The City and County of Denver is the largest city and the capital of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is also the second most populous county in Colorado after El Paso County. Denver is a consolidated city and county located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Denver downtown district is located immediately east of the confluence of Cherry Creek with the South Platte River, approximately 12 miles (19 km) east of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Denver is nicknamed the Mile-High City because its official elevation is exactly one mile or 5,280 feet (1,609.3 m) above sea level, making it one of the highest major cities in the United States. The 105th meridian west of Greenwich passes through Union Station and is the temporal reference for the Mountain Time Zone.
With a 2012 estimated population of 634,265, Denver ranks as the 23rd most populous U.S. city. The 10-county Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated 2011 population of 2,599,504 and ranked as the 21st most populous U.S. metropolitan statistical area. The 12-county Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area had an estimated 2011 population of 3,157,520, which ranks as the 16th most populous U.S. metropolitan area. Denver is the most populous city of the Front Range Urban Corridor, an oblong urban region stretching across three states with population of 5,467,633 in 2010. Denver is the most populous city within a 500-mile (800 km) radius and the 3rd most populous city in the Mountain West and the Southwestern United States after Phoenix, Arizona and El Paso, Texas.