[Colorful Colorado. Photo: Sean Papile] Colorado has gained in popularity recently due to the fact that it was one of the first states in the country to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. There is a lot more to the state and its beauty than just legal weed.
Among the 5 things you probably didn’t know about Colorado, there are things you should know. Colorado was the home to the first rodeo that ever took place. The cheeseburger was invented at a drive thru in the state’s capitol, Denver. The song “America the Beautiful” was written on top of Pikes Peak (one of the state’s most famous 14,000+ foot mountains.)
Interesting Facts about Colorado
Colorado is full of rich history and interesting facts. From being founded in 1876, one hundred years after America was founded, to being the eighth most extensive in terms of land mass, here are some of our favorite things to know about the Centennial State.
1. Colorado Is Home To Some Unique Towns
Unique? Yes, and in some cases dead. There are around 500 dead, ghost towns in Colorado which is almost as high as the number of towns that people currently occupy. Among the “live” cities in Colorado, Loveland is the “Sweetheart City,” Rocky Ford has been nominated the “Melon capitol of the world,” Dove Creek calls themselves the “Pinto bean capitol of the world,” and Trinidad was known for a long time as the “sex change capitol of the world.”
The town of Florence is nicknamed “Prison Town USA” due to the large amount of federal and state prisons in the area. Fountain, (a city south of Colorado Springs) was said to be the city in America that best represents the demographics of the whole country!
2. Throughout History There Have Been Two Major Population Booms in Colorado, and Now the State Is Working on Their Third
The first drastic increase in population Colorado had was the gold and silver boom of the late 1800’s. Silver was found first, then gold! Many people flooded to the state in the 1800’s looking to strike it rich on the pay dirt.
To this day Colorado is the home to the largest gold nugget ever found, the largest silver chunk ever found, and the fifth largest diamond ever found. After the thrill of the gold rush died down in the early 1900’s, people started populating Colorado for health reasons.
It was said back in the day, that Colorado’s dry, cooler climate helped people deal with symptoms of Tuberculosis. Many retreats for T.B. patients opened up offering people relief in the mountains. The latest population surge is getting called the “green boom.” Since marijuana was made legal, many people are moving to the state to indulge into a little legal hippie grass.
3. Despite the Booms, Colorado’s Population Is Still Relatively Small
Most of Colorado is rural, dotted with a plethora of tiny communities. The majority of the population resides on what is considered the “Front Range.” The Front Range is the group of cities from Fort Collins to Pueblo that all sit at the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the “foothills.” The state’s largest metro area is Denver with a population of around a million.
The entire state of Colorado only has a little over 5 million residents! There are a number of major cities in the U.S. such as Dallas, TX and Miami, FL that have a bigger population than the entire state of Colorado.
4. The State Has Altitude
Colorado is the highest state in more than one way. The state has the highest average elevation of any state in the U.S. and is the home to over three quarters of the land in the country that sits above 10,000 ft.
The other “highest” records Colorado holds include the highest incorporated town (Leadville 10,200 ft.), the highest paved road, the highest flat top mountain, and the highest sand dunes.
5. Colorado Residents Love Their Extreme Sports
Since there is not much city life offered by the state, the residents tend to enjoy a large variety of outdoor sports. Just about everyone spends a weekend here and there taking a cruise into the Rocky Mountains to do some kind of outdoor activity.
Some of the outdoor sports are relaxed and mellow but extreme sports are especially popular in Colorado. With the mountainous terrain Colorado has, the possibilities are endless. Many thrill seekers like to spend their time rock climbing on or repelling off of tall, steep cliffs.
Many take their chances whitewater rafting on the states many wild rivers. Zip lines have recently grown in popularity and you can find them all over the state. These zip line courses get set up on mountains and in steep canyons so that thrill seekers can zip through the rocky cliff canyons at speeds over 50 MPH!
Overall, Colorado is a unique state that is packed full of history and unusual places and things. Another thrill seeker -friendly adventure to take in Colorado is a trip to the world’s largest alligator sanctuary in Alamosa. The rumor has it that you can sign a waiver and learn how to wrestle a gator free of charge if you please!