Colorado has nicknames too. Isn’t it an interesting and fun thing to know about the state? Well, of course, it is.
For anyone of you who doesn’t know this by now, Colorado is a Western U.S state and is full of beautiful scenery and landscapes. The state is known for its rocky mountains covered with snow, high plains, deserts, plateaus, and river canyons. Denver city is the capital of Colorado state.
The state has a long and rich history which, combined with the abundance of natural resources, wildlife, and locations of interest have had a major role to play in the origin of several nicknames over the years.
All of these nicknames represent some aspect of the state and its population. In other words, these names are more than just mere words that are used to describe a location. They represent the heart and soul of Colorado and its people.
Let’s get started with some amazing nicknames for Colorado!
Table of Contents
How Did Colorado Get its Name and Nickname?
Colorado has had many nicknames over the years and most of them have originated from some cultural, regional, or geographical attribute of the state.
Nicknames for Colorado State
Colorado is known by lots of different names other than just Colorado. Here are the ELEVEN nicknames for the Colorado state. You’ll enjoy reading about each one of these names.
- Colorful Colorado
- Gateway to the Rockies
- Little London
- Nil Sine Numine
- The Buffalo Plains State
- The Centennial State
- The Highest State
- The Lead State
- The Mile-High City
- The Switzerland of America
1. Colorful Colorado
Colorful Colorado is definitely one of the names in this list that is almost entirely predictable. Visitors and residents of Colorado will agree that the name is befitting of the state due to the stunning sceneries of mountains, rivers, and plains.
The name dates back to the 1950s when state officials wanted to officially establish the state as a tourist-friendly destination. The name perfectly symbolizes the abundance of nature’s gifts in the state. Places like Garden of the Gods, Dillon Reservoir, Colorado Birding Trail, and many more are proof that the state has earned this nickname.
This name is also seen almost everywhere from maps to license plates and souvenirs, but welcome signs had the most contribution in making this name synonymous with Colorado.
2. Gateway to the Rockies
The name Gateway to the Rockies may be used for the state of Colorado but it is most notably used due to the city of Aurora. It might sound a bit unusual if you’re hearing it for the first time but anyone who has been to Aurora will tell you that it’s actually weird that the name isn’t used officially.
The official tourism website of Boulder says that it is “the city nestled between the mountains and reality”. Yes, this city is that crazy about its mountains, and understandably since just the Rocky Mountain National Park is home to numerous mountainous destinations.
The Rocky Mountains also known as the Rockies originate in Colorado and stretch all way to Canada. This is the main reason why this nickname was given to the state.
3. Little London
Little London was the nickname that originated in the early years of Colorado Springs as the state had a huge number of people living there that were of British descent. The ratio of people that were from Great Britain or were of British descent, to others was over 1:5 in the state and the main reason for this was that a lot of the development in Colorado and its railway was funded by English investors.
This was a result of the founder General William Jackson Palmer’s attempts to make Colorado Springs a luxurious place that would be sophisticated and attractive enough to bring in wealthy investors. Many towns in the state also have Victorian-style buildings and residents had also set up shops just like those in London.
4. Nil Sine Numine
Nil Sine Numine is Latin for “Nothing without Providence or Deity” and appears on the ribbon of the state seal. Although there have been various interpretations of this phrase and it isn’t exactly certain as to what was the exact meaning behind it.
But the most plausible and widely accepted interpretative translation is “Nothing without the Deity” as that is what the committee report points towards as intent for the adoption of the seal. The motto is credited to the first territorial governor of Colorado, William Gilpin.
It is also used by various educational institutes such as Virginia Intermont College, High Point University, and Colorado School of Mines. It was adopted as the official State Seal of Colorado on March 15, 1877, after being adopted as a territorial seal on November 6, 1861.
5. The Buffalo Plains State
Imagine vast plains filled with herds of buffalos as far as the eye can see. That is exactly what some areas in Colorado were like and is also the origin of the nickname “The Buffalo Plains State” for the state of Colorado. The herd not only consisted of buffalos but also bison.
