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Denver, Co. is a city located in the South Platte River Valley on the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.

In the summer of 1858, a small group of prospectors from Georgia crossed the great plains of the Colorado Territory and made a region-changing discovery at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Gold. And although not much of the precious metal was found, the mere whisper of the word was enough to start a veritable stampede into the region. After all, the California Gold Rush had occurred just nine years earlier.

However, gold wasn’t the only way to strike it rich in the boomtown that was springing up on the banks of the South Platte. Those who arrived early enough could simply stake out a claim of land, lay out city streets, and then sell the lots to those arriving after them. General William H. Larimer didn’t arrive early but followed the plan perfectly. He claim-jumped the land on the eastern side of the South Platte River, laid out a city and, in hopes of gaining political favor, named the city after Kansas Territorial governor James Denver.

Scratch the veneer of the new-West look of urban Denver and you'll get a glimpse of the Old West, too. Sitting one mile above sea level, in view of the Rocky Mountains, the Mile High City is a study in contrasts.

The golden dome of the state capitol overlooks a downtown where historic buildings and architecturally significant modern structures stand side by side. A modernistic airport keeps company with tumbleweeds on the vast prairie far out of downtown. Exotic Asian markets rub shoulders with restaurants that specialize in bison steaks.

If you come to Denver looking for outdoor recreation, you won't be disappointed. Miles of bike trails and fabulous city parks that offer everything from hiking to water sports will give visitors plenty of opportunity to admire the temperate climate and the Rocky Mountain views.

Map: Denver

Region: Metro Denver Area Regional Information

County: Denver

Proximity to other towns: Located 11 miles from Thornton, 11.5 miles from Arvada, 11.5 miles from Commerce City, 12 miles from Aurora, 14 miles from Greenwood Village

Population: 566,974

Elevation: 5280 feet

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