Colorado

State of Colorado
Flag of ColoradoState seal of Colorado
FlagSeal
Nickname(s):
Motto(s): Nil sine numine
(English: Nothing without providence)
State song(s): Where the Columbines Grow" and "Rocky Mountain High[1]
Map of the United States with Colorado highlighted
Official languageEnglish
DemonymColoradan
Capital
(and largest city)
Denver
Largest metroDenver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO MSA
AreaRanked 8th
 • Total104,094 sq mi
(269,837 km2)
 • Width280 miles (450 km)
 • Length380 miles (610 km)
 • % water0.36%
 • Latitude37°N to 41°N
 • Longitude102°02'48"W to 109°02'48"W
PopulationRanked 21st
 • Total5,695,564 (2018)
 • Density52.0/sq mi  (19.9/km2)
Ranked 37th
 • Median household income$69,117[2] (12th)
Elevation
 • Highest pointMount Elbert[3][4][5][6] in Lake County
14,440 ft (4401.2 m)
 • Mean6,800 ft  (2070 m)
 • Lowest pointArikaree River[4][5] at the Kansas border
3,317 ft (1011 m)
Admitted to the UnionAugust 1, 1876[7] (38th)
GovernorJared Polis (D)
Lieutenant GovernorDianne Primavera (D)
LegislatureGeneral Assembly
 • Upper houseSenate
 • Lower houseHouse of Representatives
U.S. SenatorsMichael Bennet (D)
Cory Gardner (R)
U.S. House delegation4 Democrats
3 Republicans (list)
Time zoneMountain Time Zone: UTC−7/UTC−6
ISO 3166US-CO
Abbreviationswww.colorado.gov
Colorado state symbols
Flag of Colorado designed by Andrew Carlisle Carson.svg
Seal of Colorado.svg
Living insignia
AmphibianWestern tiger salamander
Ambystoma mavortium
BirdLark bunting
Calamospiza melanocoryus
CactusClaret cup cactus
Echinocereus triglochidiatus
FishGreenback cutthroat trout
Oncorhynchus clarki somias
FlowerRocky Mountain columbine
Aquilegia coerulea
GrassBlue grama grass
Bouteloua gracilis
InsectColorado Hairstreak
Hypaurotis crysalus
MammalRocky Mountain bighorn sheep
Ovis canadensis
PetColorado shelter pets
Canis lupus familiaris
and Felis catus
ReptileWestern painted turtle
Chrysemys picta bellii
TreeColorado blue spruce
Picea pungens
Inanimate insignia
ColorsBlue, Red, Yellow, White
DinosaurStegosaurus
Folk danceSquare dance
Chorea quadra
FossilStegosaurus
Stegosaurus armatus
GemstoneAquamarine
MineralRhodochrosite
RockYule Marble
ShipUSS Colorado (SSN-788)
SloganColorful Colorado
SoilSeitz
SportPack burro racing
TartanColorado State Tartan
State route marker
Colorado state route marker
State quarter
Colorado quarter dollar coin
Released in 2006
Lists of United States state symbols
Interactive map of Colorado

Colorado (/ (About this soundlisten), other variants)[8][9][10] is a state of the Western United States encompassing most of the southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. It is the 8th most extensive and 21st most populous U.S. state. The estimated population of Colorado was 5,695,564 on July 1, 2018, an increase of 13.25% since the 2010 United States Census.[11]

The state was named for the Colorado River, which early Spanish explorers named the Río Colorado for the ruddy silt the river carried from the mountains. The Territory of Colorado was organized on February 28, 1861,[12] and on August 1, 1876, U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed Proclamation 230 admitting Colorado to the Union as the 38th state.[7] Colorado is nicknamed the "Centennial State" because it became a state one century after the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence.

Colorado is bordered by Wyoming to the north, Nebraska to the northeast, Kansas to the east, Oklahoma to the southeast, New Mexico to the south, Utah to the west, and touches Arizona to the southwest at the Four Corners. Colorado is noted for its vivid landscape of mountains, forests, high plains, mesas, canyons, plateaus, rivers and desert lands. Colorado is part of the western and southwestern United States, and is one of the Mountain States.

Denver is the capital and most populous city of Colorado. Residents of the state are known as Coloradans, although the antiquated term "Coloradoan" is occasionally used.[13][14]

Geography

Colorado is notable for its diverse geography, which includes alpine mountains, high plains, deserts with huge sand dunes, and deep canyons. In 1861, the United States Congress defined the boundaries of the new Territory of Colorado exclusively by lines of latitude and longitude, 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).[12] After 158 years of government surveys, the borders of Colorado are now officially defined by 697 boundary markers and 697 straight boundary lines.[15] Colorado, Wyoming and Utah are the only states that have their borders defined solely by straight boundary lines with no natural features.[16] The southwest corner of Colorado is the Four Corners Monument at 36°59'56"N, 109°2'43"W.[17][18] This is the only place in the United States where four states meet: Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.[16]

Ten Mile Range and Dillon Reservoir near Breckenridge, Colorado

Mountains

The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401.2 m) elevation in Lake County is the highest point in Colorado and the Rocky Mountains of North America.[3] Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in Colorado at 3,317 feet (1,011 m) elevation. This point, which holds the distinction of being the highest low elevation point of any state,[4][19] is higher than the high elevation points of 18 states and the District of Columbia.

