Quirky Attraction: ‘One Mile Above Sea Level’ Sign at the Colorado State Capitol

one mile above sea level

‘One Mile Above Sea Level’ sign at the Colorado State Capitol building
Location: Denver, CO
When to visit: Anytime, but daylight hours are ideal
Cost: Free
Time needed to enjoy: 10 minutes
Website: www.denver.org/metro/high-altitude-tips

Denver’s nickname as “The Mile High City” is spot-on accurate. No rounding or estimating going on here! The steps of the state capitol building are marked at the exact location of one mile above sea level.

If the elevation of the capitol building was 5,270 feet or 5,290 feet, no one would care. But because one of the steps sits at exactly 5,280 feet, and because that step has been engraved to reflect its elevation, this spot has become a highly-sought-after photo opportunity.

It’s not even clear which step is precisely one mile above sea level. Denver’s official website says that originally the 11th step was carved as one mile high, but it was later determined that the actual spot was four steps higher. Some time after that, scientists decided that Denver was three feet higher than previously believed.

So who knows which step is really one mile high. You can cover your bases by posing on all of them. Join the parade of tourists and get your pic taken at the capitol.

“Come on, honey, stand right between grammy and paps!”

colorado state capitol

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About Quirky Travel Guy

Scott Shetler is a Seattle-based freelance writer & fan of indie rock, road trips, ice cream, squirrels on power lines, runaway shopping carts, and six-way intersections. Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, which may earn me a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.

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  1. I’m against the metric system for one reason and one reason only – ‘Denver – the 1.6 km high city’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it….But seriously, i’m a big fan of our mile-high moniker and love all the places in the city that are marked out indicating the altitude. It’s also clearly marked out in all of our sports arenas/stadiums to remind the visiting teams exactly how high they are in order to psyche them out before they even take the field/floor/ice.

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