry steam power stations, flash steam power stations and binary cycle power stations. Geothermal electricity generation ...
development. Much of the state is sunny and could produce
solar power Solar power is the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV) or indirectly using concentrated solar power. Photovoltaic cells convert light into an electric current using the photovoltaic ef ...
. Major rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer
hydroelectric power Hydroelectricity, or hydroelectric power, is Electricity generation, electricity generated from hydropower (water power). Hydropower supplies one sixth of the world's electricity, almost 4500 TWh in 2020, which is more than all other Renewabl ...
resources.


Culture


Arts and film

* List of museums in Colorado * List of theaters in Colorado * Music of Colorado A number of film productions have shot on location in Colorado, especially prominent Westerns like '' True Grit'', ''
The Searchers ''The Searchers'' is a 1956 American Technicolor VistaVision Epic films, epic Western (genre), Western film directed by John Ford and written by Frank S. Nugent, based on the 1954 novel by Alan Le May. It is set during the Texas–Indian wars, ...
'', and ''
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ''Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid'' is a 1969 American Western (genre), Western Buddy film, buddy film directed by George Roy Hill and written by William Goldman. Based loosely on fact, the film tells the story of Wild West outlaws Robert LeR ...
''. Several historic military forts, railways with trains still operating, and mining
ghost towns Ghost Town(s) or Ghosttown may refer to: * Ghost town, a town that has been abandoned Film and television * Ghost Town (1936 film), ''Ghost Town'' (1936 film), an American Western film by Harry L. Fraser * Ghost Town (1956 film), ''Ghost Town'' ...
have been used and transformed for historical accuracy in well-known films. There are also several scenic highways and mountain passes that helped to feature the open road in films such as ''
Vanishing Point A vanishing point is a point (geometry), point on the projection plane, image plane of a graphical perspective, perspective drawing where the two-dimensional perspective projections of mutually parallel (geometry), parallel lines in three-dimen ...
'', ''
Bingo Bingo or B-I-N-G-O may refer to: Arts and entertainment Gaming * Bingo, a game using a printed card of numbers ** Bingo (British version), a game using a printed card of 15 numbers on three lines; most commonly played in the UK and Ireland ** Bi ...
'' and '' Starman''. Some Colorado landmarks have been featured in films, such as
The Stanley Hotel The Stanley Hotel is a 140-room Colonial Revival hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, United States, about five miles from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. It was built by Freelan Oscar Stanley, Co-founder of the Stanley Motor Carriag ...
in ''
Dumb and Dumber ''Dumb and Dumber'' is a 1994 American Buddy film, buddy comedy film directed by Peter Farrelly, who cowrote the screenplay with Bobby Farrelly and Bennett Yellin. It is the first installment in the Dumb and Dumber (franchise), ''Dumb and Dumb ...
'' and '' The Shining'' and the Sculptured House in '' Sleeper''. In 2015, ''
Furious 7 ''Furious 7'' (also known as ''Fast & Furious 7'') is a 2015 American action film Action film is a film genre in which the protagonist is thrust into a series of events that typically involve violence and physical feats. The genre tends to f ...
'' was to film driving sequences on Pikes Peak Highway in Colorado. The TV series ''
Good Luck Charlie ''Good Luck Charlie'' is an American sitcom A sitcom, a Portmanteau, portmanteau of situation comedy, or situational comedy, is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who mostly carry over from episode to episode. Sitcoms c ...
'' was set, but not filmed, in Denver, Colorado. The Colorado Office of Film and Television has noted that more than 400 films have been shot in Colorado. There are also a number of established film festivals in Colorado, including
Aspen Shortsfest The Aspen Shortsfest is an annual Oscar® qualifying short film festival held in Aspen, Colorado Aspen is a List of municipalities in Colorado#Home rule municipality, home rule municipality that is the county seat and the List of municipalities ...
, Boulder International Film Festival, Castle Rock Film Festival, Denver Film Festival, Festivus Film Festival, Mile High Horror Film Festival, Moondance International Film Festival, Mountainfilm in Telluride, Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival, and
Telluride Film Festival The Telluride Film Festival (TFF) is a film festival A film festival is an organized, extended presentation of films in one or more cinemas or screening venues, usually in a single city or region. Increasingly, film festivals show some fi ...
. Many notable writers have lived or spent extended periods of time in Colorado.
Beat Generation The Beat Generation was a literary Subculture, subculture movement started by a group of authors whose work explored and influenced Culture of the United States, American culture and Politics of the United States, politics in the post-war era. T ...
writers
Jack Kerouac Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac (; March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969), known as Jack Kerouac, was an American novelist and poet who, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, was a pioneer of the Beat Generation. Of French Canadian Ame ...
and
Neal Cassady Neal Leon Cassady (February 8, 1926 – February 4, 1968) was a major figure of the Beat Generation The Beat Generation was a literary Subculture, subculture movement started by a group of authors whose work explored and influenced Cult ...
lived in and around Denver for several years each. Irish playwright
Oscar Wilde Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 185430 November 1900) was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of the most popular playwrights in London in the early 1890s. He is ...
visited Colorado on his tour of the United States in 1882, writing in his 1906 ''Impressions of America'' that
Leadville The City of Leadville is a List of municipalities in Colorado#Statutory city, statutory city that is the county seat, the most populous community, and the only List of municipalities in Colorado, incorporated municipality in Lake County, Colorad ...
was "the richest city in the world. It has also got the reputation of being the roughest, and every man carries a
revolver A revolver (also called a wheel gun) is a repeating firearm, repeating handgun that has at least one gun barrel, barrel and uses a revolving cylinder (firearms), cylinder containing multiple chamber (firearms), chambers (each holding a single ...
."