A view of the arid high plains in Southeastern Colorado
The Calhan Paint Mines on the Colorado Eastern Plains

Plains

A little less than half of Colorado is flat and rolling land. East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Nebraska at elevations ranging from roughly 3,350 to 7,500 feet (1,020 to 2,290 m).[20] The Colorado plains are mostly prairies but also include deciduous forests, buttes, and canyons. Precipitation averages 15 to 25 inches (380 to 640 mm) annually.[21]

Eastern Colorado is presently mainly farmland and rangeland, along with small farming villages and towns. Corn, wheat, hay, soybeans, and oats are all typical crops. Most villages and towns in this region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator. Irrigation water is available from both surface and subterranean sources. Surface water sources include the South Platte, the Arkansas River, and a few other streams. Subterranean water is generally accessed through artesian wells. 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

Front Range Peaks west of Denver

Roughly 70% of Colorado's population resides along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor between Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Pueblo, 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, Fort Collins, 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, and Montrose.

Continental Divide

The Continental Divide of the Americas extends along the crest of the Rocky Mountains. 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 and the Green River into the Gulf of California.

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, 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 headwaters of the South Platte River.

Southern region

The tallest dunes in North America at Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado

In southmost Colorado is the large San Luis Valley, where the headwaters of the Rio Grande are located. The valley sits between the Sangre De Cristo Mountains and San Juan Mountains, 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, a major geological formation of the Rocky Mountains, and its branches.

The high desert lands that make up the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado

Peaks

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, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg, in southern Colorado. This area drains to the east and the southeast, ultimately either via the Mississippi River or the Rio Grande into the Gulf of Mexico.

Peaks of the San Juan Mountains

The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 53 peaks that are 14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher in elevation above sea level, known as fourteeners.[22] These mountains are largely covered with trees such as conifers and aspens up to the tree line, at an elevation of about 12,000 feet (3,658 m) in southern Colorado to about 10,500 feet (3,200 m) 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 with the exception of a few snow-capped peaks and a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado. Mount Elbert is the highest summit of the Rocky Mountains. The 30 highest major summits of the Rocky Mountains of North America all lie within the state.

Rim Arch in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness in western Colorado
Sandstone cliffs along the Colorado River north of Wolcott

Colorado Western Slope

The Grand Valley in Western Colorado, a large valley made up of high desert terrain. The city of Grand Junction is located in the heart of the valley

The Western Slope area of Colorado includes the western face of the Rocky Mountains and all of the state 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 in the western edge of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is located just west of Colorado Springs. Its isolated peak is visible from nearly the Kansas border on clear days, and also far to the north and the south.[23] The northwestern corner of Colorado is a sparsely populated region, and it contains part of the noted Dinosaur National Monument, which is not only a paleontological 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, Canon City, Florence, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, San Luis Valley, Cortez, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Ute Mountain, Delta, Grand Junction, Colorado National Monument, and other areas surrounding the Uncompahgre Plateau and Uncompahgre National Forest.

The Western Slope of Colorado is drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries (primarily the Gunnison River, 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 to Parachute, 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 are 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, a high arid region that borders Southern Utah.

The Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction. The monument is made up of high desert canyons and sandstone rock formations.
The Four Corners Monument, with Ute Mountain in the distance.

Grand Junction, Colorado is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction and Durango are the only major centers of television broadcasting west of the Continental Divide in Colorado, though most mountain resort communities publish daily newspapers. Grand Junction is located along Interstate 70, the only major highway in Western Colorado. Grand Junction is also along the major railroad of the Western Slope, the Union Pacific. This railroad also provides the tracks for Amtrak's California Zephyr 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 resorts of Aspen, Breckenridge, Vail, Crested Butte, Steamboat Springs, and Telluride.

Higher education in and near the Western Slope can be found at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Western Colorado University in Gunnison, Fort Lewis College in Durango, and Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs and Steamboat Springs.

