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Colorado State Guide

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Colorado is commonly known as the “Centennial State” and lies as a part of the United State's South-western and western regions and also a part of the Mountain States. The state encompasses the entirety of the Southern Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Plateau's north-eastern portion and the western periphery of the Great Plains.. Denver is the capital city of Colorado. Colorado became the 38th state of the United States on August 1, 1876 [1].

Colorado Fast Facts:

  • Capital and largest city: Denver
  • Largest metro: Denver Aurora CSA
  • State Bird: Lark Bunting
  • State Tree: Colorado Blue Spruce
  • State Flower: Rocky Mountain Columbine
  • State Song: Where the Columbines Grow and Rocky Mountain High
  • State Soil: Seitz
  • State Gemstone: Aquamarine


History of Colorado

Prior to the European settlements, many Native Americans settled in Colorado for over 10000 years. The valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau were occupied by the Ancient Pueblo peoples. The regions of the the Western and the Southern Rocky Mountains were inhabited by the Ute Nation. The Eastern and Southeastern regions of Colorado are inhabited by the Apache and the Comanche.

The Spanish explorers first arrived in Colorado and later followed by many gold miners, hunters and trappers. The Spanish colony of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mejico was established at the village of San Juan de los Caballeros. French claimed the Mississippi River and its watershed and gave the name La Louisiane.

With the Louisiana Purchase from France, a territorial claim of the eastern Rocky Mountains was relinquished by the United States, but it conflicted with Spain's claim to sovereign. The United States took control over the Mississippi River along with its whole western watershed while Spain also had control over the Mississippi River and smaller regions covering areas west of the river.

In 1819, the Adams-Onis Treaty was signed between the United States and Spain. The United States claimed regions west of the 100th meridian west of Greenwich, south of the 42nd parallel north and south and west of the Arkansas River, while Spain claimed Florida. In 1848, the entirety of the present-day Colorado came under the authority of the United States with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo with Mexico to bring an end to the Mexican–American War and claimed the northern territories.

On August 1, 1876, Clorado became the 38th state and was called the "Centennial State". The Colorado Silver boom commenced with the discovery of silver near Leadville in 1878. In the following months, gold was also discovered at Cripple Creek and attracted many gold seekers.

Colorado History Timeline

  • 1680 - The Pueblo Revolt started which was led by the shaman Pope of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo against the Spanish rulers of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mejico.

  • 1762 - The Treaty of Fontainebleau resulted in the transfer of the La Louisiane colony of the Kingdom of France to the Kingdom of Spain with.

  • 1800 - The third Treaty of San Ildefonso was sihned and the Kingdom of Spain transferred the colony of Luisiana back to the French Republic due to the pressure from Napoleon Bonaparte.

  • 1859 - Gold is found along Chicago Creek.

  • 1876 - Colorado joined the Union and became the 38th State.

  • 1879 - The final military encounter between whites and plains Indians occurred in the eastern part of the territory at Summit Springs.

  • 1903 - Colorado divided Arapahoe County into three new counties, namely South Arapahoe County, the City and County of Denver and Adams County.

  • 1912 - The Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company established in Denver.

  • 1952 - Construction of the United States Atomic Energy Commission Rocky Flats Plant began in northwest of Denver.

  • 1994 - Light rail service in Denver began by the Regional Transportation District.

  • 1995 - Denver International Airport opened and replaced Stapleton International Airport.

  • 2011 - John Hickenlooper became the forty-second Governor of the State of Colorado.

Geography of Colorado

Colorado Geography Fast Facts:

Total Area: 104,094 sq mi (269,837 km2)
Longitude: 102o03'W to 109o03'W
Latitude: 37oN to 41oN
Largest city: Denver
Highest point: Mount Elbert in Lake County at 14,440 ft (4401.2 m)
Mean point: 6,800 ft (2070 m)
Lowest point: Arikaree River at the Kansas border at 3,317 ft (1011 m)
Time Zone: Mountain: UTC-07/UTC-06
Colorado covers a total land area of 103,641.89 square miles [2]. Colorado is bordered to the north by Wyoming, to the northeast by Nebraska, to the east by Kansas, to the southeast by Oklahoma, to the south by New Mexico, to the west by Utah and to the southwest by Arizona. The state has varied topography encompassing forests, vivid landscape of mountains, mesas, high plains, plateaus, canyons, desert lands and rivers. Denver-Aurora CSA is the largest metro of Colorado. Mt. Elbert is the highest point in Colorado.