Cuisine

Colorado is known for its
Southwest The points of the compass are a set of horizontal, Radius, radially arrayed compass directions (or Azimuth#In navigation, azimuths) used in navigation and cartography. A compass rose is primarily composed of four cardinal directions—north, east ...
and Rocky Mountain cuisine, with Mexican restaurants found throughout the state.
Boulder In geology, a boulder (or rarely bowlder) is a rock (geology), rock fragment with size greater than in diameter. Smaller pieces are called cobble (geology), cobbles and pebbles. While a boulder may be small enough to move or roll manually, ot ...
was named America's Foodiest Town 2010 by Bon Appétit. Boulder, and Colorado in general, is home to a number of national food and beverage companies, top-tier restaurants and farmers' markets. Boulder also has more Master
Sommelier A sommelier ( or or ; ), or wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, normally working in fine restaurants, who specializes in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food pairing. The role of the wine steward in hau ...
s per capita than any other city, including San Francisco and New York.
Denver Denver () is a consolidated city and county, the capital, and most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Its population was 715,522 at the 2020 census, a 19.22% increase since 2010. It is the 19th-most populous city in the Unite ...
is known for steak, but now has a diverse culinary scene with many restaurants. Polidori Sausage is a brand of pork products available in supermarkets, which originated in Colorado, in the early 20th century. The Food & Wine Classic is held annually each June in
Aspen Aspen is a common name for certain tree species; some, but not all, are classified by botanists in the section (botany), section Populus sect. Populus, ''Populus'', of the ''Populus'' genus. Species These species are called aspens: *''Popul ...
. Aspen also has a reputation as the culinary capital of the Rocky Mountain region.


Wine and beer

Colorado wines include award-winning varietals that have attracted favorable notice from outside the state. With wines made from traditional ''
Vitis vinifera ''Vitis vinifera'', the common grape vine, is a species of flowering plant, native to the Mediterranean Basin, Mediterranean region, Central Europe, and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern ...
'' grapes along with wines made from cherries, peaches, plums and honey, Colorado wines have won top national and international awards for their quality. Colorado's grape growing regions contain the highest elevation
vineyard A vineyard (; also ) is a plantation of grape-bearing vines, grown mainly for winemaking, but also raisins, table grapes and non-alcoholic grape juice. The science, practice and study of vineyard production is known as viticulture. Vineyards ...
s in the United States, with most
viticulture Viticulture (from the Latin word for ''vine'') or winegrowing (wine growing) is the cultivation and harvesting of grapes. It is a branch of the science of horticulture. While the native territory of ''Vitis vinifera'', the common grape vine, ran ...
in the state practiced between
above sea level Height above mean sea level is a measure of the Vertical position, vertical distance (height, elevation or altitude) of a location in reference to a historic mean sea level taken as a vertical datum. In geodesy, it is formalized as ''orthometric h ...
. The mountain
climate Climate is the long-term weather pattern in an area, typically averaged over 30 years. More rigorously, it is the mean and variability of meteorological variables over a time spanning from months to millions of years. Some of the meteorologi ...
ensures warm summer days and cool nights. Colorado is home to two designated
American Viticultural Area An American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States, providing an official appellation for the mutual benefit of winery, wineries and consumers. Winemakers frequently want their consumers to know abo ...
s of the Grand Valley AVA and the West Elks AVA, where most of the vineyards in the state are located. However, an increasing number of wineries are located along the
Front Range The Front Range is a mountain range of the Southern Rocky Mountains of North America located in the central portion of the U.S. Colorado, State of Colorado, and southeastern portion of the U.S. Wyoming, State of Wyoming. It is the first mountain ...
. In 2018,
Wine Enthusiast Magazine ''Wine Enthusiast'' magazine is an American wine magazine published by Wine Enthusiast Companies in Valhalla, New York. Founded in 1979 by Adam and Sybil Strum, Wine Enthusiast Companies engages in the wine accessories, storage, information, educat ...
named Colorado's Grand Valley AVA in Mesa County, Colorado, as one of the Top Ten wine travel destinations in the world. Colorado is home to many nationally praised
microbreweries Craft beer is a beer that has been made by craft breweries. They produce smaller amounts of beer, typically less than large breweries, and are often independently owned. Such breweries are generally perceived and marketed as having an emphasis o ...
, including
New Belgium Brewing Company New Belgium Brewing Company is a nationally distributed brewery in the United States. The brand produces Fat Tire Amber Ale, Voodoo Ranger IPA, Mural Agua Fresca Cerveza, and La Folie Sour Brown Ale, among other regular and seasonal beer varietie ...
, Odell Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing Company, and Bristol Brewing Company. The area of northern Colorado near and between the cities of Denver,
Boulder In geology, a boulder (or rarely bowlder) is a rock (geology), rock fragment with size greater than in diameter. Smaller pieces are called cobble (geology), cobbles and pebbles. While a boulder may be small enough to move or roll manually, ot ...
, and
Fort Collins A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from Latin ''fortis'' ("strong") and ''facere'' ...
is known as the "Napa Valley of Beer" due to its high density of
craft breweries A craft or trade is a pastime A hobby is considered to be a regular activity that is done for enjoyment, typically during one's leisure time. Hobbies include collecting themed items and objects, engaging in creative and artistic purs ...
.


