1. Our song-inspiring mountain views
In 1893, Katharine Lee Bates, an English professor at Colorado College in Colorado Springs ascended Pikes Peak on a burro. After spending just 30 minutes at 14,115 feet above sea level, she was inspired to a poem, America the Beautiful. After being put to music in the early 1900s, America the Beautiful received strong support to become the National Anthem. The Star-Spangled Banner ended up winning that honor, but the Rocky Mountains continue to inspire artists, from John Denver to 3OH!3.
2. Our persevering spirit
Coloradans love to take on challenges — and if you need proof, ask some of us how many fourteeners we’ve climbed. In addition to Pikes Peak, Colorado has 57 other mountains over 14,000 feet — more than any other state in the United States — according to the Colorado Geological Survey. Many of us are willing to get up before dawn on the weekend and hike up thousands of feet in elevation for some views and a free sandwich from Which Wich.
3. Our laid-back attitude
Despite this willingness to make mountain climbing a semi-serious hobby, Coloradans are not Type-A about it. When you make friends in the Centennial State, you’ll find chilled-out, friendly souls who thank the bus driver when getting off the RTD. But if you call Denver a cow town, a few of us might get riled up.
4. Our commitment to quality beer
If you visited one brewery a day in Colorado, it would take you months to get through them all. With all that competition, local brewers know they need to be good. Colorado also hosts the annual Great American Beer Festival, which draws brewers to Denver from around the world. We’ll gladly wait in line with our pretzel necklaces for a chance to sample the best of the best.
5. Our love of wide open spaces
Land and nature are sacred here; we have 4 National Parks, 42 State Parks, and 4000 acres of parks and parkways within the Mile High City alone. On the weekends, Coloradans can sand board Great Sand Dune National Park or hang out with elk herds at Rocky Mountain National Park. On workdays, they can play golf at City Park, kayak at Confluence Park, or bike Denver’s extensive trail system. There are dozens of hard-working environmental and land preservation organizations in Colorado. We take “leave no trace” to heart and want to make sure our state’s eco-beauty survives.
6. Our diversity of thought
Living in a swing state has its upsides — Coloradans are a diverse bunch spanning from rural to urban, liberal to conservative, the Front Range to the Western Slope. We’re not afraid of people who think differently than we do, because some of those people are our neighbors. And we’ll always come together after a wildfire, mudslide, tornado or flood to make sure other Coloradans are alright.
7. Preservation of ancient cultures
Many of us, Native American and non-Native American, honor the original inhabitants of this state — before it was a state. From Mesa Verde National Park to Hovenweep National Monument to the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose (and many more sites), the history of the early people is taught and respected. Native American culture in Colorado is alive today — the peoples’ art, crafts, dance and songs available to anyone.