Topography of Colorado

Colorado encompasses many mountains and is nestled in the Rocky Mountain region of the nation. Although the major portion of the state is mountainous but some part of the state is relatively flat. The state has the highest mean elevation of all the other states of US. Colorado may be divided into 4 physiological divisions, namely the Great Plains (eastern part), the Rocky Mountains (central part), the Colorado Plateau (western part) and smaller section called the Intermontane Basin that is located in the northern part of the Colorado Plateau.

Great Plains

The Great Plains region is flat and dry regions which are included to the Interior Plain of North America. The region extends from Canada in the north to Mexico in the south and crosses through the United States. The major portion of the eastern half of the state is occupied by the Great Plains.

Rocky Mountains

Colorado's Rocky Mountains are part of the Rocky Mountain chain of ranges and is located to the western part of the Great Plains and also covers some central portion of the state. Colorado is home to the highest mountain peaks in the Rocky Mountains chain. The Continental Divide directly crosses through the Colorado Rockies and its eastern rivers and streams flow into the Atlantic Ocean. While the western rivers and streams of the Divide are Pacific Ocean bound.

There are six major rivers that flow in and around the region.

  • Rio Grande, South Platte, North Platte, Arkansas and Republican Rivers - These are rivers on the east of the Continental divide that flow toward the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Colorado River - It flows on the west of the Continental Divide and run toward the Pacific Ocean.

The 5 significant mountain ranges that form the Colorado Rocky Mountains include-

  • The Front Rangemountain
  • The Sangre de Cristo Mountains
  • The Park Range
  • The Sawatch Range
  • The San Juan Mountains

Colorado Plateau

The Colorado Plateau lies to the western side of the Rocky Mountains and extend parallel to the border of Utah. The region comprises of hills, plateaus, deep valleys, and flat topped mountains, referred as mesas.

Intermontane Basin

The Intermontane Basin occupies the northwestern corner of Colorado. The Intermontane Basin is the state's smallest land area and features several rolling forested hills, many sagebrush and plateaus.

Mountain Peaks of Colorado

The top 10 mountain peaks in Colorado based on its elevation-

  • Mount Elbert in Sawatch Range at 14,440 ft
  • Mount Massive in Sawatch Range at 14,428 ft
  • Mount Harvard in Sawatch Range at 14,421 ft
  • La Plata Peak in Sawatch Range at 14,368 ft
  • Blanca Peak in Sangre de Cristo Mountains at 14,351 ft
  • Uncompahgre Peak in San Juan Mountains at 14,321 ft
  • Crestone Peak in Sangre de Cristo Mountains at 14,300 ft
  • Mount Lincoln in Mosquito Range at 14,293 ft
  • Castle Peak in Elk Mountains at 14,279 ft
  • Grays Peak in Front Range at 14,278 ft

Forests in Colorado

The forests in Colorado and their multiple resources are important for the economic growth of the state. Additionally, apart from being a home to varied flora and fauna, forests enhance the people's quality of life by clearing the pollutants and providing cleaner, clearer air to breathe in and also preserve drinking water resources. The forests of the state are the important source of timber, bio fuel and bio energy resources.

The National Forests in Colorado are-

  • The Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest
  • Grand Mesa National Forest
  • Gunnison National Forest
  • Pike National Forest
  • Rio Grande National Forest
  • Routt National Forest
  • San Isabel National Forest
  • San Juan National Forest
  • Uncompahgre National Forest
  • White River National Forestforests

Colorado State Forest (CSF)
59228 Highway 14
Walden, CO 80480-9520
(970) 723-4505
FAX (970) 723-8494

Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS)

State Headquarters
(970) 491-6303
(970) 491-7736 FAX

Physical Address
3843 LaPorte Ave.
Fort Collins, CO 80523-5060

Mailing Address
Colorado State Forest Service
5060 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-5060

Learn more: Colorado State Forest Service

Demographics of Colorado

The population of Colorado as of 2014 estimation by the U.S. Census Bureau was 5,355,866. The 2014 census reflected a hike of 6.5% since the year 2010. As of 2010, the population density of the state is 48.5 persons per square mile. Denver is the most populous city of Colorado. The state's center of population is situated in Jefferson County [3].

