With almost a third of the state consisting of prairie or grassland and the rest containing 54 mountain peaks higher than 14,000 feet, it's safe to say the scenery in this vibrant, unique and complex state is magnificent. For this and many other reasons, it's no wonder so many people love it — its population has increased about 16.8 percent in the last ten years. Outstanding professional and college sports, unparalleled natural beauty, vibrant city life, myriad recreational opportunities, first-class higher education and a vast variety of wildlife are just a fraction of this U.S. marvel's attributes. (Text: Ashley Chase/MNN)
Special thanks to Lauren Buchholz, photographer and former MNN correspondent, for her help with this gallery.