A "Welcome to Colorful Colorado" street sign with a colorful sky on the background

39 Fun & Interesting Facts About Colorado (By a Local)

Colorado is full of interesting characters and fascinating facts! Colorado’s long and storied history means there are plenty of interesting and fun facts about Colorado that make it a truly unique place to visit and live.

Unsurprisingly, many facts about Colorado have to do with our famous mountains. Plenty more Colorado facts highlight the people who have lived here over the centuries, including their trials and their accomplishments. 

As a Colorado local, I’m proud to share these interesting, quirky facts about Colorado! If these Colorado facts inspire you to take a trip to check out the state, be sure to look over our Ultimate Travel Guide to Colorado to help you plan your trip! 

Table of Contents

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39 Interesting & Fun Colorado Facts

1. A Large Part of Colorado Isn’t Mountainous

Scenic view from the Eastern Plains of Colorado and the colorful sky over it during sunrise

Although most people think of the Rocky Mountains and 14ers when they think of Colorado, about 40% of the state is made up of the Eastern Plains. [Source]

2. Colorado Won The 1976 Olympics Bid…Then Gave It Back

Business leaders, the governor, and even the White House were excited to host the Olympics in Colorado in the mid-1970s. The voters? Not so much. Activists campaigned against the idea and voters soundly rejected it.  [Source]

3. Denver Usually Gets Its First Snow in October

View of fall aspen trees during winter season in Colorado

One fun fact about Denver is that the average date of the season’s first snow in Denver is October 18, although it’s earlier than that in the mountains. However, it’s not unusual for that snow to melt quickly, and for the state to get many more warm days in between snowfalls. [Source]

👉 Pro Tip: If you’re visiting Denver for a few days, check out Nate’s extensive list of Things to do in Denver!

4. But It Has Snowed In Colorado In Every Month Of The Year 

Although a typical snow season in the Front Range is from October to early May, Colorado has had snowstorms in every month of the year in the mountains. Fortunately, frigid weather doesn’t linger and a short time after a storm, everyone is back out hiking Colorado trails, climbing, and enjoying the outdoors.

5. Rocky Mountain National Park Has the Highest Paved Road of Any National Park

View of the author's family on top of Trail Ridge Road
The top of Trail Ridge Road…in July!

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is both the highest paved road at a national park, and the highest continuous paved road in North America. It peaks at 12,183 feet above sea level. 

👉 Read Next: Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best things to do and see in Colorado. Read the full list!

6. Colorado Celebrates A Frozen Dead Guy 

A Norwegian man brought his grandfather’s cryogenically preserved corpse to Nederland, Colorado, and since then, Frozen Dead Guys Days has become an annual wacky celebration of the dead man (who’s still there, hanging out in a Tuff Shed). There’s a polar plunge, a hearse parade, and a coffin race, among other events. 

7. Colorado Has 58 Mountains Over 14,000 Feet

The snowy Mount Elbert from afar

Known locally as “14ers,” Colorado has the highest number of mountains over 14,000 feet above sea level in the country. Mount Elbert is the tallest of all of them, at 14,439 feet above sea level. [Source]

📚 Related Reading: There are lots of great books about people climbing 14ers, but my favorite is this hilarious account of a dad in his 40s who decides to summit them all in a year. 

8. One of Colorado’s Richest Women Died Penniless and Alone

The story of Baby Doe Tabor is fascinating, heartbreaking, and somewhat scandalous for 1800s Colorado. Horace Tabor, a silver magnate, left his wife to marry Baby Doe, who was promptly snubbed by Denver’s society ladies. After the price of silver dropped and their fortune plummeted, Baby Doe ended up dying in a shack in Leadville, where her frozen body was found two days later. [Source]

👉 Pro Tip: You can tour the Matchless Mine, owned by the Tabors, along with many other Things to Do in Leadville.  

9. Colorado Had A Gold Rush 10 Years After California

The Colorado Gold Rush, also called the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, began in 1858 in Idaho Springs, CO. But it hit its peak a year later…and ten years after California’s. 

10. You Can See The Largest Gold Piece Ever Found In Colorado

Tom Groves and Henry Lytton found the largest piece of gold discovered in Colorado in 1887. The nugget was nicknamed “Tom’s Baby” because he wrapped it in a blanket and carried it around Breckenridge. You can now see Tom’s Baby at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

👉 Pro Tip: The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is one of several fun museums in Denver that are worth checking out!  

11. You Can Stand in Four States At Once

The author's kids in the Four Corners Monument
The kids were bugging us, so we sent them all off to different states!