Marijuana and hemp

Colorado is open to
cannabis ''Cannabis'' () is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae. The number of species within the genus is disputed. Three species may be recognized: ''Cannabis sativa'', ''Cannabis indica, C. indica'', and ''Cannabis ruderalis, ...
(marijuana)
tourism Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring (disambiguation), touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tour (disambiguation), tours. Th ...
. With the adoption of the 64th state amendment in 2012, Colorado became the first state in the union to legalize marijuana for
medicinal Medicine is the science and Praxis (process), practice of caring for a patient, managing the diagnosis, prognosis, Preventive medicine, prevention, therapy, treatment, Palliative care, palliation of their injury or disease, and Health promotion ...
(2000), industrial (referring to
hemp Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a botanical class of ''Cannabis sativa'' cultivars grown specifically for industrial or medicinal use. It can be used to make a wide range of products. Along with bamboo, hemp is among the fastest growing plants o ...
, 2012), and
recreational Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for happiness, enjoyment, amusement, ...
(2012) use. Colorado's marijuana industry sold $1.31 billion worth of marijuana in 2016 and $1.26 billion in the first three-quarters of 2017. The state generated tax, fee, and license revenue of $194 million in 2016 on legal marijuana sales. Colorado regulates hemp as any part of the plant with less than 0.3% THC. On April 4, 2014, Senate Bill 14–184 addressing oversight of Colorado's industrial hemp program was first introduced, ultimately being signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper on May 31, 2014.


Medicinal use

On November 7, 2000, 54% of Colorado voters passed Amendment 20, which amends the Colorado State constitution to allow the medical use of marijuana. A patient's medical use of marijuana, within the following limits, is lawful: * (I) No more than of a usable form of marijuana; and * (II) No more than twelve marijuana plants, with six or fewer being mature, flowering plants that are producing a usable form of marijuana. Currently Colorado has listed "eight medical conditions for which patients can use marijuana—cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, muscle spasms, seizures, severe pain, severe nausea and cachexia, or dramatic weight loss and muscle atrophy". While governor,
John Hickenlooper John Wright Hickenlooper Jr. (; born February 7, 1952) is an American politician serving as the junior United States senator The United States Senate is the Upper house, upper chamber of the United States Congress, with the United State ...
allocated about half of the state's $13 million "Medical Marijuana Program Cash Fund" Several links are found, including .PDF documents to download. to medical research in the 2014 budget. By 2018, the Medical Marijuana Program Cash Fund was the "largest pool of pot money in the state" and was used to fund programs including research into pediatric applications for controlling autism symptoms.


Recreational use

On November 6, 2012, voters amended the state constitution to protect "personal use" of marijuana for adults, establishing a framework to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to
alcohol Alcohol most commonly refers to: * Alcohol (chemistry) In chemistry, an alcohol is a type of organic compound that carries at least one hydroxyl () functional group bound to a Saturated and unsaturated compounds, saturated carbon atom. The ...
. The first recreational marijuana shops in Colorado, and by extension the United States, opened their doors on January 1, 2014.


Sports

Colorado has five major professional sports leagues, all based in the Denver metropolitan area. Colorado is the least populous state with a franchise in each of the major professional sports leagues. The Colorado Springs Snow Sox professional baseball team is based in Colorado Springs. The team is a member of the
Pecos League Pecos may refer to: Places * Pecos River, rises near Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States * Pecos, Texas, a city in Reeves County, Texas, United States * Pecos County, Texas, named for the Pecos River ** Pecos Spring, a spring * Pecos, New Mexico, a ...
, an
independent baseball Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, area of the United States during the early 1930s * Independen ...
league which is not affiliated with
Major Major (Commandant (rank), commandant in certain jurisdictions) is a military rank of commissioned officer status, with corresponding ranks existing in many military forces throughout the world. When used unhyphenated and in conjunction with ...
or Minor League Baseball. The
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), also known as The Race to the Clouds, is an annual automobile Hillclimbing, hillclimb to the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado, USA. The track measures and has over 156 turns, climbing ...
is a major hill climbing motor race held on the Pikes Peak Highway. The Cherry Hills Country Club has hosted several professional golf tournaments, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Women's Open,
PGA Championship The PGA Championship (often referred to as the US PGA Championship or USPGA outside the United States) is an annual golf tournament conducted by the Professional Golfers' Association of America. It is one of the four men's Men's major golf champ ...
and BMW Championship.


Professional sports teams


College athletics

The following universities and colleges participate in the
National Collegiate Athletic Association The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO) or non-profit organisation, also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is ...
Division I. The most popular college sports program is the University of Colorado Buffaloes, who used to play in the Big-12 but now play in the Pac-12. They have won the 1957 and 1991
Orange Bowl The Orange Bowl is an annual American college football bowl game played in the Miami metropolitan area. It has been played annually since 1935 Orange Bowl, January 1, 1935, making it, along with the Sugar Bowl and the Sun Bowl, the second-oldes ...
, 1995
Fiesta Bowl The Fiesta Bowl is an American college football bowl game played annually in the Phoenix metropolitan area. From its beginning in 1971 until 2006, the game was hosted at the Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. Since 2007, the game has been playe ...
, and 1996
Cotton Bowl Classic The Cotton Bowl Classic (also known as the Cotton Bowl) is an American college football College football (french: Football universitaire) refers to gridiron football played by teams of student athletes. It was through college football pla ...
.


