With hundreds of cool, iconic towns stashed throughout the state, Colorado is one of the best states to visit year-round. Mountain gems include Aspen and Breckenridge and growing international cities include Colorado Springs and Denver.
List of Towns in Colorado
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 rural communities spread across the state. These include census-designated places (CDPs) in Colorado. Browse by Colorado counties.
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Green Mountain Falls
Hot Sulphur Springs
Log Lane Village
Old Colorado City
Red Feather Lakes
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Best Towns in Colorado to Visit
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Eastern Plains Towns in Colorado
Front Range Towns in Colorado
Rocky Mountain Towns in Colorado
Western Plateau Towns in Colorado
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Guide to Towns, Cities, and Communities in Colorado
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.
Some towns get more attention than others, but fun can be found nearly anywhere. From the mountains to the plains, Colorado is one of the most diverse states with a feeling of ‘there’s always something to see’. The abundance of colorful towns is interconnected by equally scenic highways.
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 tourist destinations now focused on recreation. Colorado’s mountain towns contain some of the best places to explore each winter. These top ski towns are locals’ favorites.
Colorado’s capital city, Denver, boasts a population of over 700,000 residents and one of the most relaxed cultures around. It’s a booming metropolitan, with new construction all over and new Denverites arriving daily.
There are 64 Colorado Counties:
- Clear Creek
- El Paso
- Kit Carson
- La Plata
- Las Animas
- Rio Blanco
- Rio Grande
- San Juan
- San Miguel
Regions (Physiographic Provinces) of Colorado
Physiography varies between the many diverse sections of Colorado. The state is divided into five physiographic provinces, starting east to west:
- i. Great Plains – Sterling, Limon, Denver, Colorado Springs
- ii. Southern Rocky Mountains – Breckenridge, Aspen
- iii. Wyoming Basin – Craig, Steamboat Springs
- iv. Colorado Plateau – Grand Junction, Montrose, Durango, Cortez
- v. Middle Rocky Mountains – Dinosaur National Monument
The official Colorado Tourism Officer also divides the state into 8 tourism regions, based on common destinations and landscapes.
i. Great Plains Region
Front Range Urban Corridor – It spreads from Fort Collins and Wyoming to the north, to Pueblo on the southern end. Other prominent towns passed north to south are Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs. Further south from Pueblo is Walsenburg and Trinidad, which reside at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
The ten largest cities in Colorado all happen to be on the Front Range:
High Plains – Most tourists miss the hidden gems in the eastern plains. Likewise, you seldom hear references Northeast and Southeast are both dry, high plains regions with agriculture as the main economy. Secluded by long, flat highways and country roads. They are passages east to Nebraska and Kansas.
ii. Southern Rocky Mountains Region
Southwest Colorado refers to a region of the San Juan Mountains and Four Corner area, where Colorado connects with Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. It’s comprised of both the Southern Rockies and Colorado Plateau physiographic provinces, so it’s a mix of steep mountains and desert mesas. Towns include Pagosa Springs, Durango, Cortez, Telluride, Ouray, and Silverton.
iii. Colorado Plateau Region
Western Plateau – After you pass Glenwood Springs heading west on I-70, you begin the Western Plateau. Most of this area is open basins surrounded by red rock and mesas. Grand Junction and Fruita are divided by the Colorado National Monument, which defines the style of terrain.
iv. Wyoming Basin Region
Likewise, you may hear references to Northwest Colorado, which starts around Steamboat Springs and heads west in the Wyoming Basin, including the towns of Craig and Dinosaur. It’s mostly vast stretches of sparsely populated regions of farm and oil country.
Aside from Steamboat’s action-packed itinerary, most of the draw is secluded wildlife recreation. The high desert terrain hints at the Rockies not far away, with mesa, rivers, and canyons scattered around.
v. Middle Rocky Mountains Region
Northwest Colorado includes this lowest section of the Middle Rockies, which extends into Wyoming and the Grand Tetons. It includes the Dinosaur National Monument.
Colorado History: Dinosaurs, Indians, Settlers and Gold Rush
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 its 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-to 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.
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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 Colorado Silver Boom in 1879. Silver had been discovered in Leadville. This then leads to coal mining. This was very dangerous and resulted in over 1700 deaths between 1884 and 1914.
In 1880 coal mining production in Colorado was at its greatest as the United States became more dependent on energy resources at home rather than overseas.
Discover more about Colorado’s modern trajectory on this timeline from 1876 to 1970.
From the western slope to the eastern plains, and everything in between, Colorado is one of the most fascinating states to visit in the entire country. If you’re able, explore each and every nook and cranny to soak in the culture and ambiance of its hundreds of towns and 64 countries. Safe travels!
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