4 Ways to Celebrate Colorado Day Like a Real Coloradan Mary Zakheim August 1, 2016 Denver, Travel Guide Colorado is having somewhat of a renaissance at the moment: lauded for its incredible vistas, its liberal-leaning nature, and its focus on mental, physical, and spiritual health, the state has seen a decided uptick in popularity. So whether you’ve lived there your whole life or you’re one of the many who have recently flocked to the Centennial State, there are a bunch of great ways to celebrate the state’s 140th birthday on August 1st. From exploring its diverse natural geography to testing your endurance in the area’s challenging landscapes to kicking back in a ski town and enjoying a local craft brew, Colorado is a state that knows how to work hard and play hard. Explore the Mind-Bogglingly Diverse Geography Colorado plays host to an extraordinarily different array of ecosystems. In just over 104 square miles, visitors can explore the arid deserts of Great Sand Dunes National Park in the southern part of the state, the snow-capped mountains in ski towns like Vail and Breckenridge, the evergreen forests of the Rocky Mountain National Park in the north, or the rocky terrain of Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. The colorful collection of wildlife ranges from the trademark red rocks to its green meadows and fields of flowers. And the best part of it all? There are tons of trails, lookout points, and places to camp out that are within two hours driving distance from Denver. Take Advantage of Colorado’s Extreme Physical Challenges Fancy a 500-mile long backpacking trip that cuts diagonally across the state, a 100-mile ultramarathon run through the state’s achingly jarring mountain ranges, a heart-pumping climb up Colorado Springs’s terrifyingly steep Manitou Incline, or an ascent up one of the state’s 53 fourteeners? One of the most unique things about Colorado is its storied history with testing the physical limits of humankind – the flagship training center for US Olympians is centered in Colorado Springs, after all! The land serves up an even more tantalizing challenge to those wishing to prove their physical strength, with all of these already-extreme activities taking place at an average altitude of a whopping 6,800 feet. Eat, Drink and Be Merry with Fantastic Beer and Music Scenes Getting tired just reading about these extreme activities? Relax a bit with its natural offerings: from the acoustically perfect Red Rocks Amphitheatre to Colorado’s spanning network of over 200 breweries, 100 wineries, and 56 distilleries, it’s not hard to find a part of the state where you can peacefully unwind. The micro-brewery culture has taken root all across the area, with breweries popping up in every corner, taking advantage of the cold spring water that the state’s hulking mountainous ranges provide. Unearth the Region’s Preserved Ancient History In the southwest corner of Colorado lay the ancient dwellings of the Puebloan people, who occupied the area between 600 AD – 1300 AD. Among the best preserved in the United States, the Mesa Verde National Park protects more than 5,000 archeological sites, including the 600 intricately designed cliff dwellings. Mysteries still permeate the site, with archeologists and curious visitors alike wondering why the civilization decided to abandon their sprawling lands in the span of one generation around 1300 AD. From Morrison to Colorado Springs to Fruita, the density of dinosaur fossils is notable and awe-inspiring. Walk along Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison and witness tons of excavation sites and exposed fossils in one of the world’s most famous fossil locales. For a more hands-on experience, check out the many offerings around Grand Junction – from an interactive Dinosaur Journey Museum to an entire town dedicated to the extinct group, dinosaur-lovers will never be short of a jurassic adventure in this state! Is there anything unique to Colorado that we missed here? Let us know in the comments!