Colorado is a state of the Western United States encompassing most of the southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. It is the 8th most extensive and 21st most populous U. S. state. The estimated population of Colorado was 5,695,564 on July 1, 2018, an increase of 13.25% since the 2010 United States Census. The state was named for the Colorado River, which early Spanish explorers named the Río Colorado for the ruddy silt the river carried from the mountains; the Territory of Colorado was organized on February 28, 1861, on August 1, 1876, U. S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed Proclamation 230 admitting Colorado to the Union as the 38th state. Colorado is nicknamed the "Centennial State" because it became a state one century after the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence. Colorado is bordered by Wyoming to the north, Nebraska to the northeast, Kansas to the east, Oklahoma to the southeast, New Mexico to the south, Utah to the west, touches Arizona to the southwest at the Four Corners.
Colorado is noted for its vivid landscape of mountains, high plains, canyons, plateaus and desert lands. Colorado is part of the western and southwestern United States, is one of the Mountain States. Denver is most populous city of Colorado. Residents of the state are known as Coloradans, although the antiquated term "Coloradoan" is used. Colorado is notable for its diverse geography, which includes alpine mountains, high plains, deserts with huge sand dunes, deep canyons. In 1861, the United States Congress defined the boundaries of the new Territory of Colorado by lines of latitude and longitude, stretching from 37°N to 41°N latitude, from 102°02'48"W to 109°02'48"W longitude. After 158 years of government surveys, the borders of Colorado are now defined by 697 boundary markers and 697 straight boundary lines. Colorado and Utah are the only states that have their borders defined by straight boundary lines with no natural features; the southwest corner of Colorado is the Four Corners Monument at 36°59'56"N, 109°2'43"W.
This is the only place in the United States where four states meet: Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet elevation in Lake County is the highest point in Colorado and the Rocky Mountains of North America. Colorado is the only U. S. state that lies above 1,000 meters elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in Colorado at 3,317 feet elevation; this point, which holds the distinction of being the highest low elevation point of any state, is higher than the high elevation points of 18 states and the District of Columbia. A little less than half of Colorado is flat and rolling land. East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Nebraska at elevations ranging from 3,350 to 7,500 feet; the Colorado plains are prairies but include deciduous forests and canyons. Precipitation averages 15 to 25 inches annually. Eastern Colorado is presently farmland and rangeland, along with small farming villages and towns.
Corn, hay and oats are all typical crops. Most villages and towns in this region boast both a grain elevator. Irrigation water is available from subterranean sources. Surface water sources include the South Platte, the Arkansas River, a few other streams. Subterranean water is accessed through artesian wells. Heavy use of wells for irrigation caused underground water reserves to decline. Eastern Colorado hosts considerable livestock, such as hog farms. 70% of Colorado's population resides along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor between Cheyenne and Pueblo, Colorado. This region is protected from prevailing storms that blow in from the Pacific Ocean region by the high Rockies in the middle of Colorado; the "Front Range" includes Denver, Fort Collins, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and other townships and municipalities in between. On the other side of the Rockies, the significant population centers in Western Colorado are the cities of Grand Junction and Montrose.
The Continental Divide of the Americas extends along the crest of the Rocky Mountains. The area of Colorado to the west of the Continental Divide is called the Western Slope of Colorado. West of the Continental Divide, water flows to the southwest via the Colorado River and the Green River into the Gulf of California. Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks which are high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is the North Park of Colorado; the North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Nebraska. Just to the south of North Park, but on the western side of the Continental Divide, is the Middle Park of Colorado, drained by the Colorado River; the South Park of Colorado is the region of the headwaters of the South Platte River. In southmost Colorado is the large San Luis Valley, where the headwaters of the Rio Grande are located; the valley sits between the Sangre De Cristo Mountains and San Juan Mountains, consists of large desert lands that run into the mountains.
The Rio Grande drains due south into New Mexico and Texas. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the S
The Pike Expedition was a military party sent out by President Thomas Jefferson and authorized by the United States government to explore the south and west of the recent Louisiana Purchase. Contemporaneous with the Lewis and Clark Expedition, it was led by United States Army Lieutenant Zebulon Pike, Jr., promoted to captain during the trip. It was the first official American effort to explore the western Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains in present-day Colorado. Pike contacted several Native American tribes during his travels and informed them of the new US rule over the territory; the expedition documented the United States' discovery of Pikes Peak. After splitting up his men, Pike led the larger contingent to find the headwaters of the Red River. A smaller group returned safely to the US Army fort in Missouri before winter set in. Pike's company made several errors and ended up in Spanish territory in present-day Southern Colorado, where the Americans built a fort to survive the winter.
