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25+ Cool Facts About Colorado, from its Name and Cities to Attractions and Food!

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Want to learn some cool facts about Colorado? Here are fun and interesting facts about Colorado you may not know about.

Colorado, also known as the Centennial State, is a place of stunning landscapes and rich history.

When you’re a travelling to a destination, it’s always great to learn as much as you can about the destination.

Seven Falls in Colorado Springs

During my 7 day road trip in Colorado, one of the fun things we did on the bus ride between cities is a trivia game in which our hosts had us guessing some Colorado fun facts.

I learned so many interesting things about Colorado that I never knew and wanted to share them (and my own findings) with you.

Here are cool facts about Colorado and, as a travelling foodie, I made sure to include interesting things about food too.

Fun Facts About Colorado in General

These are general Colorado fun facts whether about its name, being the highest, the largest, the most of something, or interesting things to know.

1. The Name

In Spanish, Colorado means “colored red” (color rojo), and it refers to the reddish color of the Grand River (renamed to Colorado River on July 25th, 1921), which was due to the red rocks and clay features in the topography.

Colorado River view from Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs

2. The Royal Gorge Bridge

An attraction near Cañon City, Colorado above the Arkansas River, the Royal Gorge Bridge was the world’s highest suspension bridge for more than 70 years.

3. The Denver Mint

The Denver Mint produced 15.4 billion coins in fiscal year 2000, which is more coins than ever produced by a single U.S. Mint facility.

4. The Highest Paved Road

Just 60 miles west of Denver right off of I-70, the Mount Blue Sky Scenic Byway (formerly Mount Evans), is the highest paved road in North America at 14,258 feet above sea level at its highest.

5. The Centennial State

Colorado is nicknamed the “Centennial State” because it became a state in 1876, the 100th anniversary (after a century) of the United States Declaration of Independence.

Colorado State Capitol in Denver

6. The Tire Clamp

If you have ever received a tire clamp on your car, you can thank the Mile-High City for that. The first tire clamp was invented by the concert violinist, Frank Marugg in Denver in 1944.

7. The Colorado Flag

The Colorado flag features three horizontal stripes: white in the middle and blue at the edges. In the foreground is a red “C” filled with a golden disk.

The flag colors symbolize Colorado’s geographical features:

Gold for Colorado’s abundant sunshine

White for its snow-capped mountains

Blue for clear blue skies

And Red for the color of much of the state’s soil

Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs

8. The Highest Elevation

Colorado has the highest elevation of any U.S. state and the highest mean altitude in the United States with a mean elevation of 6,800 feet above sea level.

If you visit Rocky Mountain National Park, the elevation changes very widely, ranging from 7,600 feet to 14,259 feet

9. The Olympics

In 1976, the Winter Olympics were planned to be held in Denver but was turned down. Colorado is the only state in America to turn down the Olympics.

10. The World’s Largest Flat-Topped Mountain

The largest flat-topped mountain in the world is in Grand Mesa in western Colorado, 40 miles east of Grand Junction.

This 11,000-foot natural wonder is bursting with over 300 lakes and encompasses more than 500 square miles.

11. America the Beautiful

Katharine Lee Bates wrote the famous “America the Beautiful,” inspired by the beauty of Colorado’s Pikes Peak (which you can drive all the way to the top) located in Colorado Springs.

12. The Highest Automobile Tunnel

The Eisenhower Tunnel in Colorado is the highest automobile tunnel in the United States, at an elevation of 11,013 feet at the East Portal and 11,158 feet at the West Portal.

13. The Land Above 10,000 Feet

Colorado has over 75% of the land in the continental United States that is above 10,000 feet.

The Loveland Pass is the highest mountain pass in Colorado at 11,990 feet and, of course, I had to take a photo there in its snowy glory.

The highest mountain pass in Colorado

14. The World’s Largest Natural Hot Springs Pool

Colorado’s Glenwood Hot Springs is the world’s largest natural mineral hot springs pool.

15. The First Place to Issue License Plates

In 1908, Denver, Colorado, became the first city in the US to issue license plates on cars.