The Four Corners Monument in the southwest corner of Colorado marks the common boundary of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah; the only such place in the United States.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Colorado
አማርኛ: ኮሎራዶ
Ænglisc: Colorado
العربية: كولورادو
aragonés: Colorado
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܟܘܠܘܪܐܕܘ
arpetan: Colorado
asturianu: Colorado
Avañe'ẽ: Colorado
Aymar aru: Colorado suyu
azərbaycanca: Kolorado
বাংলা: কলোরাডো
Bân-lâm-gú: Colorado
башҡортса: Колорадо
беларуская: Каларада
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Каларада
भोजपुरी: कोलोरैडो
Bikol Central: Colorado
Bislama: Colorado
български: Колорадо
Boarisch: Colorado
བོད་ཡིག: ཁོ་ལོ་ར་ཌོ།
bosanski: Colorado
brezhoneg: Colorado
буряад: Колорадо
català: Colorado
Чӑвашла: Колорадо
čeština: Colorado
Chavacano de Zamboanga: Colorado
corsu: Colorado
Cymraeg: Colorado
dansk: Colorado
davvisámegiella: Colorado
Deutsch: Colorado
Diné bizaad: Dibé Nitsaa Hahoodzo
eesti: Colorado
Ελληνικά: Κολοράντο
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Culuràdo
español: Colorado
Esperanto: Koloradio
euskara: Colorado
فارسی: کلرادو
Fiji Hindi: Colorado
føroyskt: Colorado
français: Colorado
Frysk: Kolorado
Gaeilge: Colorado
Gaelg: Colorado
Gagauz: Kolorado
Gàidhlig: Colorado
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Colorado
хальмг: Колорадо
한국어: 콜로라도주
Hausa: Colorado
Hawaiʻi: Kololako
հայերեն: Կոլորադո
हिन्दी: कॉलोराडो
hornjoserbsce: Colorado
hrvatski: Colorado
Igbo: Colorado
Ilokano: Colorado
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: কলোরাডো
Bahasa Indonesia: Colorado
interlingua: Colorado
Interlingue: Colorado
ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ/inuktitut: ᑰᓘᕌᑑ
Iñupiak: Kalaraadu
isiXhosa: IKholorado
isiZulu: Colorado
íslenska: Colorado
italiano: Colorado
עברית: קולורדו
Jawa: Colorado
Kabɩyɛ: Koloradoo
Kapampangan: Colorado
қазақша: Колорадо
kernowek: Kolorado
Kiswahili: Colorado
Kreyòl ayisyen: Kolorado
kurdî: Colorado
кырык мары: Колорадо
لۊری شومالی: کولورادو
Latina: Coloratum
latviešu: Kolorādo
Lëtzebuergesch: Colorado (Bundesstaat)
Ligure: Colorado
Limburgs: Colorado
Lingua Franca Nova: Colorado
la .lojban.: kolorados
lumbaart: Colorado
magyar: Colorado
मैथिली: कोलोराडो
македонски: Колорадо
Malagasy: Kolorado
മലയാളം: കൊളറാഡോ
Māori: Colorado
मराठी: कॉलोराडो
მარგალური: კოლორადოშ შტატი
مازِرونی: کلرادو
Bahasa Melayu: Colorado
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Colorado
монгол: Колорадо
Nāhuatl: Colorado
Dorerin Naoero: Colorado
Nederlands: Colorado (staat)
Nedersaksies: Colorado
नेपाली: कोलोराडो
नेपाल भाषा: कोलोरादो
日本語: コロラド州
нохчийн: Колорадо
Nordfriisk: Colorado
norsk: Colorado
norsk nynorsk: Colorado
олык марий: Колорадо
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Kolorado
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਕੋਲੋਰਾਡੋ
پنجابی: کولوراڈو
Papiamentu: Colorado
پښتو: کلراډو
Piemontèis: Colorado
Tok Pisin: Kolorado
Plattdüütsch: Colorado
português: Colorado
română: Colorado
rumantsch: Colorado
Runa Simi: Colorado suyu
русский: Колорадо
Gagana Samoa: Kolorato
संस्कृतम्: कोलोराडो
sardu: Colorado
Scots: Colorado
Seeltersk: Colorado
shqip: Colorado
sicilianu: Coloradu
Simple English: Colorado
سنڌي: ڪولراڊو
slovenščina: Kolorado
ślůnski: Kolorado
کوردی: کۆلۆرادۆ
српски / srpski: Колорадо
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Colorado
suomi: Colorado
svenska: Colorado
Tagalog: Colorado
தமிழ்: கொலராடோ
татарча/tatarça: Колорадо (штат)
తెలుగు: కొలరాడో
тоҷикӣ: Колорадо
Tsetsêhestâhese: Colorado
Türkçe: Colorado
українська: Колорадо
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: Kolorado Shitati
vèneto: Cołorado
Tiếng Việt: Colorado
Volapük: Colorado
Winaray: Colorado
ייִדיש: קאלאראדא
Yorùbá: Colorado
Zazaki: Colorado
Zeêuws: Colorado
žemaitėška: Kolorads (valstėjė)