Colorado’s historic, natural and cultural beauty make it one of America’s most beloved states. Here are 20 of the Centennial State’s most interesting facts:
1 Colorado gets its name from Spanish for "colored red." This name was a reference to the Colorado River and its sediment-rich waters.
2 Colorado was surrendered to the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which ended the Mexican-American War.
3 Colorado entered the union on August 1, 1876, making it our 38th state. Because it was admitted during the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence signing, it was nicknamed the Centennial State.
4 Colorado is the only state to ever turn down the opportunity to host the Olympics. Because of the increase in pollution and high cost, voters decided not to host the 1976 Winter Olympics in Denver.
5 More than a third of Colorado's land is owned by the federal government.
6 Around 75% of the United States land area that sits at over 10,000 feet is contained within Colorado.
7 Colorado is the only state in the United States that sites entirely above 1,000 meters in elevation.
8 Denver is home to the largest park system in the country. In fact, the city limits is home to over 200 parks.
9 Per capita, Colorado is home to more microbreweries than any other state.
10 Colorado's state flower is the Rocky Mountain Columbine; the state bird is the Lark Bunting.
11 Colorado's major industries include tourism, agriculture, mining, finance and manufacturing.
12 The Pikes Peak Cog Railway uses tracks with teeth and special cog wheels in order to climb one of the tallest mountains in the country. It is the highest cog railway train in the world.
13 The world's largest wild elk herd makes Colorado its home.
14 Numerous prehistoric bones and fossils have been discovered across the state of Colorado. Notably, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Teller County, CO is known for its excellently preserved plant and insect fossils.
15 While many individuals have laid claim on inventing the cheeseburger, Colorado's Louis Ballast was awarded the trademark for the name "cheeseburger."
16 Near Central City, Colorado, John Gregory discovered "The Gregory Lode" which revitalized Colorado as a promising gold rush destination.
17 The first ever rodeo was held in Colorado in 1869. It was held in Deer Trail, CO, and the first place winner won a new suit.
18 Famous Colorado natives include John Kerry, David Fincher, Tim Allen, Jack Dempsey, Kelly Bishop and Matt Hasselbeck.
19 Colorado's high altitude means the air is much thinner. In fact, studies have shown that the Denver Broncos are able to kick footballs a bit farther in Mile High Stadium than anywhere else in the country for this reason.
20 Colorado is home to 13 national parks - including Rocky Mountain National Park - and sees over 7 million visitors to these parks per year.