11 Most Famous Colorado Nicknames

Known for its gorgeous mountain landscapes, sand dunes, wildlife, and beautiful forests, the state of Colorado has resplendent scenery that makes for a lively holiday resort for people looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life.

Colorado encompasses most of the Southern Rocky Mountains, the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau, and the western edge of the Great Plains. Its vast landscape makes it the eighth most extensive in the US, and with over 5.7 million people, it stands as the 21st most populous state.

Colorado joined the Union on August 1, 1876, the year the United States celebrated its centennial. As the thirty-eighth state to do so, it earned its nickname as the “Centennial State.”

Did you know that it is possible to be in four different states simultaneously in Colorado? In the famous Four Corners Monument located on the Colorado Plateau, the state borders three others in its southwest corner: Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. This makes it the only place in the whole of America where the corners of four states all meet.

List of Known Nicknames for Colorado

Now that you’ve learned something interesting about Colorado let’s also explore its known nicknames.

1. The Centennial State

As we explained before, Colorado is called “The Centennial State” because it became a state in 1876, the same year that the United States was engaged in its centennial celebration to commemorate 100 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence in the process becoming the 38th state to join the Union.

2. Colorful Colorado

There’s a nice ring to the nickname “Colorful Colorado,” whose alliteration makes it all the more interesting. The nickname is often used to describe the unique beauty of this lovely state, which is home to the Rocky Mountains, over 107,000 miles of beautiful rivers, and ecologically diverse plains. At one time, this nickname was the state’s official slogan.

3. Little London

Colorado’s nickname “Little London” dates back more than 150 years. This was because many people of British descent lived in the area at one point, and one in every five residents was British. This is because much of the money raised by William Palmer, an American industrialist, to develop a fair chunk of Colorado, including the Rio Grande Railroad, came from English investors who had settled in the area.

4. The Columbine State

The official State Flower of Colorado is the white and lavender Rocky Mountain Columbine which was designated in 1899 after winning the vote of Colorado’s school children. Colorado is thus referred to as the “Columbine State,” For a time, the phrase “Where the Columbines Grow” was Colorado’s state motto.

5. The Switzerland of America

The Switzerland of America” originally belongs to Ouray, a historic mining town located on the Million Dollar Highway in southwest Colorado. Sitting in a natural rock amphitheater at an elevation of 7,792 feet, the community is so beautiful it is often called the “Switzerland of America.” This nickname has often transcended to describe Colorado as a whole whose mountain ranges and snowy and surreal landscapes resemble The Alps in Switzerland.

6. The Highest State

Colorado’s nickname as the “Highest State” is self-evident. The Grand Mesa, the world’s largest flat-top plateau found in Colorado, and the Rocky Mountains, which reach a towering height of more than 14,000 feet, make Colorado the highest state in America.

7. Gateway to the Rockies

Aurora, Colorado, is often known as the “Gateway to the Rockies.” The city boasts spectacular views of the Front Range spanning from Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs to Longs Peak in the Rocky Mountain National Park. The Rocky Mountains, an extensive range of mountains that stretch all the way to Canada, start in this city. Hence, Aurora and, by extension, Colorado are known as the “Gateway to the Rockies.”

8. The Silver State

The Silver State” is a nickname initially ascribed to the state of Nevada but one that Colorado used to share. It was so named as a reference to the quantities of silver mined in Colorado, although neither of these states actually produces the most silver in the US. That honor goes to the state of Idaho.

9. The Lead State

Now an outdated nickname, “The Lead State,” references yet another mineral for which Colorado was known. Its large abundance of lead mineral cerussite found in its underground mines in the 1800s, around the same time as the California gold rush, likely prompted the naming of the Colorado town -Leadville.

10. The Buffalo Plains State

In the past, Colorado’s plains were populated with buffalo and bison herds that lived and grazed on its vast lands. This expanse of buffalo plains gave Colorado the nickname “The Buffalo Plains State.

11. The Comeback State

“The Comeback State” comes from fans of Colorado’s hockey team, the Colorado Avalanche. In a tweet in 2020, one user, Zach Bye, wrote: “If the Avs who were once down 3-1 come back and win game 7 Friday night like the Nuggets did down 3-1 I’m creating a petition to have Colorado’s nickname be changed from the Centennial State to The Comeback State.” Sadly, it appears that didn’t happen, so we’ll have to wait for that nickname to make a comeback.

That brings our list to a conclusion. Are there any other nicknames for Colorado we’ve omitted? Tell us in the comments below.

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Stephen Agwaibor is a writer, editor and journalist with an academic background in economics. His writing interests cover various topics, including science, politics, business and social commentary.
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