Transportation

Colorado's primary mode of transportation (in terms of passengers) is its highway system. Interstate 25 (I-25) is the primary north-south highway in the state, connecting Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Denver, and Fort Collins, and extending north to Wyoming and south to New Mexico.
I-70 Interstate 70 (I-70) is a major east–west Interstate Highway The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, commonly known as the Interstate Highway System, is a network of controlled-access highways ...
is the primary east-west corridor. It connects Grand Junction and the mountain communities with Denver and enters Utah and Kansas. The state is home to a network of US and Colorado highways that provide access to all principal areas of the state. Many smaller communities are connected to this network only via county roads.
Denver International Airport Denver International Airport , locally known as DIA, is an international airport in the Western United States The Western United States (also called the American West, the Far West, and the West) is the List of regions of the United States#C ...
(DIA) is the third-busiest domestic U.S. and international airport in the world by passenger traffic. DIA handles by far the largest volume of commercial air traffic in Colorado and is the busiest U.S. hub airport between Chicago and the Pacific coast, making Denver the most important airport for connecting passenger traffic in the western United States. Public transportation bus services are offered both intra-city and inter-city—including the Denver metro area's RTD services. The
Regional Transportation District The Regional Transportation District, more commonly referred to as RTD, is the regional agency operating public transit services in eight out of the twelve counties in the Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area in the U.S. state of Colo ...
(RTD) operates the popular
RTD Bus & Rail RTD Bus and Rail (branded as TheRide) is a transit system in the Denver, Denver, Colorado, Denver metropolitan area, metropolitan area. Operated by the Regional Transportation District (RTD), it currently runs 86 local, 23 regional, 14 limited ...
transit system in the
Denver Metropolitan Area Denver, Colorado, Denver is the central city of a conurbation region in the U.S. state of Colorado. The conurbation includes one continuous region consisting of the six central counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jeffers ...
. the RTD rail system had 170 light-rail vehicles, serving of track. In addition to local public transit, intercity bus service is provided by Burlington Trailways,
Bustang Bustang is an intercity bus An intercity bus service (North American English North American English (NAmE, NAE) is the most generalized variety of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic langua ...
, Express Arrow, and
Greyhound Lines Greyhound Lines, Inc. (commonly known as simply Greyhound) operates the largest intercity bus service An intercity bus service (North American English) or intercity coach service (British English and Commonwealth English), also called a l ...
.
Amtrak The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Trade name, doing business as Amtrak () , is the national Passenger train, passenger railroad company of the United States. It operates inter-city rail service in 46 of the 48 contiguous United Stat ...
operates two passenger rail lines in Colorado, the
California Zephyr The ''California Zephyr'' is a passenger train A passenger train is a train used to transport people along a railroad line. These trains may consist of unpowered passenger railroad cars (also known as coaches or carriages) hauled by one o ...
and
Southwest Chief The ''Southwest Chief'' (formerly the ''Southwest Limited'' and ''Super Chief'') is a passenger train operated by Amtrak The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Trade name, doing business as Amtrak () , is the national Passenger tra ...
. Colorado's contribution to world railroad history was forged principally by the
Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad , often shortened to ''Rio Grande'', D&RG or D&RGW, formerly the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, was an American Class I railroad Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transpor ...
which began in 1870 and wrote the book on mountain railroading. In 1988 the "Rio Grande" was acquired, but was merged into, the
Southern Pacific Railroad The Southern Pacific (or Espee from the railroad initials- SP) was an American Railroad classes#Class I, Class I Rail transport, railroad network that existed from 1865 to 1996 and operated largely in the Western United States. The system was ...
by their joint owner
Philip Anschutz Philip Frederick Anschutz ( ; born December 28, 1939) is an American billionaire A billionaire is a person with a net worth of at least one billion (1,000,000,000, i.e., a thousand million) units of a given currency, usually of a major ...
. On September 11, 1996, Anschutz sold the combined company to the
Union Pacific Railroad The Union Pacific Railroad , legally Union Pacific Railroad Company and often called simply Union Pacific, is a freight-hauling railroad that operates 8,300 locomotives over routes in 23 U.S. states west of Chicago and New Orleans. Union Paci ...
, creating the largest railroad network in the United States. The Anschutz sale was partly in response to the earlier merger of Burlington Northern and Santa Fe which formed the large Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), Union Pacific's principal competitor in western U.S. railroading. Both Union Pacific and BNSF have extensive freight operations in Colorado. Colorado's freight railroad network consists of 2,688 miles of Class I trackage. It is integral to the U.S. economy, being a critical artery for the movement of energy, agriculture, mining, and industrial commodities as well as general freight and manufactured products between the East and Midwest and the Pacific coast states. In August 2014, Colorado began to issue driver licenses to aliens not lawfully in the United States who lived in Colorado. In September 2014, KCNC reported that 524 non-citizens were issued Colorado driver licenses that are normally issued to U.S. citizens living in Colorado.