Colorado is one of the four states that make up the Four Corners Monument – the others are New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. You can stand on the marker where the four states meet, or stick a hand and a foot in each different state.

12. There Are Several Mile High Markers Around Denver 

Denver’s nickname is The Mile High City, and there are several markers indicating the exact spot where places hit one mile. There are three markers on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol Building as measuring standards changed. There is also a row of purple seats at Coors Field where the Colorado Rockies play, that are exactly one mile high. 

13. Colorado Has a Wine Country

The Western Slope is home to 30 wineries in the cities of Grand Junction and nearby Palisade. The climate and nearby Colorado River make a great agricultural spot for grapes…and, of course, wine. [Source]

14. Colorado Has The Highest Paved Road In The U.S.

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway begins in Idaho Springs and climbs more than 7,000 feet, eventually reaching 14,130 feet. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in North America. In fact, you can drive to the parking lot, take the short walk to the top, and then brag you’ve summited a 14er!

15. More Than a Third of Colorado’s Land Is Owned By The Federal Government

The United States federal government owns 36.2% of Colorado’s 67 million acres of land. Most of the government-owned land is open for camping, hiking, and other forms of recreation. [Source]

16. Colorado Has the Tallest Sand Dune in the U.S.

View from the Great Sand Dunes National Park under the clear blue sky

Great Sand Dunes National Park is home to the tallest dunes in North America. It’s also one of the most complex dune systems in the world, making it a truly special national park! [Source]

17. The Best Time To Visit Colorado Is June Through October

Of course, deciding when to visit Colorado is going to depend on what you’d like to do, but the weather from June through October is warm. Most high elevation mountain passes are open, and there are lots of opportunities for outdoor activities. 

👉 Pro Tip: Check out our Colorado packing list to make sure you bring all the right clothing!

18. Weld County, Colorado Gets the Most Tornadoes of Any County in the U.S.

Most people don’t think of Colorado as tornado country, but east of the Rockies there are plenty of them. Weld County has the most tornado segments, and Colorado is in the top ten states that see the most tornadoes in the country.  

19. Colorado Is Home To A Federal Supermax Prison

The United States’ only federal supermax prison is in Florence, Colorado and is sometimes called the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” It houses El Chapo, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and other notorious inmates.

20. Colorado Has Four National Parks

The cliff palace ruins in Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Center

There are four national parks in Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde, and the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

Rocky Mountain National Park is the most popular of the four, and is one of the most popular national parks in the entire country. 

21. Denver Wasn’t Always the Colorado State Capitol

The first Colorado state capital was in Colorado City near Colorado Springs, followed by Golden, before Denver City became the capital in 1881.

22. Colorado is Home to The Longest Continuous Street in The U.S.

Colfax Avenue is just over 50 miles long, making it the longest continuous street in the country. Colfax Avenue has been called the “longest, wickedest street in America” and now makes up a long stretch of the Colfax Marathon. 

23. Cattle Tromp Through One of Denver’s Fanciest Hotels Every January

A herd of cattle during the National Western Stock Show Parade
(photo: Vicki L. Miller / Shutterstock)

As part of the National Western Stock Show, visitors can sign up to have Tea With Steer at the swanky Brown Palace Hotel, one of the most iconic hotels in downtown Denver. To kick off the stock show, there’s a cattle parade through the streets of downtown Denver as well. [Source]

24. WWII Troops Trained For Mountain Combat in the Rockies

The 10th Mountain Division trained near Leadville, Colorado for the mountain conditions they’d find fighting in mountainous regions of Europe. After the war, many of these soldiers came back and had a hand in establishing some of Colorado’s most iconic ski resorts

25. Colorado Has Pack Burro Races

Contestants and their burros, who are laden with traditional prospecting equipment, team up to run a 21 or 15 mile race through the mountains. Official rules include the line, “The runner may push, pull, drag or carry the burro”…but the human has to finish under their own power! [Source]

26. Colorado Has The World’s Largest Mineral Springs Pool

The Glenwood Hot Springs pool is the largest of its kind in the world and has been attracting guests to Glenwood Springs since it opened in 1888. In fact, Doc Holliday moved to Glenwood Springs to try to cure his tuberculosis with the healing waters of the springs. [Source]

♨️ Love hot springs? Glenwood Hot Springs is just one of 23 Best Hot Springs in Colorado!

27. Rocky Mountain Oysters Ain’t Seafood

Oh, boy, this is awkward. Colorado is known for Rocky Mountain Oysters, which are actually bull testicles. They’re often deep-fried and served up as an appetizer to people who want to try the dish for the novelty of it. Jokes abound.

