Superior, Colorado

Coordinates: 39°57′06″N 105°09′54″W / 39.95167°N 105.16500°W / 39.95167; -105.16500
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Superior, Colorado
Rock Creek Ranch subdivision in Superior
Rock Creek Ranch subdivision in Superior
Flag of Superior, Colorado
Location of Superior in Boulder County and Jefferson County, Colorado
Location of Superior in Boulder County and Jefferson County, Colorado
Coordinates: 39°57′06″N 105°09′54″W / 39.95167°N 105.16500°W / 39.95167; -105.16500
Country United States
State Colorado
Counties[1]Boulder County, Jefferson County
IncorporatedJune 10, 1904[2]
 • TypeStatutory Town[1]
 • MayorMark Lacis
 • Total3.96 sq mi (10.27 km2)
 • Land3.93 sq mi (10.17 km2)
 • Water0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)
Elevation5,495 ft (1,675 m)
 • Total13,094
 • Density3,300/sq mi (1,300/km2)
Time zoneUTC−7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP code[6]
Area code(s)Both 303 and 720
FIPS code08-75640
GNIS feature ID0203891
HighwaysUS 36, SH 128, SH 170
WebsiteTown Website

Superior is a statutory town in Boulder County, Colorado, United States, with a small, uninhabited segment of land area extending into Jefferson County. According to the 2020 census, the population of the city was 13,094.[5]


Superior's history is one of coal mining. The first mines in the area were developed in the late 19th century. Coal was discovered on the Hake family farm in 1864, and recollections of members of pioneer families in Superior, including the Hakes and Autreys, are preserved as part of the Maria Rogers Oral History Program at the Carnegie Library for Local History in Boulder, Colorado.[7] The town was reportedly named after its superior quality of coal.[8]

Mining was the major force in Superior's history until the Industrial Mine closed in 1945. Subsequently, many people moved out of the area and the Town evolved into a quiet ranching and farming community. Superior's population hovered around 250 until the late 1990s, when subdivisions were built in the town and the population rose dramatically to 9,011 by 2000.

Recent events[edit]

Marshall Fire

On December 30, 2021, the Marshall Fire, the most destructive fire in Colorado's history, destroyed over 1000 homes in Superior, the neighboring city of Louisville, and portions of unincorporated Boulder County. In Superior, approximately 378 homes (14% of the single-family homes in the town) were destroyed and 58 were damaged, 7 commercial properties were destroyed and 30 damaged, and there were 2 fatalities.[9][10][11][12][13]

The fire started in Boulder County land to the west and was driven by 60–100 mph (97–161 km/h) wind gusts across extremely dry grasses and fuels before reaching the town.[14] It spread rapidly and unexpectedly, prompting the temporary evacuation of 13,000 people in Superior and 21,000 in Louisville.[15]

According to the official investigation performed by the Boulder County Sheriff, the fire started from two separate sources of ignition.[16] The first was a trash fire set six days earlier on land near the intersection of Marshall Road and State Highway 93 owned by Twelve Tribes. Its remaining embers were uncovered and reignited by high winds on the day of the fire. The second source was power lines on the western side of the Marshall Mesa trailhead owned by Excel. A line became unmoored from its supports and subsequent arcing caused sparks that ignited dry fuels on the ground. No criminal charges were filed.

Vigorous recovery and rebuilding efforts are ongoing as of June 2023, supported in part by a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster declaration and numerous local government and nonprofit organizations.[17][18][19][20][21]


Superior is located at 39°55′52″N 105°09′33″W / 39.93111°N 105.15917°W / 39.93111; -105.15917 (39.93119, −105.159085), about 15 minutes from downtown Boulder, 30 minutes from downtown Denver, and 35 minutes from Denver International Airport, with easy access to extensive regional open space and trail systems.[22][23] It is bordered by the city of Louisville to the northeast, the city of Broomfield to the east and south, Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge to the south, and Boulder County open space to the west. U.S. Highway 36, also known as the Denver-Boulder Turnpike, runs along the northeast boundary of the town, and Colorado Route 128A runs along the south.[24]

According to the United States Census Bureau as of 2021, Superior has a total area of 3.972 sq mi (10.29 km2), of which 3.933 sq mi (10.186 km2) is land and 0.039 sq mi (0.101 km2) is water.[22]


According to the Köppen climate classification system, Superior has Dry, Semi-arid, cold climate (BSk). According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the Plant Hardiness zone is 6a, with an average annual extreme minimum temperature of −10 to −5 °F (−23 to −21 °C).[25]

Climate data for Superior, Colorado. 1991-2020
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 46
Average low °F (°C) 20
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.60
Source: PRISM Climate Group[26]

Amenities and Recreation[edit]

As of 2023, Superior has 788.2 acres (319.0 ha) of parks and open space, which is about 31% of its total land area. This includes owned natural space, natural space under conservation easements, and developed open space. Recreational trails (on-road, hard, and soft) extend for 29.75 mi (47.88 km). Recreational amenities include 13 playgrounds, 6 pickleball courts, 4 tennis courts, 3 multipurpose fields, 3 baseball/softball fields, 2 outdoor pools, 3 basketball courts, 2 sand volleyball courts, 1 dog park, 1 bike park, 1 skate park, and 1 disk golf course.[27]

The Superior Community Center serves as a public venue for diverse uses.