Education

The first institution of
higher education Higher education is tertiary education leading to award of an academic degree. Higher education, also called post-secondary education, third-level or tertiary education, is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completio ...
in the Colorado Territory was the Colorado Seminary, opened on November 16, 1864, by the
Methodist Episcopal Church The Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) was the oldest and largest Methodist denomination in the United States from its founding in 1784 until 1939. It was also the first religious denomination in the US to organize itself on a national basis. In ...
. The seminary closed in 1867, but reopened in 1880 as the
University of Denver The University of Denver (DU) is a private research university A research university or a research-intensive university is a university that is committed to research as a central part of its mission. They are the most important sites at ...
. In 1870, the Bishop George Maxwell Randall of the Episcopal Missionary District of Colorado and Parts Adjacent opened the first of what become the
Colorado University Schools The Colorado University Schools campus was the multi-collegiate campus in Golden, Colorado, spearheaded by the visionary missionary Bishop George Maxwell Randall of the Episcopal Church (United States), Episcopal Church. History Having a minister ...
which would include the Territorial School of Mines opened in 1873 and sold to the Colorado Territory in 1874. These schools were initially run by the Episcopal Church. An 1861 territorial act called for the creation of a public university in Boulder, though it would not be until 1876 that the
University of Colorado The University of Colorado (CU) is a system A system is a group of interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described b ...
was founded. The 1876 act also renamed Territorial School of Mines as the
Colorado School of Mines The Colorado School of Mines, informally called Mines, is a Public university, public research university in Golden, Colorado, founded in 1874. The school offers both undergraduate degree, undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, scien ...
. An 1870 territorial act created the Agricultural College of Colorado which opened in 1879. The college was renamed the Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1935, and became
Colorado State University Colorado State University (Colorado State or CSU) is a Public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university in Fort Collins, Colorado. It is the flagship university of the Colorado State University System. Colorado S ...
in 1957. The first Catholic college in Colorado was the
Jesuit The Society of Jesus ( la, Societas Iesu; abbreviation: SJ), also known as the Jesuits (; la, Iesuitæ), is a religious order (Catholic), religious order of clerics regular of pontifical right for men in the Catholic Church headquartered in Rom ...
Sacred Heart College, which was founded in New Mexico in 1877, moved to Morrison in 1884, and to Denver in 1887. The college was renamed Regis College in 1921 and
Regis University Regis University is a private Jesuit The Society of Jesus ( la, Societas Iesu; abbreviation: SJ), also known as the Jesuits (; la, Iesuitæ), is a religious order (Catholic), religious order of clerics regular of pontifical right for men in ...
in 1991. On April 1, 1924, armed students patrolled the campus after a
burning cross In modern times, cross burning or cross lighting is a practice which is associated with the Ku Klux Klan. However, it was practiced long before the Klan's inception. Since the early 20th century, the Klan burned crosses on hillsides as a way to i ...
was found, the climax of tensions between Regis College and the locally-powerful Ku Klux Klan. Following a 1950 assessment by the Service Academy Board, it was determined that there was a need to supplement the U.S. Military and
Naval Academies A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically authorize ...
with a third school that would provide commissioned officers for the newly independent Air Force. On April 1, 1954, President
Dwight Eisenhower Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (born David Dwight Eisenhower; ; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American military officer and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, ...
signed a law that moved for the creation of a U.S. Air Force Academy. Later that year, Colorado Springs was selected to host the new institution. From its establishment in 1955 until the construction of appropriate facilities in Colorado Springs was completed and opened in 1958, the Air Force Academy operated out of
Lowry Air Force Base Lowry Air Force Base (Lowry Field in 1938–1948) is a former United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) training base during World War II and a United States Air Force (USAF) training base during the Cold War, serving as the initial 1955–1958 si ...
in Denver. With the opening of the Colorado Springs facility, the cadets moved to the new campus, though not in the full-kit march that some urban and campus legends suggest. The first class of
Space Force A space force is a military branch of a nation's armed forces that conducts military operations in outer space and space warfare. The world's first space force was the Russian Space Forces, established in 1992 as an independent military service. ...
officers from the Air Force Academy commissioned on April 18, 2020. * Adams State University * Aims Community College *
Arapahoe Community College Arapahoe Community College (ACC) is a public community college A community college is a type of educational institution. The term can have different meanings in different countries: many community colleges have an "open enrollment" for stu ...
* Belleview Christian College & Bible Seminary * Colorado Christian University *
Colorado College Colorado College is a private college, private Liberal arts colleges in the United States, liberal arts college in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was founded in 1874 by Thomas Nelson Haskell in his daughter's memory. The college enrolls approxi ...
*
Colorado Mesa University Colorado Mesa University is a public university in Grand Junction, Colorado. The university's other locations include Bishop Campus, which houses Western Colorado Community College in northwestern Grand Junction, and a regional campus in Mont ...
*
Colorado Mountain College Colorado Mountain College (CMC) is a Public college, public community college with multiple campuses in western Colorado. Founded in 1965, the institution offers numerous associate degrees, seven bachelor's degrees and a variety of career-technic ...
* Colorado Northwestern Community College *
Colorado School of Mines The Colorado School of Mines, informally called Mines, is a Public university, public research university in Golden, Colorado, founded in 1874. The school offers both undergraduate degree, undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, scien ...
* Colorado State University System **
Colorado State University Colorado State University (Colorado State or CSU) is a Public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university in Fort Collins, Colorado. It is the flagship university of the Colorado State University System. Colorado S ...
** Colorado State University Pueblo ** CSU–Global Campus *
Colorado Technical University Colorado Technical University (CTU) is a private for-profit university with its main campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado Colorado Springs is a List of municipalities in Colorado#Home rule municipality, home rule municipality in, and the coun ...
* Community College of Aurora * Community College of Denver * Denver Seminary * DeVry University * Emily Griffith Opportunity School *
Fort Lewis College Fort Lewis College is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociology ...
*
Front Range Community College Front Range Community College (FRCC) is a public community college A community college is a type of educational institution. The term can have different meanings in different countries: many community colleges have an "open enrollment" for ...
* Iliff School of Theology * Johnson & Wales University * Lamar Community College *
Metropolitan State University of Denver Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver or Metro State) is a public university A public university or public college is a university or college that is in state ownership, owned by the state or receives significant government sp ...
* Morgan Community College *
Naropa University Naropa University is a private university Private universities and private colleges are institutions of higher education, not operated, owned, or institutionally funded by governments. They may (and often do) receive from governments tax ...
* Nazarene Bible College * Northeastern Junior College * Otero College * Pikes Peak State College * Pueblo Community College * Red Rocks Community College *
Regis University Regis University is a private Jesuit The Society of Jesus ( la, Societas Iesu; abbreviation: SJ), also known as the Jesuits (; la, Iesuitæ), is a religious order (Catholic), religious order of clerics regular of pontifical right for men in ...
* Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design *
Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine ''Rocky'' is a 1976 American sports drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and written by and starring Sylvester Stallone Sylvester Enzio Stallone (; born Michael Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone, ) is an American actor and filmmaker. Aft ...
* Trinidad State College *
United States Air Force Academy The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) is a United States service academies, United States service academy in El Paso County, Colorado, El Paso County, Colorado, immediately north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Colorado Springs. It edu ...
*
University of Colorado System The University of Colorado (CU) is a system A system is a group of interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described b ...
**
University of Colorado Boulder The University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder, CU, or Colorado) is a Public university, public research university in Boulder, Colorado. Founded in 1876, five months before Colorado became a Federated state, state, it is the flagship universit ...
**
University of Colorado Colorado Springs The University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the totality of such groupings. This is a ...
**
University of Colorado Denver The University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) is a public research university in Denver, Colorado. It is part of the University of Colorado system. History University of Colorado System Anschutz Medical Campus The University of Colorado cr ...
***
Anschutz Medical Campus The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is the academic Outline of health sciences, health sciences campus in Aurora, Colorado that houses the University of Colorado's six health sciences-related schools and colleges, including the Un ...
*** Auraria Campus *
University of Denver The University of Denver (DU) is a private research university A research university or a research-intensive university is a university that is committed to research as a central part of its mission. They are the most important sites at ...
*
University of Northern Colorado The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) is a public university A public university or public college is a university or college that is in state ownership, owned by the state or receives significant government spending, public funds throu ...
*
Western Colorado University Western Colorado University (Western) is a public university A public university or public college is a university or college that is in state ownership, owned by the state or receives significant government spending, public funds through a na ...