👉 Pro Tip: To sample more Colorado flavors at the city’s best restaurants, join one of Denver’s food tours

28. The Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Is The Official State Animal

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep are only found – you guessed it! – in the Rocky Mountains, and are almost always hanging out above the treeline. 

29. Colorado Has The Highest Point On The Interstate Highway System

The Eisenhower–Edwin C. Johnson Memorial Tunnel is an impressive feat of engineering, boring into the mountainside to continue I-70. When it was built, it was the highest auto tunnel in the world, although other tunnels have surpassed that now. It’s the longest mountain tunnel and still the highest auto tunnel in the United States. 

30. Colorado Is Home To An Unsinkable Heroine

Molly Brown is an iconic Colorado figure who was a penniless bride in Leadville until her husband struck it rich in the mining industry. Molly was on the Titanic, but managed to escape in a lifeboat and tried to get the boat to turn back for survivors. She was known for her philanthropy and organized a committee to provide necessities for survivors of the Titanic. 

31. Denver International Airport Is The Largest Airport In Size In The U.S.

The Denver International Airport under the colorful sky during sunset in Colorado

Denver International Airport has a total land area of 33,531 acres, making it the largest airport in size in the country. The airport is also the subject of a number of conspiracy theories, which aren’t helped by its odd art installations and eerie underground baggage tunnels.

Although DIA is far and away the largest and most popular airport, Colorado has 13 commercial airports in total.

32. “America The Beautiful” Was Inspired By Pikes Peak

English teacher Katharine Lee Bates visited Pikes Peak while staying in Colorado Springs in the late 1800s and was so inspired by the view that she wrote the poem that became the lyrics to “America the Beautiful.” The song almost became the United States’ national anthem, but lost out to the “Star Spangled Banner.”  

🛎️ Need a Hotel? If you’re headed to visit Pikes Peak, here are ideas for where to stay in Colorado Springs!

33. Colorado Has The Highest Suspension Bridge In The Country

The Royal Gorge Bridge in Canon City boasts the highest suspension bridge in the United States and, for a while, the world. The Royal Gorge Bridge is 956 feet above the Arkansas River, and is 1,260 feet long. 

34. And The Highest Incorporated City In The Country

Leadville, Colorado is the highest incorporated city in the U.S. The city sits at 10,151 feet above sea level – about twice as high as The Mile High City.

35. The Cheeseburger Was Invented In Denver

In 1935, the owner of Denver’s Humpty Dumpty Drive-In, Louis Ballast, applied for a patent for a cheeseburger sandwich. A marker northwest of downtown Denver commemorates where his drive-in once stood. 

36. Colorado’s Nickname Is The Centennial State

Colorado became a state in 1876, 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, earning it the nickname “The Centennial State.” Along with the Centennial State, Colorado is also referred to as “Colorful Colorado” thanks to its brilliant scenery and striking red rocks. [Source]

37. Buffalo Bill Is Buried In Golden

The tomb of Buffalo Bill in Lookout Mountain Park
(photo: Jim Lambert / Shutterstock)

William Frederick Cody, known as “Buffalo Bill,” is buried at Lookout Mountain Park, in Golden, Colorado. 

38. The World’s Largest Flat-Top Mountain Is In Colorado

Grand Mesa, in Grand Junction, Colorado, is the largest flat-top mountain in the world. It covers hundreds of square miles and is a great spot for hiking and exploring. [Source]

39. “The Shining” Was Inspired By A Colorado Hotel

The Stanley Hotel in Colorado from the outside
(photo: Sean Xu / Shutterstock)

Stephen King and his wife stayed at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park in late September. They were the only guests because the hotel was about to close for the season, and the creepy atmosphere inspired his thriller.

Today, the Stanley Hotel is actually one of the best places to stay in Colorado for a unique experience.

🌲 Read Next: 11 Best Colorado State Parks

FAQs About Colorado

What is Colorado best known for?

Colorado is best known for the Rocky Mountains, and the natural scenery that’s found in them. The state of Colorado is also known for all the outdoor activities the mountains inspire like hiking, rafting, climbing, and mountain biking.

Colorado is also known for being a marijuana-friendly state, and was one of the first states in the country to legalize recreational marijuana.

What is something unique about Colorado?

Colorado claims to have held the world’s first rodeo on July 4th, 1869 in Deer Trail. The winner was awarded a suit of clothes. 

👉 Read Next: 33 Fun Facts About Denver

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Hopefully, you’ve learned some unique and helpful fun facts about Colorado! If discovering all these Colorado facts has you ready to take a trip to visit, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Colorado

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