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Colorado is best known for its unforgettable landscapes, from forests and mountains to rivers, canyons, and sand dunes. It’s also popular for the wide range of physical activities it offers, including skiing, hiking, biking, and skydiving.
But did you know that the Four Corners Monument, in the southwest corner of Colorado, is the only place in America where borders of fours states meet? So, if you’ve also wanted to visit New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah as well as Colorado and do it at the same time, add the Centennial State to the list of places to visit on your bucket list.
The best way to learn more about a state’s history and spirit is through the music it has inspired. We’ve selected the following 11 songs about Colorado to help you take your mind a mile higher.
11 Songs About Colorado
1. “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver
“And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
I know he’d be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly
Rocky mountain high”
One of Colorado’s two official state songs, Denver’s iconic songs perfectly captures the blissful feeling of being close to nature. The natural wonders of the Rockies shine through the lyrics which describe the eagles flying over the mountains and the peace and quiet of the forests as a soul-enriching experience. This track might inspire you to hike through the Rocky Mountain National Park and discover the disarming charm of the Colorado wilderness.
The John Denver Sanctuary located next to the Rio Grande Park is also an ideal place for a picnic or a peaceful stroll.
2. “San Luis” by Gregory Alan Isacov
“Oh, highway boys all sleeping in
With their dirty mouths and broken strings
Oh, their eyes are shining like the sea
For you, the queen of San Luis”
Colorado native Gregory Alan Isacov penned this indie track while on a camping trip in the San Luis Valley. Parts of the accompanying music video were also shot there and help bring the magic of the alpine valley to life. The calmness and serenity of wildlife running free are emphasized by the gorgeous Great Sand Dunes in the background. The moody and serious atmosphere of the dunes gives way to a liberating sense of freedom that comes from the ability to get so close to natural wonder.
Whether you want to go hiking or sand sledding, the dunes are must-see for all Colorado visitors.
3. “My Proud Mountains” by Townes Van Zandt
“My home is Colorado with her proud mountains tall
Where the rivers like gypsies down her black canyons fall
Well, I’m a long way from Denver with a long way to go
So, lend an ear to my singin’ ’cause I’ll be back no more”
Van Zandt’s mountain song tells the story of a man whose home state of Colorado calls for him. A restless youth, he left home to chase his dreams and make his fortune in the world. After wandering for years, he realizes that longs to feel a sense of peace and belonging, something he only truly felt in Colorado. As the man tells us that his home is in Colorado, it becomes clear that no matter how far and wide he traveled, his heart always remained in the Centennial State.
4. “A Mile High in Denver” by Jimmy Buffett
“I’m about a mile high in Denver
Where the rock meets timberline
I’ve walked this ground from town to town
Just to finally call it mine”
Denver is commonly called the Mile High City because it sits one mile above sea level. The track is about a man who wants to settle down and finally have a place to call his own. He’s saved up his hard-earned money and decides to make a stop in Colorado. He’s in awe at how powerful nature is, how harsh the winters are and how bright the sunshine is in spring. Dazzled by the scenic landscapes surrounding Denver, he decides to quit his wandering and make Colorado his home.
5. “Lucky Old Colorado” by Merle Haggard
“So lucky old Colorado
You’ve got the girl of my dreams
She loves you, Colorado
More than she’ll ever love me”
This one is a bittersweet tune about a man coming to terms with losing the woman he loves. After the man meets her in California and their relationship blossoms, the woman decides to return to Colorado and leaves the relationship behind. Haggard’s haunting voice is bound to move you and leave you wondering what’s so special in Colorado that she had to go back.
6. “ You Wild Colorado” by Johnny Cash
“Oh, you wild raging river like my woman’s lips you lure me
Pied Piper of the desert roll on to the sea
You’re the same at noon or midnight and I follow where you go
But you’re planning no returning you wild Colorado”
This underrated Johnny Cash track perfectly describes both the wonder and fear untamed nature can stir in your heart. As he gazes upon the powerful waters of the Colorado River, the narrator is struck by how wild and beautiful it is. The mighty current answers to no one and comes and goes as it pleases. Running through seven U.S. states, the river is a sight to behold.
Colorado’s wilderness is like this too; full of natural areas that elevate the human spirit, yet startlingly rugged and unpredictable.
7.“ I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado” by John Denver
“I guess he’d rather be in Colorado
He’d rather spend his time out where the sky looks like a pearl after a rain
Once again, I see him walkin’
Once again, I hear him talking to the stars he makes
And asking them for bus fare”
Another John Denver number! This one is about a New York office worker who is disenchanted with city living and longs to roll through the green hills of Colorado. If he doesn’t get to the countryside idyll he imagines, all he’ll have to show for all the urban hustle and bustle is a nasty cough. The only way he can soothe his mind is by imagining he is in a more rural area, surrounded by vast forests and clear skies.
8. “Colorado Christmas” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
“But all along the Rockies you can feel it in the air
From Telluride to Boulder down below
The closest thing to heaven on this planet anywhere
Is a quiet Christmas morning in the Colorado snow”
Another track teeming with nostalgia, “ Colorado Christmas” paints wintertime in the Rockies as a joyous season. As he looks out his Hollywood hotel window, the narrator is disappointed with what he sees. The traffic is too loud, the weather too warm, and there’s not a single snowflake blanketing the ground. Alternatively, winter turns the Rockies into a snowy paradise, where you’ll be able to enjoy a crisp stroll among the evergreen trees so long as you layer up nicely.
9. “Rocky Mountain Way” by Joe Walsh
“’Cause the Rocky Mountain Way
Is better than the way we had”
Joe Walsh wrote the song as he was mowing his lawn. When he looked up, he saw the Rocky Mountains in the distance and was inspired to create this track. This anecdote proves that the Rocky Mountain Way does exist. It’s living your life at a slow and steady pace as you learn to appreciate and reconnect with the natural world. As dusk and dawn change over the hills and mountains, you’ll soon find that you’re also in tune with the rhythm of nature.
10. “Telluride” by Tim McGraw
“Telluride, the snow falling down
I was waking up in that sleepy little town
In her eyes my world came so alive
I never will forget the moment she arrived
Nestled between forests and a popular ski resort, the small town of Telluride acts as a backdrop for the coming-of-age story the song describes. A young man moves to Telluride, set on finding his place in the world. Here he finds work as a bartender and falls in love. While feeling heartbreak, he still looks back fondly on the memories he made during long winter nights in Telluride.
11. “Colorado Girl” by Townes Van Zandt
“I’m goin’ out to Denver
See if I can’t find
That lovin’ Colorado girl of mine”
To finish off the list, we have “Colorado Girl,” another track by Van Zandt, this time about a man leaving behind everything he knows to find the woman he loves. At first glance, it’s a simple yet moving love song. But the lyrics can also be interpreted as describing a man who sets out to find new opportunities in an effort to build a better life for himself somewhere else. From this perspective, Colorado is then a land where you can achieve all your dreams if you are brave enough to try.
Final Thoughts on Songs About Colorado
We hope these 11 songs about Colorado have brought the soul of the state closer to you. If you’re thinking about paying the Centennial State a visit, make sure to check out the songs we’ve linked above to get in tune with its overall atmosphere. Once you get there, take lots of pictures so that you can always have a reminder of what a wonderful time you had.