Military installations

The major
military installation A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and Military operation, operations. A military base always provides ...
s in Colorado include: *
Buckley Space Force Base Buckley Space Force Base is a United States Space Force base in Aurora, Colorado named after United States Army Air Service First lieutenant, First Lieutenant John Harold Buckley. The base is run by Space Base Delta 2, with major units including ...
** Air Reserve Personnel Center *
Fort Carson Fort Carson is a United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare, land military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight Uniformed services of the United States, U.S. uniformed se ...
( U.S. Army) ** Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site *
Peterson Space Force Base Peterson Space Force Base, previously Peterson Air Force Base, Peterson Field, and Army Air Base, Colorado Springs, is a United States Space Force, U.S. Space Force Base that shares an airfield with the adjacent Colorado Springs Municipal Airp ...
**
Cheyenne Mountain Space Force Station Cheyenne Mountain Space Force Station (CMSFS) is located in Cheyenne Mountain on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in unincorporated area, unincorporated El Paso County, Colorado, next to Colorado Springs, Colorado, Colorado Springs, The C ...
*
Pueblo Chemical Depot The Pueblo Chemical Depot is a chemical weapons storage site located in Pueblo County, Colorado, United States. The Pueblo Chemical Depot is one of the last two sites in the United States with chemical munitions and chemical material. The Pueblo ...
( U.S. Army) *
Schriever Space Force Base Schriever Space Force Base, previously Schriever Air Force Base, Falcon Air Force Base, and Falcon Air Force Station, is a base of the United States Space Force located approximately east of Peterson Space Force Base near Colorado Springs, Col ...
*
United States Air Force Academy The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) is a United States service academies, United States service academy in El Paso County, Colorado, El Paso County, Colorado, immediately north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Colorado Springs. It edu ...
Former military posts in Colorado include: * Spanish Fort (1819–1821) * Fort Massachusetts (1852–1858) * Fort Garland (1858–1883) * Camp Collins (1862–1870) *
Fort Logan Fort Logan was a military installation located eight miles southwest of Denver, Colorado. It was established in October 1887, when the first soldiers camped on the land, and lasted until 1946, when it was closed following the end of World War ...
(1887–1946) * Fitzsimons Army Hospital (1918–1999) * Denver Medical Depot (1925-1949) *
Lowry Air Force Base Lowry Air Force Base (Lowry Field in 1938–1948) is a former United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) training base during World War II and a United States Air Force (USAF) training base during the Cold War, serving as the initial 1955–1958 si ...
(1938–1994) * Pueblo Army Air Base (1941-1948) *
Rocky Mountain Arsenal The Rocky Mountain Arsenal was a United States chemical weapons manufacturing center located in the Denver Metropolitan Area in Commerce City, Colorado, Commerce City, Colorado. The site was completed December 1942, operated by the United States ...
(1942-1992) *
Camp Hale Camp Hale was a United States Army, U.S. Army training facility in the Western United States, western United States, constructed in 1942 for what became the 10th Mountain Division (United States), 10th Mountain Division. Located in central Color ...
(1942–1945) * La Junta Army Air Field (1942-1946) * Leadville Army Air Field (1943-1944) * Colorado National Guard Armory (1913-1933)


