Colorado is renowned among the states of the US for its spectacular mountains, adventurous landscapes, and beautiful towns. Thousands of people come to this central state every year, to see beautiful vistas, and adventure into the wild. But Colorado is also an agricultural state, and it has its own, unique flavor of American culture. For people who are willing to navigate the crowds with respect and patience, and who will honor the natural landscapes here, Colorado is full of a lifetime’s worth of exploration and challenges.

I moved here recently, and I am very excited to explore a new part of the world as a local.

Quick Facts

Type: US State (1876)

Region: North America

Official Languages: English

Population: 5.8 million (2021)

Capital: Denver

Currency: US Dollar

Power Outlet: Type A and B. The standard voltage is 120 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.

How to Get There

hiking mount falcon

(c) ABR 2022

Colorado is a landlocked state in the Western US, so it can easily be reached by car from any surrounding area.

If you are flying in, Denver is likely your destination; although there are other airports in Colorado, most are quite small and have limited flights.

The Nature of Colorado

hiking mount falcon

(c) ABR 2022

Colorado is a pretty big place (over 100,000 sq. miles)- it is the eighth largest state, and it’s bigger than the United Kingdom. And within this little rectangle of a place, there is loads of natural variability with 8 different ecosystems represented. These include grasslands, riparian, semi-desert shrubland, pinyon juniper woodland, montane shrubland, montane forest, subalpine forest, and alpine tundra. In part, this variety stems from the huge variation in elevation across the state. The Rocky Mountains dominate the western half of Colorado, with 54 “official” peaks over 14,000 feet. And if you haven’t been, you might be surprised to know that the eastern half of the state is part of the Great Plains. So, yeah, Colorado is a mountainous state, but it’s also basically part of the Midwest.

Our Recent Posts On Nature in Colorado

Two Easy Lake Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park – Experience the beauty of the Rocky Mountains with friends and family.

Hiking in Fort Collins, Part One: Check out some City of Fort Collins Natural Area with me! Pineridge, Arapaho Bend, and Riverbend Ponds.

Hiking in Fort Collins, Part Two: There are so many natural open areas in Fort Collins! This post covers Fossil Creek Reservoir, Maxwell Natural Area, Environmental Learning Center, and Kingfisher Point.

Hiking in Fort Collins, Part Three: The Coterie is a small open space along the Spring Creek Trail which runs through town. Pinewood Reservoir is a small lake, escape in the mountains above Loveland.

Hiking Mount Falcon: Located just outside of Denver, Mount Falcon is a great place for family hikes, with beautiful views of the city and opportunities to explore several historic ruins and structures.

Hiking Challenge Lists

Coming Soon – List of Colorado Hiking Goals

Hiking in and Around Fort Collins

More Resources

Habitats of Colorado from Colorado Birding Trail

The History and Culture of Colorado

hiking mount falcon

Walker Home Ruins (c) ABR 2022

Colorado was likely settled by your friendly Homo sapiens about 12,000 years ago, during the last ice age. The people of this time hunted the large animals of this time, including mammoths and mastadons, and more. While we can’t officially say too much about them, I will add my own note to history by saying that they were most certainly adventurous peoples, braving lands that no human had ever seen before, and hunting giant mammals all the while.

But real archeologists monitor and describe the change of cultures over time through studying the artifacts left behind by people. And what we have found so far tells us that the technology and lifeways of Colorado’s original peoples changes as the animals that they specialized to hunt changed over time. First, there was a shift from reliance on the extinct megafauna of our imaginations, to the larger bison species, related to the charismatic bison of today. Then, there was an evolution of culture towards the hunting of smaller animals like deer and rabbits, and a heavier reliance on local plants. Eventually, some people began to truly settle on the land, and began developing agriculture, while others continued to follow the ancestral lifeway of all humans as hunter gathers.

Within recorded history, there are six different tribes who used the land that we now call Colorado- the Apache nation, Arapaho nation, Cheyenne nation, Pueblo tries, Shoshone tribe, and the Ute nation. However, currently, there are only two federally recognized tribes in the state – the Southern Ute Tribe, and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.

In 1851, the first European settlement in Colorado was established by the Spanish, moving up north from Taos. This settlement was called San Juan, and the folks who moved up into the lands that we now call Colorado were on the search for gold. Likewise, American settlers didn’t start trying to settle Colorado until 1859 in a gold rush. During this time, Colorado was still considered part of the Kansas territory, until enough Euro-Americans settled there for it to warrant its own name – the Colorado Territory. The name Colorado comes from Spanish, and is said to refer to the red colors of the earth that they found in Southern Colorado. The territory became a state in 1876.

Our Recent Posts On the History and Culture of Colorado

Spending a Day in Golden, CO: Mere minutes from Denver, Golden is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and is home to hiking, the Coors brewery, good food, and loads of museums!

Part One: Things to do in Denver, CO: Denver is the capital of CO and the state’s largest city. So, it goes without saying that this city has loads to offer visitors. In the post, learn more about Belmar Park and Meow Wolf – Convergence Station.

Coming Soon – List of Cities and Towns to Visit in CO

More Resources

Coming Soon

Where We Have Been

Map Coming Soon

More Information From Around the Web

Check out Nightborn Travel’s Explore Colorado pinterest board for more info and inspiration from across the web.