Introduction to Colorado
Colorado is a western state in the Rocky Mountains region of the United States of America. The highest peaks of the North American Rockies are here, (Mt. Elbert 4,401 m), as well as a number of other natural marvels. The state also boasts the highest overall elevation in the United States and is home to many diverse ecosystems for its size.
There is no universally agreed-upon breakdown of regions in Colorado. You’ll often hear natives speak of a very simple structure comprised of the Eastern Slope (meaning everything east of the crest of the Rockies), or the Western Slope (everything west of the range crest), and anomalous Denver or the “valley”. The breakdown below is a bit more complex, partly for reasons of style and partly because the simple east/west/Denver formulation lumps areas together that are really very disparate. It’s also roughly what’s used by the Colorado Department of Tourism. If you are confused by some of the boundaries, simply consult a map of Colorado counties, as many of the regions follow county lines. Wherever you go in Colorado you are sure to find a good golf course, so for USA tee times check out the best sites on the Net.
most populous part of the state, with the large metro capital-city of Denver and its many suburbs.
The least populated flat eastern half of the state, western agricultural country.
Follows the northern part of the Rockies, including Boulder and such well-known attractions as Rocky Mountain National Park.
Spectacular canyon-and-mesa country reminiscent of neighboring Utah.
South Central Colorado
The high country in the southern part of the Rockies, home to many ski resorts, including the towering San Juan Mountains, (“American Alps”) with a broad, pleasant valley between them.
More canyon-and-mesa country best known for the archaeological wonders of Mesa Verde National Park.
Aspen – trendy ski town known for its celebrities and liberal politics.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park – 12 miles of a spectacular and scenic gorge.
Breckenridge – most popular ski resort in the U.S.
Colorado’s Wine Country – Near Palisade. Home to some of the highest vineyards in the world
Dinosaur National Monument – Near Craig. massive bones of Jurassic era sauropods and allosauruses abound throughout this fossil-rich area. Also a great place for whitewater rafting.
Great Sand Dunes National Park – includes North America’s tallest dunes, which rise over 750 feet high against the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Near Alamosa.
Mesa Verde National Park – home to Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings. Near Cortez.
Rocky Mountain National Park – drive the harrowing Trail Ridge Road down the spine of the Continental Divide. Near Estes Park.
Vail – Second largest ski resort in North America.
If you want to travel the state, then you will need to rent a vehicle. Prices are the same as across the United States.
The state is roughly quarted by two major Interstates, the north-south running I-25 and the east-west running I-70. (I-76 also enters the state in the Northeast from Nebraska). Outside of the Front Range, the rest of the state is traversed by small highways and county roads.
The major cities of the greater Denver area (Denver, Aurora Boulder, Littleton, Longmont, Broomfield) are linked by bus transportation using RTD. Service south to Castle Rock and Colorado Springs is provided by FREX. The cost is very reasonable and the busses run regular schedules.
Taxis and shuttle services are also available throughout the state.