Government


State government

Like the federal government and all other U.S. states, Colorado's Constitution of the State of Colorado, state constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial branches. The Governor of Colorado heads the state's executive branch. The current governor is Jared Polis, a Democrat. Colorado's other statewide elected executive officers are the Lieutenant Governor of Colorado (elected on a Ticket (election), ticket with the Governor), Secretary of State of Colorado, Colorado State Treasurer, and Attorney General of Colorado, all of whom serve four-year terms. The seven-member Colorado Supreme Court is the state's highest court, with seven justices. The Colorado Court of Appeals, with 22 judges, sits in divisions of three judges each. Colorado is divided into 22 judicial districts, each of which has a district court and a county court with limited jurisdiction. The state also has Colorado water courts, specialized water courts, which sit in seven distinct divisions around the state and which decide matters relating to water rights and the use and administration of water. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses – the Colorado House of Representatives, House of Representatives and the Colorado Senate, Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. , the Democratic Party holds a 20 to 15 majority in the Senate and a 41 to 24 majority in the House. Most Coloradans are native to other states (nearly 60% according to the 2000 census), and this is illustrated by the fact that the state did not have a native-born governor from 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) until 2007, when Bill Ritter took office; 2006 Colorado gubernatorial election, his election the previous year marked the first electoral victory for a native-born Coloradan in a gubernatorial race since 1958 (Vanderhoof had ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973). Tax is collected by the Colorado Department of Revenue.


Politics

Colorado was once considered a swing state, but has become a relatively safe Red states and blue states, blue state in both state and federal elections. In presidential elections, it had not been won until 2020 United States presidential election in Colorado, 2020 by double digits since 1984 United States presidential election in Colorado, 1984, and has backed the winning candidate in 9 of the last 11 elections. Coloradans have elected 17 Democratic Party (United States), Democrats and 12 Republican Party (United States), Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado was considered a reliably Republican state during the post-World War II era, voting for the Democratic candidate only in 1948, 1964, and 1992. However, it became a competitive swing state in the 1990s. Since the mid-2000s, it has swung heavily to the Democrats, voting for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Joe Biden in 2020. Colorado politics has the contrast between conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and Grand Junction and liberal cities such as Boulder and Denver. Democrats are strongest in Denver Metropolitan Area, metropolitan Denver, the college towns of
Fort Collins A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from Latin ''fortis'' ("strong") and ''facere'' ...
and
Boulder In geology, a boulder (or rarely bowlder) is a rock (geology), rock fragment with size greater than in diameter. Smaller pieces are called cobble (geology), cobbles and pebbles. While a boulder may be small enough to move or roll manually, ot ...
, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and several western ski resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springs, Greeley, and far Western Colorado near Grand Junction. Colorado is represented by two United States Senate, United States Senators: * Classes of United States Senators, United States Senate Class 2,
John Hickenlooper John Wright Hickenlooper Jr. (; born February 7, 1952) is an American politician serving as the junior United States senator The United States Senate is the Upper house, upper chamber of the United States Congress, with the United State ...
(Democratic Party (United States), Democratic) 2021– * Classes of United States Senators, United States Senate Class 3, Michael Bennet (Democratic Party (United States), Democratic) 2009– Colorado is represented by seven United States House of Representatives, Representatives to the United States House of Representatives: * Colorado's 1st congressional district, Diana DeGette (Democratic Party (United States), Democratic) 1997– * Colorado's 2nd congressional district, Joe Neguse (Democratic Party (United States), Democratic) 2019– * Colorado's 3rd congressional district, Lauren Boebert (Republican Party (United States), Republican) 2021– * Colorado's 4th congressional district, Ken Buck (Republican Party (United States), Republican) 2015– * Colorado's 5th congressional district, Doug Lamborn (Republican Party (United States), Republican) 2007– * Colorado's 6th congressional district, Jason Crow (Democratic Party (United States), Democratic) 2019– * Colorado's 7th congressional district, Ed Perlmutter (Democratic Party (United States), Democratic) 2007– In a 2020 study, Colorado was ranked as the 7th easiest state for citizens to vote in.


Significant initiatives and legislation enacted in Colorado

In 1881 Colorado voters approved a referendum that selected
Denver Denver () is a consolidated city and county, the capital, and most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Its population was 715,522 at the 2020 census, a 19.22% increase since 2010. It is the 19th-most populous city in the Unite ...
as the 1881 Colorado state capital referendum, state capital. Colorado was the first state in the union to enact, by voter referendum, 1893 Colorado women's suffrage referendum, a law extending suffrage to women. That initiative was approved by the state's voters on November 7, 1893. On the November 8, 1932, ballot, Colorado approved the Repeal of Prohibition, repeal of alcohol prohibition more than a year before the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. Colorado has banned, via C.R.S. section 12-6-302, the sale of motor vehicles on Sunday since at least 1953. In 1972 Colorado voters rejected a 1972 Denver Winter Olympics referendum, referendum proposal to fund the 1976 Winter Olympics, which had been scheduled to be held in the state. Denver had been chosen by the International Olympic Committee as host city on May 12, 1970. In 1992, by a margin of 53 to 47 percent, Colorado voters approved an amendment to the state constitution (Amendment 2) that would have prevented any city, town, or county in the state from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to recognize homosexuals or bisexuals as a protected class. In 1996, in a 6–3 ruling in ''Romer v. Evans'', the U.S. Supreme Court found that preventing protected status based upon homosexuality or bisexuality did not satisfy the Equal Protection Clause.. In 2006, voters passed 2006 Colorado Amendment 43, Amendment 43, which banned gay marriage in Colorado. That initiative was nullified by the Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 decision in ''Obergefell v. Hodges''. In 2012, voters amended the state constitution protecting the "personal use" of marijuana for adults, establishing a framework to regulate
cannabis ''Cannabis'' () is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae. The number of species within the genus is disputed. Three species may be recognized: ''Cannabis sativa'', ''Cannabis indica, C. indica'', and ''Cannabis ruderalis, ...
like
alcohol Alcohol most commonly refers to: * Alcohol (chemistry) In chemistry, an alcohol is a type of organic compound that carries at least one hydroxyl () functional group bound to a Saturated and unsaturated compounds, saturated carbon atom. The ...
. The first recreational marijuana shops in Colorado, and by extension the United States, opened their doors on January 1, 2014. On May 29, 2019, Governor Jared Polis signed House Bill 1124 immediately prohibiting law enforcement officials in Colorado from holding Illegal immigration to the United States, undocumented immigrants solely based on a request from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