As is the case with almost every other animal, humans were not too slow in making sure that the population of these herds had dwindled due to excessive hunting. Although, there are talks going on for the reintroduction of buffalo and bison herds into Colorado’s plains which would be truly delightful and would bring back the spark in this nickname of the state.
6. The Centennial State
The Centennial State is a nickname for the state of Colorado that is painstakingly obvious. It has a very simple and obvious origin that is completely covered by the nickname “The Centennial State”. This can also be the reason why it is the official nickname for the state but regardless it is also probably the most suited.
The state of Colorado had become the 38th state to join the United States of America in 1876. Coincidently this timeframe also overlapped with the centennial anniversary of America since it had been a hundred years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Hence the state of Colorado was then appropriately named “The Centennial State”. The reason why this nickname is official is that it has been voted on by legislators.
7. The Highest State
If there is one thing that has become clear from the nicknames of the state of Colorado, it is that they are really serious about their natural treasures (especially their mountains). This is evident due to the repeatedly obvious nods towards their mountains and nature-rich locations.
The beautiful and captivating snowcapped mountains just add fuel to the already burning hot fire. The name “The Highest State” comes from the fact that Colorado is situated on a very high elevation and as compared to the rest of America, it has the highest elevation above sea level with upwards of 10.5k feet at the highest town in the state.
This name has seen a rise in popularity among the relatively young population due to the fact that recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado.
8. The Lead State
The Lead State is another name that has an obvious meaning. Colorado has a rich and detailed history when it comes to the subject of mining. This is mostly due to the fact that the economy of most major towns in the state was affected very heavily by mining.
Entire neighborhoods used to work in the same mines across towns. Although mining was started in many areas in search of other valuable metals such as gold and silver, the people found huge deposits of lead across the state instead.
This lead was also a valuable metal in all respects, and it affected the lives of the people so much that they even named a town “Leadville” due to this as it was the state’s lead mining epicenter.
9. The Mile-High City
The Mile-High City is yet another nickname that has something to do with the elevation of the state. Although the name is used for the state too, it is more synonymous with the city of Denver due to one very remarkable geographical feature.
The city of Denver is just a little over 5000 feet above sea level. This makes the city unique as it is approximately one mile above sea level and hence the name “The Mile-High City”. The people of the city are so proud of this fact that the term “Mile High” is used in numerous places throughout the city.
There are also landmarks scattered throughout the city that actually has been marked as locations where the elevation is exactly one mile above sea level.
10. The Silver State
As mentioned earlier, Colorado has a rich and detailed history when it comes to the subject of mining. Colorado was a mining-focused state with mines scattered throughout the entire state in several towns.
As a matter of fact, before the huge game-changing lead deposits were found, the people were looking for gold and silver and had found silver deposits in numerous locations. The first silver deposits in the state were found in Central City Idaho Springs and after that, a silver rush followed as multiple deposits were discovered.
And hence began the mining state that was Colorado. Unfortunately, the state has little involvement in mining as compared to before since most of the mines are abandoned, and “The Silver State” is now Nevada’s official state name.
11. The Switzerland of America
This name is surely one of the most hype-building names on the list. Colorado is called “The Switzerland of America” as it has snowcapped mountains and breathtaking landscapes that are a reason for a lot of tourist activity for the state.
Also, the name is not completely over-exaggerated as people that have been to the Swiss Alps themselves testify that the name is very justified. Since there is an abundance of snowy, mountainous landscapes, it is incredibly popular snow sports and tourist destination.
Although reserved for the wealthy and elite, the resorts here apparently provide unimaginable experiences.
Nickname for Colorado State – FAQs
Colorado has had a lot of names over the years which have also been used simultaneously at some point in time. The reason for this is that these names represent things about the state that is very special and near and dear to the hearts of its people.
Nature, wildlife, the people, and their livelihood, all have been represented in the names of the state. These names symbolize everything great about the state and are sure to leave a lasting impression on whoever hears the reason behind each and every one of them.