Historical population

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 13,094 people and 4,424 households in Superior.[28] Additional demographic information is available from the US Census profile of Superior and US Census Quick Facts about Superior. Data here are from the 2020 census [28] and 2020 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates for 2016-2020.

Age distribution estimates showed 5.6% of the population under age 5, 29.2% under age 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 28.4% from 45 to 64, and 7.4% 65 or older. Females were 50.9% of the population, and the median age was 36.3 years.[29]

The racial makeup of the town was 76.1% White alone, 69.9% White alone and not Hispanic or Latino, 18.8% Asian alone, 6.9% Hispanic or Latino, and 3.6% two or more races, with less than 1% in any other category. A language other than English was spoken at home by 20.1% of the population.

Family and household characteristics included 65.0% married-couple families, 13.0% family households with a male householder and no spouse present, and 16.9% family households with a female householder and no spouse present. The average household size was 2.87 and the average family size was 3.36.

Housing characteristics estimates indicated the population density was 3,332 inhabitants per square mile (1,286/km2). Of the 5,025 housing units, 61.5% were owner-occupied. The median value of owner-occupied housing units for 2016-2020 was $603,600. The median gross rent for the same period was $2,060.

The median income for a household (in 2020 dollars) for 2016-2020 was $126,600 +/- $15,678, and median per capita income was $50,932. The employment rate was 75.3%. About 4.0% of the population were living below the poverty line, and 3.6% were without health care coverage.[30]

Education characteristics of residents 25 years and over were that 94.9% were high school graduates, 76.2% held a bachelor's degree or higher, and 33.2% held a graduate or professional degree.


Superior’s diverse businesses as of 2023 include Costco, Super Target, Whole Foods, Safeway, Ethan Allen, Stickley Furniture, Blue Sport Stable, Superior Liquor, PetSmart, and a Tesla service center, in addition to national chain and independent retailers, restaurants, service providers, and offices.[31] As of 2023, development was underway on a mixed-use retail/residential development called Downtown Superior.[32] The Superior Chamber of Commerce supports businesses of all types.

Educational Institutions[edit]

Superior is part of the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) and is home to two public schools: Superior Elementary and Eldorado PK-8. The home public high school is Monarch High School in neighboring Louisville. The school district's open enrollment policy also allows students to attend any other BVSD public school as long as space is available.[33] Nearby institutions of higher education include the University of Colorado at Boulder, Naropa University in Boulder, and Front Range Community College campuses in Longmont and Westminster.

In popular culture[edit]

Sections of the 1985 movie American Flyers were filmed in Superior.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. Archived from the original on December 12, 2009. Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  2. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. December 1, 2004. Retrieved September 2, 2007.
  3. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ a b United States Census Bureau. "Superior town, Colorado". Retrieved April 27, 2023.
  6. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup" (JavaScript/HTML). United States Postal Service. Retrieved January 6, 2008.
  7. ^ Steele, Shirley S. (2008). "Autrey, Raymond, 1921-". Maria Rogers Oral History Program. Boulder Public Library.
  8. ^ Dawson, John Frank (1954). Place names in Colorado: why 700 communities were so named, 150 of Spanish or Indian origin. Denver, CO: The J. Frank Dawson Publishing Co. p. 48.
  9. ^ "State of Colorado Marshall Fire information". Mitigation and Recovery Information for Colorado. Colorado Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  10. ^ "How big was the Marshall Fire? Comparing the Colorado blaze to past destructive events". The Sacramento Bee. December 31, 2021. Archived from the original on January 4, 2022. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  11. ^ "List of structures damaged and destroyed in the Marshall Fire". Boulder County news archive. January 6, 2022. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  12. ^ "Superior Rising dashboard". Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  13. ^ "What we know about the Marshall Fire 3 months later". 9News KUSA-TV (Denver, CO). March 30, 2020. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  14. ^ "High Winds and Marshall Fire on December 30th, 2021". National Weather Service. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  15. ^ "Colorado Wildfires Burn Hundreds of Homes, Force Evacuations". CBS News DFW (Denver,CO). Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  16. ^ "Marshall Fire Investigative Summary". Marshall Fire Documents of Interest. Boulder County. Retrieved June 8, 2023.
  17. ^ "Colorado Wildfires and Straight-line Winds, 4634-DR-CO". FEMA. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  18. ^ "Town of Superior Marshall Fire FAQs and Resources". Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  19. ^ "Boulder County Marshall Fire Recovery website". Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  20. ^ "Superior Rising nonprofit website". Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  21. ^ "Boulder County Wildefire Fund". Community Foundation of Boulder County. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  22. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files: 2021". United States Census Bureau. August 10, 2021. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  23. ^ "City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Interactive Trail Map".
  24. ^ "Highways in Colorado". Colorado Department of Transportation. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  25. ^ "USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map". United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved September 24, 2023.}
  26. ^ "PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University". Retrieved September 24, 2023.
  27. ^ "Superior Parks and Recreation website". Town of Superior. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  28. ^ a b "2020 Decennial US Census". US Census Data. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  29. ^ "American Community Survey Age and Sex Tables". ACS S0101. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  30. ^ "American Community Survey Subject Definitions" (PDF). US Census. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^

External links[edit]