16. The 14ers

Colorado is known for the 14ers (Fourteeners), which are mountains/peaks that exceed 14,000 feet in elevation, and there are 58 of them.

At an elevation of 14,433 feet, Mount Elbert is Colorado’s highest peak and the second highest peak in the lower 48 states.

The white colored tents over the terminal at Denver International Airport that you see from outside represent the 14ers.

Also Read: Best Nature Attractions in Washington State

17. The Largest Beer Festival

Colorado’s drink scene is quite strong with 330 breweries, 140 wineries and over 90 distilleries.

In fact, the annual Great American Beer Festival is the biggest convention held in Denver.

But that’s not all! GABF is also the largest beer festival in the USA and one of the largest in the world.

In Denver, Pedal Pubs are party beer bikes from Pedal Hopper

18. The Ghost Towns

There are over 1,500 ghost towns in Colorado, and most of them are now attractions like Elmo, Independence and Carson.

19. The World’s First Mountain-Top Renewable Energy Theme Park

Located on top of Iron Mountain, not only is Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park the only mountain top theme park in America with the highest elevation in North America, but it is also the first mountain-top theme park using 100% renewable energy through clean wind.

I loved my time there exploring the King’s Row Cave, and riding the adrenaline-pumping Crystal Tower and relaxing Alpine Coaster.

Fun Facts About Colorado Cities

These are cool and interesting facts about Colorado cities.

20. The Sweetheart City

Loveland is known as “The Sweetheart City” in Colorado, and for good reason!

The Loveland Valentine Program re-mails hundreds of thousands of Valentine’s Day letters every year, each affixed with a special Valentine’s Day collector stamp.

21. The Mile High City

The capital city of Colorado is Denver, which also happens to be its most populous city.

Denver is also known as the “Mile High City” because it sits at 5,280 feet above sea level, exactly one mile!

Big Blue Bear outside the Colorado Convention Center in Denver

22. Centennial, Colorado

The city of Centennial was named after Colorado’s nickname “The Centennial State.” Centennial is home to the popular 17-mile House Farm Park with a preserved 19th-century farmhouse.

Interesting Things About Colorado Food & Drinks

For the travelling foodies! Of course, I’m including interesting facts about Colorado that are related to food and drinks.

Tex-Mex or Colo-Mex cuisine is widely abundant in Colorado due to Latinos being the second-largest population group.

23. The Pinto Bean Capital of the World

Dove Creek, Colorado, is self-proclaimed the “Pinto Bean Capital of the World”. This farming town’s climate and altitude help produce some of the best pinto beans including cousins like Anasazi beans.

24. The Cheeseburger

Did you know? The name “cheeseburger” was trademarked by Louis Ballast of Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver in 1935.

25. The Green Chile

Colorado has their version of Green Chile (Chili Verde) which uses Pueblo Chile from Pueblo, Colorado unlike New Mexico’s Green Chile which uses Hatch Chile.

There is much debate on which version is better.

You’ll find some interesting ways they use Green Chile in Colorado. During my 7 days in Colorado, I had it as:

Green Chile Breakfast Bowl

Green Chile Tater Tots

Pulled Pork Green Chili (that’s not a stew)

Bison Enchilada with Green Chile sauce

Bison Enchiladas with Green Chile at Ed’s Cantina in Estes Park

26. The Exotic Oysters

One of the most exotic things you can eat in Colorado is Rocky Mountain Oysters.

These “oysters” are not the typical shellfish oysters you’re thinking of.

They are actually deep-fried bull testicles that are skinned and coated in flour, pepper and salt.

Would you dare try it?

I’m always curious to try exotic foods when it’s part of a destination’s culture or history.

As someone who has tried the Balut, an exotic Filipino food, I wanted to try Rocky Mountain Oysters during my trip since I’ve never had them before, but our Colorado road trip group didn’t want to try so we didn’t visit restaurants that served them. Hopefully, next time!

These are just a few of the many cool and fun facts about Colorado. How many did you already know vs did not know?

Whether you’re a resident, a visitor, or just someone interested in learning more about the beautiful Centennial state, there’s always something new to discover in Colorado.

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