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Traumhafte Landschaft in Colorado, Bild: Galyna Andrushko / shutterstock

Colorado – Metropolises and National Parks in the Centennial State

Natural Colorado unfolds in the heart of the USA, a hotspot for some of the most famous national parks in the USA: from the Rocky Mountains to the Mesa Verde. At the same time, cities such as Denver and Colorado Springs prove that the US state has a precious balance of urban city life and nature. A trademark of the US state is Colorado’s special altitude, which averages over 2,000 meters. This situation is largely due to the local Rocky Mountains, which make Colorado the Mountain State. Colorado was nicknamed the Centennial State because it was created almost exactly one hundred years after the United States declared independence. Today, the central US state with its natural landmarks and metropolises represents a tourist attraction in the middle of the USA.

Colorado’s metropolises – Denver and Colorado Springs

Denver in Colorado, Image: Andrew Zarivny / shutterstock

There are good reasons why Denver is now considered the capital of Colorado. The metropolis in the heart of the state is not only a cultural and economic center of Colorado, about 715,000 inhabitants now live here with a metropolitan region that is home to almost 3 million people. Today, Denver is recognized as a cosmopolitan city with national and international influence. In terms of tourism, the city is not only a gateway to the Rocky Mountains, here you can discover world-class cultural institutions. The Mile High City, located about a mile above sea level, offers culturally interested visitors highlights such as the Denver Art Museum with the Hamilton Building by Daniel Libeskind and over 70,000 art-historical exhibits – from Indigenous art to works by Picasso and Matisse.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science provides visitors with an insight into natural history on over 66,000 m² and with over one million exhibits. This also includes a planetarium and an IMAX cinema. With these cultural institutions, Denver proves that it is not just any city, but a cosmopolitan city, which is not for nothing regularly at the top of the lists of cities with the highest quality of life in the USA. This is also ensured by the Denver Botanic Gardens, 93,000 m² in size, which not only showcase fascinating nature but also concerts. And in Red Rocks Park, close to the city, you can discover not only the eponymous elevations, but also the nationally known Red Rocks Amphitheatre, where world-famous live recordings by U2, Neil Young, The Moody Blues and the Dave Matthews Band were made.

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Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado
Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, Image: Sopotnicki / shutterstock

The Denver region is also home to the city of Boulder, where Stephen King once lived to write The Shining (1977). His famous novel The Stand (1978) is also set in the region. Like Denver, Boulder is known for its local quality of life: If you visit the city, you can not only stroll and shop in the city center, but outside the city center is a natural landmark. About 70 miles south, easily accessible from Denver, is Colorado Springs. Some of the most beautiful sights in the US state unfold around the city. Most notably, the Garden of the Gods is a public park that stands out with its distinctive geological shapes. At the gates of Colorado Springs sits Pikes Peak, at 4,300 meters the highest elevation of the southern Rocky Mountains. In the right weather conditions, the Pikes Peak Highway is one of the fascinating routes in the region – with breathtaking panoramas.

Colorado National Parks – From the Rocky Mountains to Mesa Verde

As Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, and Red Rocks Park prove, Colorado is not only an urban paradise, but also a natural one. The best proof of this are Colorado’s national parks: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park unfold here. But probably the most famous two are the Rocky Mountain National Park and the Mesa Verde National Park. With millions of annual visitors, the Rocky Mountains National Park attracts by far the most tourists from Colorado’s natural regions. It can be reached northwest of Boulder, which provides more reasons to visit the small town north of Denver. The national park covers an area of about 1,075 km², and there is hardly a better place to experience the Rocky Mountains. More than 110 mountain peaks break through the 3,000-metre mark here. The breathtaking panorama of the national park has already inspired quite a few visitors. Not only gigantic mountains unfold here, but also distinctive forest areas and lakes.

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Since 1978, the Mesa Verde National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which forms a good contrast to the Rocky Mountains with its plateau landscapes and archaeologically significant sites. Unlike the Rocky Mountains, the Mesa Verde can be discovered in southwestern Colorado. The park is closely linked to the cultural history of the Anasazi, who lived in the Mesa Verde region between the 5th and 14th centuries AD – before the European settlement of North America. The so-called Cliff Dwellings – about 600 rock dwellings that were once settled by the historical cultures of the region – provide culturally and historically significant evidence. One of the largest and most famous is the Cliff Palace in Montezuma County, the southwesternmost region of Colorado. The settlement is to be built between the 12. and the It was built in the 13th century – and is a breathtaking monument to indigenous North American history. The Mesa Verde National Park underlines the long cultural history of the state of Colorado. From livable cities like Denver or Boulder to the Rocky Mountains or the Mesa Verde – Colorado has a whole spectrum of tourist experiences to offer