Welcome sign for Colorful Colorado on a grassy field Photo Credit: Davel5957 (iStock).

Photo Credit: Davel5957 (iStock).

Coloradans are a special type of human, from having what it takes to regularly face off with wild weather to feeling at home in dangerous mountain terrain. Here are a few ways to tell if you're living the typical quirky and authentic Colorado life.

  1. You use the mountains for your sense of direction.
  2. Your formal wear has been collecting dust for years. Why? You opt for comfort and functionality unless you're forced to act otherwise.
  3. You groan at the thought of drinking non-craft beer. Support local, right?.
  4. Your car has a crack on the windshield that you're not replacing because the next one will probably be cracked within a few weeks. Besides, it's been cracked for so long that you've gotten used to looking around it.
  5. You find it odd when gloomy skies stick around for more than an hour.
  6. You know the local pronunciations for buena, cache, and poudre and notice when an out-of-towner says one incorrectly.
  7. Events like rockslides and avalanches that seem wild to out-of-staters rarely get more than a few seconds of your attention. You also probably have an understanding of how to avoid some of these risks.
  8. Days 'off' typically mean some sort of strenuous mountain activity that will somehow leave you feeling rested and relaxed, but exhausted at the same time.
  9. You've tried Rocky Mountain Oysters and you're not sure if you're a fan... but you'll still recommend them to visiting friends for a laugh.
  10. You often leave the house with clothes for any season of the year in the car. You know sunshine can turn to a snow squall in a few minutes.
  11. You take fire safety much more seriously than your out-of-state friends. If this doesn't apply to you, here are a few things you should know.
  12. You take care of the trails like you own them and take offense when others don't follow the principles of Leave No Trace.
  13. You're used to waiting a couple seconds at your green light for a few more cars to pass on their red.
  14. You drive your vehicle to places that it should never go or you've made a special vehicle purchase specifically to accommodate for rougher roads.
  15. You realize the whole 'four seasons' timeline is a sham, with no real line between winter, spring, summer, and fall. Snow in July? Sure, why not. 70 and sunny on New Year's Day... of course it is.
  16. You tend to measure trip distance in estimated time, not miles. After all, ten miles in the mountains might mean 30 minutes of driving or more.
  17. You've developed a tolerance for the cold that allows you to wear shorts in conditions that would have most Californians in full winter gear.
  18. You know the name of "The Strong Arm" lawyer, even if you've never had to give him a call.
  19. You find it shocking how much other states seem to care about collegiate sports. Sure, there are a few big rivalries here, but the number of transplants makes fan favorites a bit divided.
  20. The Broncos are your team, even though you might not always skip weekend adventures to watch the games.
  21. You're not shocked to meet people that have climbed a mountain – or ten.
  22. You wear your number of annual ski days like a badge of honor. If not ski days, it's the number of fourteeners you've bagged.
  23. You've probably got a dog. If not, you know plenty of people with them. Everyone knows Colorado is a very dog-friendly state.
  24. You have a disdain for tourists and newcomers despite probably being a transplant yourself.
  25. Driving alongside deadly drop-offs doesn't make your palms sweaty.
  26. You've got so much gear for outdoor recreation that it takes up an entire room in your house. Is some of it broken beyond repair? Sure, but you keep it anyway.
  27. You're well aware of what altitude sickness is. You've got your own set of tips and tricks to prevent falling ill to it.
  28. You've got an entire closet filled with marijuana – just kidding, you don't... but you're definitely used to every out-of-stater you know inaccurately thinking that's the case. You'd think this stereotype would be gone after more than 30 states have legalized some form of weed, but it continues.
  29. You're constantly rediscovering tubes of sunblock from previous adventures just in time for your next one. They're mostly 50-plus SPF.
  30. You find it shocking that people can live elsewhere without getting bored.
  31. You're not only proficient in one extreme sport, but many. Mountain biking, skiing, hiking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting – you've tried them all and you're not too shabby.
  32. You've walked on terrain that's so high the forest can't grow there. You can also tell the difference between a pika and a marmot.
  33. You risk your life on a regular basis – hey, those slopes aren't gonna ski themselves.
  34. You're not struck with shock when the loud bugle of an elk sounds off. Or when a deer wanders through the yard.
  35. You know to fill up your gas tank when you get the chance on long drives, even if it's not empty.
  36. You know how to act specific to the potentially dangerous animal species you encounter on a trail, whether it's a bear, mountain lion, or moose.
  37. Your phone is filled with photos of wildflowers that you'll probably never look at again.
  38. You know to move over to the right lane if you can't keep up with traffic.
  39. You've seen more waterfalls, rivers, wildlife, cliffs, and mountains than the rest of your out-of-state friends and family combined.
  40. You have an opinion on whether or not wolves should be roaming the state.
  41. You've got various hiking footwear for the occasion.
  42. You anticipate not having cell phone connection on a regular basis while adventuring. Thankfully, you probably have some sort of GPS-based smartphone app for directions.
  43. You're used to warning visitors about nosebleeds that come with extreme lack of humidity.
  44. You're typically aware of the elevation where you're at.
  45. You randomly spot 'South Park' destinations during regular life.
  46. You've had personal property damaged by a hailstorm at least once.
  47. You've made significant investments on attachments that turn your vehicle into an adventure-mobile. Some out-of-staters might think it makes the vehicle look bad, but you think it's the perfect fit.
  48. You don't think you have an accent (but really, you do).
  49. You understand that rock stacks aren't just there to look cool.
  50. You drive a Subaru, Jeep, or 4Runner, and if you don't, you kind of wish you did.
  51. You know the sunshine can make a 30-degree day feel like it's 60 degrees.
  52. You have no clue what roads look like without construction zones.
  53. You whole-heartedly believe that you live in the most beautiful state in America.