Colorado population quick facts according to the Census Bureau [3]

  • Population, 2014: 5,355,866
  • Population, 2013: 5,272,086
  • Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014: 6.5%
  • Persons under 5 years, percent, 2013: 6.4%
  • Persons under 18 years, percent, 2013: 23.5%
  • Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2013: 12.3%
  • Female persons, percent, 2013: 49.8%

Colorado Racial groups, 2013 [3]

  • White alone: 88.0%
  • Black or African American alone: 4.4%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native alone: 1.6%
  • Asian alone: 3.0%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone: 0.2%
  • Two or More Races: 2.8%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 21.0%
  • White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 69.4%

The major religious groups in the state are –

  • Protestant
  • Roman Catholic
  • Mormon
  • Jewish
  • Muslim
  • Buddhist
  • Hindu

Economy of Colorado

Colorado has been ranked among the top 15 states in the nation based on the per capita personal income by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the early days, the state's economy mainly dependent on industry such as mining, mineral extractions and processing, but currently raising live stocks and agricultural products have become important and show remarkable impact on the state's economy. The Federal Government also plays major driving economic force in Colorado. Several nationally recognized brand names have originated in the laboratories and factories in Colorado.


Some of the significant federal facilities in Colorado are -

  • NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command)
  • United States Air Force Academy
  • Schriever Air Force Base located approximately 10 miles east of Peterson Air Force Base
  • Fort Carson, located in Colorado Springs within El Paso County NOAA, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center near Lakewood
  • The Denver Mint, Buckley Air Force Base, and Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver
  • Federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Canon City
  • 11 National Forests and four National Parks

The State’s important tax rates are-

  • Colorado income tax rate: flat 4.63% of federal taxable income irrespective of income level
  • Sales tax: 2.9% on retail sales

Agriculture in Colorado

  • The top 5 agricultural products based on revenue generated include cattle and calves, corn for grain, dairy products, hogs, and greenhouse and nursery products.

  • Carnations are the leading greenhouse product.

  • The leading crops of the state are wheat, beans, corn and hay, potatoes, grain sorghum, and sugar beets.

  • Apples is the major fruits grown in the state.

  • The state's major livestock products are cattle and calves. The state is one of the nation's largest livestock producers.

  • Dairy products like milk, sheep, hogs, chicken eggs and lambs are the other important livestock products of the state.

Industry in Colorado

  • Service industries in Colorado including business, community, and personal services contribute immensely to the state's economy.

  • The insurance, finance, and real estate industry are also ranked 2nd in providing major services to the people of the state.

  • Denver, the state capital city is a significant regional bank and is the major finance hub.

  • Ranked 3rd in the state's services sector are the wholesale and retails trade services.

  • In manufacturing sector, the production of scientific instruments, such as medical instruments and electric current measurement equipments.

  • Ranked 2nd in the manufacturing sector are the production of computers and communication equipments and food processing industries ranked 3rd in the state's manufacturing sector.

  • Coal, oil and natural gas are the primary mined products in Colorado.

  • Gold, sand and gravel, molybdenum and also in a lesser amount copper, silver, lead, zinc, limestone and granite are other valuable mined products in Colorado.

Tourism in Colorado

Tourism is also a principal part of Colorado’s economy. Many plans and programs are implemented to improve Colorado’s transportation network and accordingly enhance the tourism sector. Some of the major tourist attractions in Colorado include-

Rocky Mountain National Park
Pikes Peak in Pike National Forest monument
Mesa Verde National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Garden of the Gods
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Colorado National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument
Vail Ski Resort
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Elitch Gardens Theme Park
Mount Evans
Black Hawk

Transportation in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is efficiently working to offer a convenient, effective and safe multimodal transportation network and also provide easy connectivity of people and goods to many destinations and markets across Colorado and worldwide. CDOT manages and maintains numerous lane-miles of roadways, bridges, tunnels, rails and also responsible for air and water quality, communities and roadsides cleanliness. The department also has a division of Aeronautics and Division of Transit and Rail which support aviation and rail activities throughout the state.

