Colorado Geography and Famous Natives

Colorado geography

The Great Plains of North America slope east from the Rocky Mountains, extending south from Canada, covering the eastern parts of Colorado. Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado’s mean (mean) elevation ( 6,811 ft.) is the highest of any US state. Within the state, over 50 peaks reach or exceed 14,000 ft., including Colorado’s highest point, Mt. Elbert at 14,431 feet. Significant mountain ranges ( or ranges) include Front, Park, Sangra de Cristo, San Juan and Sawatch.

In the western regions of the state, the Colorado Plateau covers the land; a region of high plateaus and deep, rugged canyons, shaped over hundreds of centuries by the meandering waters of the Colorado River and numerous smaller rivers.

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The Continental Divide (imaginary line) indicates the absolute highest points of the earth, where on either side of the same rivers will flow downhill, east or west. That divide runs from northwestern Canada, south along the ridges of the Colorado Rockies, then south into Mexico, where it follows the peaks of the Western Sierra Madre. As an example, the Colorado River flows west while the Arkansas River flows east.

Many rivers originate in the Colorado Rockies, including a handful of some of the most significant rivers in America; they include Colorado, Platte, Arkansas, and the Rio Grande.

Colorado Famous Natives

People listed are almost always native to the state. We do (on occasion) include those who have either lived within the state for most of their adult lives or have made significant contributions to the state in their personal endeavors.


  • Tim Allen actor
  • Philip Bailey singer
  • Astronaut Vance Brand
  • Clara Brown founder of Denver’s first Sunday School, first African American to arrive in Colorado in the 1859 gold rush.
  • Zachary Ty Brian actor
  • Arleigh Burke four-star USN admiral
  • William Byers founder of Rocky Mountain News


  • Astronaut Scott Carpenter
  • Lon Chaney Sr actor
  • Playwright Mary Coyle Chase, Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Founder of Adolph Coors Adolph Coors Company


  • Jack Dempsey boxer
  • Ralph Edwards television artist
  • John Elway football player
  • Douglas Fairbanks actor
  • Thomas Hornsby Ferril Poet Laureate
  • Eugene Fodor violinist
  • Chris Fowler Sports Announcer
  • Written by Gene Fowler
  • Richard “Goose” Gossage baseball player, announcer
  • Michael Grimm singer, songwriter


  • Toy maker Ruth Handler
  • John Heder actor
  • Actor Pat Hingla
  • John Kerry politician
  • Written by Ken Kesey


  • Homer Leia soldier, writer
  • Willard Libby chemist
  • Little Raven Black Arapaho Indian Chief
  • Jake Lloyd actor
  • Ted Mack Television Host
  • James S. McDonnell founder McDonnell Corp. (now McDonnell-Douglas)


  • Chief Indian leader Ute Ourey
  • David Packard co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Founder of General William Jackson Palmer of Colorado Springs, developed the first narrow gauge railroad
  • Ryan J. Parker actor
  • Principal Antoinette Perry, actress


  • AnnaSophia actress Robba
  • Karl Rove Presidential Counsel
  • Barbara Rush actress


  • Pioneer Florence R. Sabin in science and health
  • Robert Seiwald inventor
  • Alan K. Simpson US Senator
  • John “Jack” Swigert Jr. NASA Astronaut
  • Lowell Thomas author, announcer
  • Written by Dalton Trumbo
  • Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken


  • Frank Welker actor
  • Supreme Court Justice Byron White
  • Paul Whiteman conductor, musician
  • Written by Connie Willis

Colorado Springs

The city of Colorado Springs sits at the base of the magnificent Pike’s Peak of the Rockies, surrounded by the red rock monuments of the Garden of the Gods.

The city was founded in 1871 by General William Jackson Palmer, who envisioned a resort destination for this Rocky Mountain community. Moderate, dry weather in Colorado Springs has made it a popular destination for health clubs and health resorts. In the 1890s, Colorado gold and silver rushes brought a flood of ambitious settlers to the area, and Colorado Springs soon became the best mining exchange center in the world. By 1904 the ‘city of millionaires’ was home to 35 of the nation’s 100 millionaires made rich by the Colorado Gold Rush.

Today, Colorado Springs still thrives with tourism and the military as the city’s biggest industries. Luxury ski resorts are plentiful and the city has an abundance of hotel rooms. It is an aviation city with Peterson Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain and Schriever Air Force Base located nearby. Colorado Springs is also the home base for the US Air Force Academy, one of Colorado Springs’ top tourist draws.

  • Colorado Springs’ six million visitors a year bring over $1 billion dollars in revenue to this western city.
  • The founding father of Colorado Springs, General Palmer, built a 67-room castle for his family called Glen Eyrie, which can still be visited today.
  • The views from the top of Pikes Peak inspired Katherine Lee Bates to write the famous patriotic song “America the Beautiful”.
  • Along with several air force installations and an air force academy, Colorado Springs is also home to NORAD (North American Space Defense Command) and the US Space Command, making the area one of the heaviest concentrations of military presence in the United States.

Pikes Peak
Stunning Pikes Peak towers over Colorado Springs at an elevation of 14,110 feet. It is the most visited mountain in the US and the second most visited in the world after Mount Fuji in Japan. More than 500,000 people commute to the summit house annually via the Barr Trail, the Pikes Peak Highway or the Pikes Peak Funicular. The barr’s trail stretches 13 miles from the base to the summit and comes over 7,000 feet in elevation with a climb.

Pikes Peak offers panoramic views of the Colorado Scenery, the city of Colorado Springs, neighboring Manitou Springs, and the red rock monuments of the Garden of the Gods.

Manitou Springs Wind Cave, located four miles west of Colorado Springs, is the home of Winds Cave, discovered in the late 1800s by two young brothers exploring during a church picnic.

One of America’s largest show caves, the vast caves feature breathtaking arrays of limestone beds including stalactites, stalagmites and pillars. The tour is offered with discussions of Pike’s Peak area geology and the Cave of Winds history. The lantern tour for the bravest cavers recreates the experience as it was at the turn of the century.

Garden of the Gods
The Garden of the Gods Visitor Center and Nature Center is a natural wonderland of red sandstone monuments and is the most visited attraction in the Colorado Springs region. The park’s 480 acres were gifted to the city by its founding father, General Palmer, to be preserved and enjoyed by all. The Garden of the Gods was considered a sacred space by native Kiowa, Ute, Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians.

Today, the park offers tours of the vast red rock formations and education about the geology of the Pikes Peak area and the history of local Native American cultures. Regulated rock climbing, mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed on many distinct trails. It is an awe-inspiring place, and the memories of its prospects will be with you long after your. The Colorado vacation is over.

Colorado Geography

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