But wait, there's more...

  1. You're familiar with all sorts of weather warnings, from fog to hail to blizzards to the occasional bombcyclone.
  2. You anticipate fire season altering your summer plans in the mountains.
  3. You're familiar with legends and conspiracies related to the Denver International Airport.
  4. You know roughly how long it takes you to climb the Manitou Incline.
  5. Your feet have a tan-line from Chacos or Tevas.
  6. A burger smothered in a sort of green chile gravy? Sure, why not?
  7. You spend most of Fourth of July dodging afternoon thunderstorms while hoping the local firework show isn't canceled due to fire risk.

Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run. He's on a mission to summit all 58 of Colorado's fourteeners and has already climbed more than half.


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(12) comments

Special K

Yeah, you did get a lot correct, some not (this list really changes throughout the years), but you did your job in starting discussions!


I love how reading the comments of this cut-rate publication bring readers back to reality. Colorado is nothing like it used to be. Housing is way too expensive, it's friggin noisy, traffic here sucks and it's FAR too crowded. One piece of advice if you're thinking of moving here, think again.

Steve B/Colorado

"FAR too crowded......." I can find trails here on the Front Range for weekday walking or hiking where I find few if any people. Weekends are a little tougher, but the solitude is still there is one knows where to go (sorry, I'm not revealing my special places).


I lived in CO in the 70s and 80s. Hiking, camping, etc was noisy then. Planes flying overhead, people on all the trails. I moved to MT for a short while. Hiking in those mountains? Wow; talk about being out there. I remember NO noise; no people, no construction/highway noises, nothing. It was a bit unnerving being really in remote places. Was beautiful.


Many true Coloradons reject the leftward turn of the state with its crowded highways and trails, increases in crime and homelessness and skyrocketing cost of living - especially housing. If I wanted to like in California, I'd move to California. After moving here as a teen and 35 years of bliss (plus 10 years gritting of my teeth), I'm leaving.


I left quite a few years ago; didn't want to, but family obligations created the necessity. I have always missed CO so much, but I know how much it has changed. Recently, I'm in a position to have a place, but we have declined to choose CO. For a few reasons. So sad to see such beautiful places all over the US ruined by people who take more than they need and don't help govern with their whole environment in mind. Money wins, I know... good luck to you. Miss you still, CO.


I was born and raised here in Northern Colorado and been here for almost 50 years. Most of this list is not representative of my life at all.

In my opinion this is what outsiders see after living here for a couple years. This state is not my playground it is where my family lives and works. The idea that all native Colorodans play and exploit the natural wonder of this state is grossly demeaning.



You're not a True colorodan if there is a snow slide or a rock slide and you don't give it more than a couple seconds of thought. True coloradans don't hike fourteeners because they're out of control with Mobs of people. They'd rather hike a 13er just to avoid the crowds.


You're not a true Coloradian if you call a Cairn a rock stack.


#1 tell tale sign you're a true Colordan:

You're not actually from here and arrived last week, you don't work here, you don't contribute to the state, the home you own in Colorado is your second third fourth fifth etc., you treat workers like garbage and embarrass yourself with your ignorance, you're incredibly cheap and cause people to lose their homes, and you only care about money. That's a true Coloradan...now.

It wasn't not long ago.


Subarus and Jeep’s are mainly for newbies. Audis and Chevrolet SUVs are for locals. You don’t drive a Jeep unless it’s on a trail. It’s like a 4wheeler for an adult. You also are a true Coloradoan if you can remember when housing here was affordable.

Special K

Um, no. You must be young. Audis and Chevys? Nope.

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