State symbols have been a mainstay of U.S. culture for well over 100 years. Official symbols are used to represent the cultural heritage and natural history of each state in the most fun way possible.
Fortunately, Colorado is no different from many other U.S. states, with an abundance of symbols that are indicative to the state’s historical roots and geological history. There are also recognizable icons and emblems for each state, such as state seals and flags, nicknames and mottos, and much more which we have included in our Colorado state symbol list.
Colorado State Symbols List
There is an incredible amount of state of Colorado symbols, and all states for that matter, creating a plethora of interesting facts, both from the past and in more recent times. We have shortlisted the top 6 most significant state symbols of Colorado below and further down the page you will find a comprehensive list of symbols noting each Colorado symbol and the date that each were officially created and recognized.
Colorado State Animal
The incredibly majestic and unique Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) has been the official Colorado state animal since 1961. Their name came about due to their almost cartoon-like giant, curling horns, growing to a maximum of 50 inches in length!
Not only are they known for their freakishly large horns, but they possess incredible agility and balance. They reside in rugged terrain, where they will feed and reproduce. Their impressive horns do not shed on an annual basis like the antlers of deer and elk, instead, they grow at a slower pace but throughout their entire lifespan.
Colorado State Fish
Greenback cutthroat trouts (Oncorhynchus clarki somias) became the official Colorado state fish during 1994. The main reason for their adoption as the state’s fish is their popularity throughout the state. Colorado is full of streams and rivers, and the majority of them are populated with these fish.
Colorado State Bird and Flower
The Colorado state bird and flower are a fantastic representation of the state, past, and present. The migratory lark bunting (Calamospiza melancorys Stenjneger) became the official Colorado state bird in 1931. These birds are incredibly loyal, and are also beautiful, with the males being jet black with white wings, and in the winter, they change to gray and brown, which is more similar in appearance to the females.
The white and lavender Rocky Mountain Columbine (Columbine Aquilegia caerulea) is a beautiful flower with a distinctive aroma to attract bees and begin the pollination process. It has been the Colorado state flower since 1899 (over 120 years ago), after winning the vote of the schoolchildren of the state.
Colorado State Seal
The current Colorado state seal was officially adopted in 1877, which was a year after the state officially joined the union. The current version you see of the Colorado state seal is the only version that has been created, there are absolutely no other versions or revisions of the state seal.
At the top of the seal, you can see the wording “the eye of god” in a triangle with golden rays radiating from both sides. This is a symbol of Masonic origin, which can also be found on the U.S. official state seal, and on the back of a $1 bill!
Just below the eye of God are fasces which are supposed to represent a republican government, which is fitting to Colorado. The statute residing on the seal shows the rods being bound together, which symbolizes the strength that is lacking in one single rod, and the axe shows authority and leadership. The ribbon that binds the fasces from the left also bears the word “UNION”, and the ribbon to the right says “CONSTITUTION”.
On the top section of the heraldic shield, you can see three of the state’s famous snow-capped mountains with clouds above them, against a red background. On the bottom half of the shield, you can see a sledgehammer crossed on a golden background.
Colorado State Insect
The beautiful Colorado hairstreak butterfly (Hypaurotis crysalus) was adopted as the official state insect for Colorado back in 1996. This was thanks to the steady efforts of 4th-grade students from Wheeling Elementary School in Aurora, Colorado. Their successful lobbying was led by teacher Melinda Terry.
Colorado State Tree
The majestic Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens) is the official Colorado state tree and has been since Colorado school children voted to adopt the blue spruce as the official tree to represent the state during Arbor Day in 1892. However, it was actually not until 1939 when the Colorado blue spruce became the official Colorado state tree.
All Colorado State Symbols (Table)
Now that we have taken a look at some of the more popular and notable state symbols that are associated with the state of Colorado, it makes sense to showcase all the Colorado state symbols that are best used to represent the state’s history and more present achievements and moments. Here is the complete list of state symbols and the year they became official:
|Type Of Symbol||State Symbol||Year|
|Colorado State Amphibian||Western tiger salamander (Ambystoma mavortium)||2012|
|Colorado State Air and space museum||Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum||1997|
|Colorado State Animal||Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis)||1961|
|Colorado State Bird||Lark bunting (Calamospiza melancorys Stejneger)||1931|
|Colorado State Cactus||Claret cup cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus)||2014|
|Colorado State Fish||Greenback cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki stomias)||1994|
|Colorado State Flag||Civil and State Flag||1901|
|Colorado State Flower||White and lavender columbine (Aquilegia caerulea)||1899|
|Colorado State Folk dance||Square dancing||1992|
|Colorado State Fossil||Stegosaurus||1982|
|Colorado State Gemstone||Aquamarine||1971|
|Colorado State Grass||Blue grama grass||1987|
|Colorado State Insect||Colorado hairstreak butterfly (Hypaurotis crysalus)||1996|
|Colorado State Mineral||Rhodochrosite||2002|
|Colorado State Pets||Adopted shelter dogs and cats||2013|
|Colorado State Recreational sports||Skiing and snowboarding||2008|
|Colorado State Reptile||Western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii)||2008|
|Colorado State Rock||Yule marble||2004|
|Colorado State Seal||Seal of the State of Colorado||1877|
|Colorado State Song||"Where the Columbines Grow," by A.J. Flynn||1915|
|Colorado State Song||"Rocky Mountain High," by John Denver||2007|
|Colorado State Summer heritage sport||Pack burro racing||2012|
|Colorado State Tree||Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens)||1939|