Colorado currently has 271 active incorporated municipalities, of which 196 are towns, 73 are cities and 2 are consolidated city and county governments. On top of that, there are numerous unincorporated communities spread across the state. Read our towns blog.
Browse by Colorado Counties.
Guide to Towns in Colorado
Colorado was first inhabited by Native Americans over 13,000 years ago. The first Europeans to visit the region were Spanish conquistadors. Colorado means “the color red” in Spanish and was named after the Colorado River’s red appearance.
In 1706 Juan de Ulibarri claimed the territory of Colorado. In 1846 the United States went to war with Mexico and Mexico was forced to give up their Northern territories in 1848. This opened the Southern Rocky Mountains to American settlement, including what is now the lower part of Colorado.
People searching for gold in 1849 and 1850 were led to the Rocky Mountains. Because of the Gold Rush the territory was organized in 1859 and new towns began to form. These gold seekers were called the Fifty-Niners and often ran into the original inhabitants, the Native Americans.
These interactions were sometimes sour and led to the Colorado War between the United States and Native Americans, from 1863-1865. The United States won the war and took over. Colorado was admitted to the Union as a state on August 1, 1876, making it the 38th state. It was the first state in the Union to grant women the right to vote in 1893. In 1887 Aspen was the first town to provide electricity to all its residents.
Denver is the capital and largest city of Colorado. It was where the first pieces of gold were found in 1858. It was founded because of the gold rush. In the first few years after Denver was established it was destroyed twice, once by fire and once by flooding. It was named Denver after Kansas Territorial Governor James Denver.
Following the gold rush was the the Colorado Silver Boom in 1879. Silver had been discovered in Leadville. This then lead to coal mining. This was very dangerous and resulted in over 1700 deaths between 1884 and 1914. In 1980 coal mining production in Colorado was at its greatest as the United States became more dependent on energy resources at home rather than overseas.
Many of the towns in Colorado were originally founded as mining towns. Some have since dissolved away into ghost towns and others have evolved into large tourists destinations now focused on recreation.
Colorado towns have a lot to offer to visitors as well as residents. Each one has its own unique history and attractions. You’ll be able to entertain the whole family. When you travel around the state you’ll be sure to discover things you never knew about different local towns.
Towns to See in Colorado
Some towns get more attention than others, but fun can be found nearly anywhere. From the Rockies to the Plains, Colorado is one of the most diverse states with a feeling of ‘there’s always something to see’. An abundance of colorful towns are interconnected by equally scenic highways.
Colorado’s capital city, Denver, boasts a population of over 650,000 residents and one of the most relaxed cultures around. It’s a booming metropolitan, with new construction all over and new Denverites arriving daily.
Colorado’s ten largest cities: (all happen to be on the Front Range)
- 1. Denver
- 2. Colorado Springs
- 3. Aurora
- 4. Fort Collins
- 5. Lakewood
- 6. Thornton
- 7. Pueblo
- 8. Arvada
- 9. Westminster
- 10. Centennial