Colorado - The Centennial State

Colorado: the name conjures up visions of snow-capped mountain peaks, big ski resorts, large expanses of forest and skylines like the city of Denver. For many years, Colorado was one of the biggest tourist destinations in the United States. Then a short-sighted governor (who later became the lead man of the Democratic National Committee) decided the state could save some money by shutting down the Colorado Tourism Office. The Tourism Office had spent years (and millions of dollars) promoting the wonders of Colorado all over the world. At that time, Colorado was the 4th biggest tourist destination in the country. Without that cash flow, the Colorado tourism industry fell on its face. The wonders of the state didn't go away but the visiting crowds of people were definitely thinned out.

Bronze sculpture of a woman with flowing hair and a flowing dress sitting on a park bench on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder
On the Pearl Street mall in Boulder

We're a couple governmental administrations down the road now and the Colorado Tourism Office has been resurrected. I am expecting the crowds of visitors to slowly start growing again. If you are interested in visiting Colorado and exploring some of the most beautiful countryside on Earth, you might want to get there soon... At the same time, Colorado is in the heart of a nasty, long term drought and wildfires are popping up all the time...

An outdoor piano, a bench and several wet kids at the kids spray fountain in downtown Fort Collins
Piano at the spray fountain in downtown Fort Collins

Update, 2017: Then the Colorado economy diversified in a different direction when the state legalized recreational marijuana. Prosperity came back, as did the crowds. But the crowds were tourists coming to visit the scenery and to visit the pot shops. A larger homeless element came, too, not for the scenery so much as for the pot.

Looking at snow-covered ski slopes at Arapaho Basin Ski Area
Arapaho Basin Ski Area
Looking through tallgrass prairie at Westminster Castle
Westminster Castle
 

Fast Facts about Colorado

Capital: Denver
Largest City: Denver
Admitted to the Union: August 1, 1876 : 38th
Area: 104,185 square miles : 8th
Highest Point: Mount Elbert : 14,440'
Lowest Point: Arikaree River : 3,315'
 

2010 Colorado Population Demographics

Total Population
5,029,196
Males
2,520,662
Females
2,508,534
Population by Age
Under 18
1,225,609
18 & over
3,803,587
20-24
348,615
25-34
726,278
35-49
1,071,279
50-64
968,707
65 & over
549,625
Population by Ethnicity
Hispanic or Latino
1,038,687
Non Hispanic or Latino
3,990,509
Population by Race
White
4,089,202
African-American
201,737
Asian
139,028
Native American
56,010
Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
6,623
Other
364,140
Two or more
172,456
 
Looking at the West Spanish Peak towering above conifers and aspens from the Cuchara River Recreation Area
The West Spanish Peak
Map of Colorado
Poudre Falls pouring between the rock walls on the Cache la Poudre River
Poudre Falls on Cache La Poudre River

Photos courtesy of TheArmchairExplorer, CCA-by-SA 3.0 License
Map courtesy of Cartesia MapArt US Terrain