The significant interstate highways in Colorado include Interstate 25, Interstate 70, Interstate 76, Interstate 225 and Interstate 270. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) operates under CDOT with its mission to prevent injuries, minimize vehicle related accidents and save lives.

The Colorado Division of Aeronautics aims to improve aviation education, aviation safety and to establish an efficient air transportation system. Air transport is an essential gateway of Colorado that serves the locals and tourists from all over the world. It is the major mode that offers all round efficient and easy connectivity. The Federal Aviation Administration authorizes and oversees all flight operations in Colorado.

Learn more: Transportation in Colorado

Government of Colorado

The Government of Colorado is guarded and established by the Colorado Constitution. Colorado became a 38th state of the United States on August 1, 1876. The government of Colorado is divided into three distinct branches, namely the Executive branch, the Legislative branch and the Judicial branch. Iowa is also nicknamed as the “the "Centennial State”.

The Colorado Executive Branch is a well functioning body of the government of Colorado and several state government departments work under the executive branch. The Governor of Colorado leads the government as well as the state as the chief executive head. The governor may serve the State for a four year term. The Legislative Branch of Colorado is a bicameral body which is called the Colorado General Assembly. The general assembly is divided into two separate bodies, namely Colorado Senate and Colorado House of Representatives.

Under the Colorado Constitution, the Judiciary branch applies and interprets laws and regulations to ensure justice in the state. The judicial system of Iowa is served by numerous efficient professionally trained judges. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court heads the Colorado’s court system. The state court system is classified into Colorado Supreme Court, Colorado Court of Appeals, Colorado district courts, Colorado county courts, Colorado water courts. There is also a municipal court which is not under the state court system.

Learn more: Government of Colorado

Colorado Health Care

The Colorado Department of Public Health works efficiently to improve the health and living standards of the community by implementing many health regulation services and policies. Various divisions and sub-divisions work concurrently with the department to optimize the health of the community. The department works in collaboration with local public health, health care providers, policymakers, and many others to successfully protect the health of the community. Connect for Health Colorado is a non-profit entity established by a state law. The organization is officially called the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange and is the official one stop market place that assists and supports the Coloradons to choose an effective health care plans and policies.

Learn more:
Colorado Health Care

Education in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) operates to improve the public education system and also to enhance student academic achievements and outputs. The department’s mission is to provide world class education and best values to the students to ensure success in education, workplace and in every spheres of life. The department offers resources and support to all schools, teachers and administrators who are working to build a quality education platform in the state.

Colorado's public Colleges and Universities

Adams State University
Colorado Mesa Universityeducation
Colorado State University
Colorado State University-Pueblo
Fort Lewis College
Metropolitan State University of Denver
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
University of Colorado Denver
University of Northern Colorado
Western State Colorado University
Aims Community College
Colorado Mountain College

Contact Details:
Colorado Dept. of Education
201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
Website: http://www.cde.state.co.us/

Sports in Colorado

Colorado is home to many professional sports teams, college sports, and individual sports.

Colorado's professional sports clubs

  • Denver Broncos Denver - Football
  • Denver Barbarians - Rugby union
  • Denver Nuggets - Basketball
  • Colorado Springs Sky Sox - Baseball
  • Colorado Rockies - Baseball
  • Colorado Avalanche - Ice hockey
  • Colorado RapidsCommerce City - Soccer
  • Colorado Mammoth - Lacrosse
  • Colorado Eagles Loveland - Ice hockey
  • Denver Outlaws - Lacrosse

Some of the major college sports teams are-

  • Colorado Buffaloes - University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Air Force Falcons - United States Air Force Academy
  • Colorado State Rams - Colorado State University
  • Denver Pioneers - University of Denver
  • Northern Colorado Bears - University of Northern Colorado


  1. Colorado Statehood
  2. Colorado Land Area
  3. Demographics of Colorado
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