Description - Colorado's diverse communities include metropolitan areas, posh ski resorts and rustic mountain towns.
Copyright: Amy Pyle - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Looking west toward Buena Vista from overlook in San Isabel National Forest
- The state is split into geographic areas known as the front range, central mountains, eastern plains and the western slope. The front range is dominated by the major metropolitan cities of Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo. The posh ski resorts of Aspen, Vail and Telluride are nestled in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains along the Continental Divide. Durango and Alamosa are major summer destinations in the southwestern portion of the state, which is culturally influenced by the Spanish who settled in New Mexico. Grand Junction, Meeker and Steamboat Springs offer a taste of the rustic ranching, oil drilling and recreation-based economies that dominate northwestern Colorado. Further information is available at 1-800-COLORADO.
Recreation - Colorado offers an incredible array of recreation activities, that carry the tourism industry year-round. Best known for downhill skiing, Colorado offers many world class ski resorts that accumulate several feet of champagne powder each year. Backcountry hut systems throughout the state offer a winter wilderness experience. Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ice climbing and snowshoeing are other popular winter activities.
Summer activities include hiking, road biking, camping, fishing, rock climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, whitewater rafting, kayaking and mountain biking. Colorado's vast terrain includes everything from deep canyons to high mountains for exciting recreational opportunities.
Climate - The climate in Colorado varies tremendously from hot dusty summer days on the plains and deserts to frigidly cold winter blizzards. Colorado is known for its thunderstorms, which form over the Rocky Mountains and then head across the eastern plains, often reaching 10,000 feet or more in height. Lightning is a serious threat, particularly on mountain peaks, lakes and open fields. Summertime temperatures routinely reach 90 to 100 degrees on the plains and the 70 - 80 degrees in the mountains. Cool weather is always possible at night throughout Colorado, particularly at higher elevations. It is not uncommon to need both shorts and a jacket on the same day.
The winter routinely brings severe winter driving conditions with icy roads and limited visibility. Temperatures range from the 40s and 50s on the plains to well below zero in the mountains. Proper winter clothing and food is necessary to avoid hypothermia and one should be prepared to spend an unexpected night out if traveling in the backcountry or on the highways.
Most of the population of Colorado lives on the front range. This is the eastern mountain range of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, that includes Longs Peak, Grays Peak and Pikes Peak. Interstate 25 lies east of the front range and along it are the metropolitan centers of Denver and Colorado Springs. The larger communities north of Denver in the I-25 corridor include Fort Collins and Boulder. South of Colorado Springs along I-25 you'll find Pueblo and Trinidad.
Grand Junction is located near the Utah border on Interstate 70. The communities of Aspen, Breckenridge, Dillon, Glenwood Springs and Vail are located along or close to I-70 between Denver and Grand Junction. Durango and Alamosa are located in the South Western portion of the state along Colorado Highway 160. Telluride is located between Durango and Grand Junction and is accessible from Highway 550. Steam Boat Springs and Winter Park are located on State Highway 40.