Native American reservations

The two Indian reservation, Native American reservations remaining in Colorado are: *Southern Ute Indian Reservation — Southern Ute Indian Tribe (1873;
Ute dialect Ute Givón, T. ''Ute Reference Grammar''. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2011 is a dialect of the Colorado River Numic language, spoken by the Ute people. Speakers primarily live on three reservations: Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Oura ...
: ''Kapuuta-wa Moghwachi Núuchi-u'') *Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation — Ute Mountain Ute Tribe (1940;
Ute dialect Ute Givón, T. ''Ute Reference Grammar''. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2011 is a dialect of the Colorado River Numic language, spoken by the Ute people. Speakers primarily live on three reservations: Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Oura ...
: ''Wʉgama Núuchi'') The two abolished Indian reservations in Colorado were: *Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indian Reservation (1851–1870) *Southern Ute Indian Reservation, Ute Indian Reservation (1855–1873)


Protected areas

Colorado is home to List of national parks in Colorado, 4 national parks, List of national monuments in Colorado, 9 national monuments, List of national historic sites in Colorado, 3 national historic sites, List of national recreation areas in Colorado, 2 national recreation areas, List of national historic trails in Colorado, 4 national historic trails, List of national scenic trails in Colorado, 1 national scenic trail, List of national forests in Colorado, 11 national forests, List of national grasslands in Colorado, 2 national grasslands, List of national wildernesses in Colorado, 44 national wildernesses, List of national conservation areas in Colorado, 3 national conservation areas, List of national wildlife refuges in Colorado, 8 national wildlife refuges, List of national heritage areas in Colorado, 3 national heritage areas, List of national historic landmarks in Colorado, 26 national historic landmarks, List of national natural landmarks in Colorado, 16 national natural landmarks, more than 1,500 List of National Register of Historic Places in Colorado, National Register of Historic Places, List of wild and scenic rivers in Colorado, 1 wild and scenic river, List of Colorado state parks, 42 state parks, List of Colorado state wildlife areas, 307 state wildlife areas, List of Colorado natural areas, 93 state natural areas, List of national recreation trails in Colorado, 28 national recreation trails, List of regional trails in Colorado, 6 regional trails, and numerous other scenic, historic, and recreational areas. The following are the 23 units of the National Park System in Colorado: *Amache National Historic Site *Arapaho National Recreation Area *Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site *Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park *Browns Canyon National Monument *California National Historic Trail *Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument *Canyons of the Ancients National Monument *Chimney Rock National Monument * Colorado National Monument *Continental Divide National Scenic Trail *Curecanti National Recreation Area *
Dinosaur National Monument Dinosaur National Monument is an American national monument located on the southeast flank of the Uinta Mountains on the border between Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of ...
*Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument *
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is an American national park A national park is a nature park, natural park in use for conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a re ...
*
Hovenweep National Monument Hovenweep National Monument is located on land in southwestern Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. It encompasses most of the Southern Rocky Mountain ...
*Mesa Verde National Park and World Heritage Site, UNESCO World Heritage Site *Old Spanish National Historic Trail *Pony Express National Historic Trail *Rocky Mountain National Park *Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site *Santa Fe National Historic Trail *Yucca House National Monument


See also

*Outline of Colorado *Index of Colorado-related articles *Bibliography of Colorado


Footnotes


References


Further reading

* ''Explore Colorado, A Naturalist's Handbook'', The Denver Museum of Natural History and Westcliff Publishers, 1995, for an excellent guide to the ecological regions of Colorado. * ''The Archeology of Colorado'', Revised Edition, E. Steve Cassells, Johnson Books, Boulder, Colorado, 1997, trade paperback, . * ''Chokecherry Places, Essays from the High Plains'', Merrill Gilfillan, Johnson Press, Boulder, Colorado, trade paperback, . * * ''The Tie That Binds (novel), The Tie That Binds'', Kent Haruf, 1984, hardcover, , a fictional account of farming in Colorado. * ''Railroads of Colorado: Your Guide to Colorado's Historic Trains and Railway Sites'', Claude Wiatrowski, Voyageur Press, 2002, hardcover, 160 pages, *


External links


State government


Colorado state government website

Colorado tourism website

History Colorado website


Federal government


Energy & Environmental Data for Colorado

USGS Colorado state facts, real-time, geographic, and other scientific resources of Colorado

United States Census Bureau
*

*
2000 Census of Population and Housing for Colorado

USDA ERS Colorado state facts


Other


List of searchable databases produced by Colorado state agencies
hosted by the American Library Association Government Documents Roundtable


Ask Colorado

Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC)

Mountain and Desert Plants of Colorado and the Southwest


* *
Holocene Volcano in Colorado (Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program)
{{coord, 38.9972, -105.5478, dim:300000_region:region:US-CO_type:adm1st, name=State of Colorado, display=title Colorado, Former Spanish colonies States and territories established in 1876 States of the United States Western United States 1876 establishments in Colorado, Contiguous United States