Colorado’s wonderfully diverse landscape is home to some pretty unusual facts, figures and events, from the worlds tallest suspension bridge to the world’s largest natural hot spring.
1 – Denver can lay claim to the invention of the cheeseburger. The trademark for the name Cheeseburger was awarded to Louis Ballast, a resident of the city in 1935.
2 – In a small town called Fruita just outside of Grand Junction in Colorado’s west the locals celebrate Mike the Headless Chicken Day. The celebrations stem from a day when local farmer Mr. Lloyd Olsen cut off the head of Mike the chicken on September 10th 1945, in anticipation of a chicken dinner – Mike survived the ordeal and lived for another 18 months without a head!
3 – Colorado boasts the highest continuously paved highway in the United States. Trail Ridge Road – (US-34) passes through Rocky Mountain National Park between Estes Park and Grand Lake, crossing the Continental Divide at 12,183 feet above sea level. Colorado is also home to the highest paved road in North America. The Road to Mt Evans off of I-70 from Idaho Springs climbs up to 14,258 feet above sea level.
4 – The world’s largest flat top mountain is in Grand Mesa. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views stretching from valley floor to the mesa top as they tour the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway (highway 65), which winds past picture postcard scenes. Fruit orchards, vineyards and fluttering aspens fill the landscape as the byway climbs to 10,000 feet.
5 – Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the United States. Standing at 10,430 feet above sea level, the region was a thriving silver mining region – many of the neighboring town’s had ‘silver’ in their name. To add a little variety the founding fathers decided to call the town Leadville. Just east of Leadville is Alma where you will find the highest post office in the US.
6 – Colfax Avenue in Denver is the longest continuous street in America.
7 – Colorado is the Rodeo capital of the world. The World’s first Rodeo was held on 4th July 1869 in Deer Trail just east of Denver. Every January Denver hosts the worlds largest Rodeo called The National Western Stock Show and Colorado Springs hosts the State’s oldest annual rodeo, the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo.
8 – Over 400,000 people ascend Pikes Peak (14,110 feet) every year.
9 – The Colorado Rockies are part of the North America Cordillera, which stretches 3,000 miles from Alaska through Western Canada and the United States, into Northern Mexico. The centerpiece of this dramatic uplift are the peaks over 14,000 feet or the Fourteeners as they are affectionately known by climbers. There are over 52 Fourteeners in Colorado.
10 – The Dwight Eisenhower memorial Tunnel between Clear Creek & Summit counties is the highest auto tunnel in the world. Bored at an elevation of 11,000 feet under the Continental Divide, it is 8,960 feet long. The average daily traffic through the tunnel exceeds 26,000 vehicles.
11 – Colorado has more micro breweries per capita than any other state.
12 – The highest suspension bridge in the world is over the Royal Gorge near Canon City. The Royal Gorge Bridge spans the Arkansas River at a height of 1,053 feet.
13 – The world’s largest natural hot spring pool is located in Glenwood Springs. The two block long pool is across the street from the historic Hotel Colorado, a favourite spot of former president Teddy Roosevelt.
14 – Colorado’s SouthWest corner borders Arizona, New Mexico and Utah – the only place in America where four states meet. Nearby attractions include Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument and Crow Canyon Archaeological Center.
15 – In 1859, John Gregory discovered “The Gregory Lode” in a ravine near Central City. Within two weeks, the Gold Rush was on and within two months the population grew to 10,000 people all in search of their fortune. It came to be known as the richest square mile on earth. Continuing on the gold rush theme the world’s largest gold nugget in the US was discovered in state buildings in Denver.
16 – Abundant nesting and migrating birds and other native animals provide a ‘world class’ wildlife experience. Bald eagles and other raptors, sandhill cranes, shore birds and water birds can all be seen seasonally at San Luis lakes near Alamosa.
17 – “Belluah Red” is the name of the red marble that gives the Colorado state capital its distinctive splendor. Cutting, polishing and installing the marble in the capital took six years, from 1894 to 1900. All of the “Beulah Red” marble in the world went into Denver’s buildings. It cannot be replaced at any price.
18 – One of Colorado’s famous delicacies is the Rocky Mountain Oysters. These are not your average oyster and are actually bull’s bollocks.
19 – The Kit Carson Carousel in Burlington dates back to 1905, making it the oldest wooden merry-go-round in the United States. It is the only wooden carousel in America that still has it’s original paint.
20 – Colorado means colored red and is known as the “Centennial State”.