Captured by the Spanish and taken into Mexico in February, their travels through present-day New Mexico and Texas provided Pike with important data about Spanish military strength and civilian populations. Although he and most of his men were released because the nations were not at war, some of his soldiers were held in Mexican prisons for years, despite US objections. In 1810, Pike published an account of his expeditions, so popular that it was translated into French and Dutch for publication in Europe. On June 24, 1806, General James Wilkinson, commander of the Western Department, ordered Lieutenant Zebulon Pike age 27, to lead an expedition to the western and southern areas of the Louisiana Purchase to map the terrain, contact the Native American peoples, to find the headwaters of the Red River. Pike left Fort Bellefontaine near St. Louis, Missouri on July 15 with a detachment of 20 soldiers and 50 Osage hostages, freed for return to their people; the expedition followed the Missouri River and the Osage River to the Osage Nation village at the present-day border of Kansas and Missouri.
On August 15, Pike parleyed with the natives. Striking northwest, the group made for the Pawnee territory on the Republican River in southern Nebraska. At the Pawnee village on September 29, Pike met with the Pawnee tribal council, he announced the new protectorship of the United States government over the territory. He instructed the Pawnee to remove a Spanish flag from their village and to fly the American flag instead; the expeditionary force struck out across the prairie for the Arkansas River. After reaching it on October 14, the party split in two. One group was led by son of the General, they traveled downstream along the length of the Arkansas to its mouth and back up the Mississippi, safely returning to St. Louis. Pike led the other, larger group upstream, toward the headwaters of the Arkansas. Upon traversing the Great Plains, Pike wrote, "This vast plains of the western hemisphere may become in time as celebrated as the sandy deserts of Africa; when Stephen Long led an expedition to the area in 1820, he labeled the area on his map as the "Great American Desert."
On November 15, Pike recorded the first sight of the distant mountain he called "Grand Peak". It has since been called Pikes Peak in his honor. Pike tried to climb the peak, hoping to get a view of the surrounding area to record on maps, the 14,000-foot summit. Pike's group ascended a lesser summit nearby—likely Mount Miller, named for Theodore Miller, one of the soldiers who accompanied Pike. With winter threatening, Pike pressed onward up the Arkansas, on December 7 the party reached Royal Gorge, a spectacular canyon on the Arkansas at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Pike next intended to travel to the headwaters of the Red River and head downstream to the Mississippi and relative safety in the lowlands. But, the company had gotten confused in its bearings, they made several blundering steps trying to find the river, they were not for hard winter weather. Heading north, the party found the South Fork of the Platte River and, following it upstream, came to what they thought were the headwaters of the Red.
Turning back downstream, they returned to the point. They had executed a large loop. Hungry and exhausted, the party headed south over the mountains. Several men were left behind, but Pike doggedly pressed on. By January 30, he and the ten men still with him came to the Rio Grande at a point near Alamosa in present-day southern Colorado and part of the Spanish empire. Pike mistook the Rio Grande for the Red River he had been seeking. Here, he built a fort and attempted to collect the rest of his men, who were strewn across miles of mountains behind him. On February 26, in the night Pike and his remaining men were captured at their fort by Spanish soldiers from nearby Santa Fe. Arresting the party as spies, the Spanish collected the rest of his men, scattered in the mountains, marched them all south; the Spanish took them through Santa Fe, El Paso to Los Coabos, the state capital of Chihuahua. Along the way, Pike's party was treated with respect and celebrated by the Mexican locals, Pike made careful notes of the military strength and civilian population.
Chihuahua's Governor Salcedo released Pike and most of his men, as they were mil
The Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains, Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, separated by about half a kilometer. The mountains are on the border between Pitkin County and Gunnison County, United States, about 12 miles southwest of Aspen. Both peaks are fourteeners. Maroon Peak, at 14,163 feet, is the 27th highest peak in Colorado. North Maroon Peak, at 14,019 feet, is the 50th highest; the view of the Maroon Bells to the southwest from the Maroon Creek valley is photographed. The peaks are located in the Maroon Bells–Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest. Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness was one of five areas in Colorado designated as wilderness in the original Wilderness Act of 1964; the Wilderness area surrounds the popular Maroon Bells Scenic Area, a major access point for Wilderness travel. Unlike other mountains in the Rockies that are composed of granite and limestone, the Bells are composed of metamorphic sedimentary mudstone that has hardened into rock over millions of years.
Mudstone is weak and fractures giving rise to dangerously loose rock along any route. A US Forest Service sign on the access trail warns would-be climbers of "downsloping, loose and unstable" rock that "kills without warning"; the mudstone is responsible for the Bells' distinctive maroon color. The Bells got their "deadly" reputation in 1965. Maroon Lake elevation 9,580 ft occupies a basin, sculpted by Ice-Age glaciers and dammed by a landslide and rockfall debris from the steep slopes above the valley floor; the Maroon Bells are an popular destination for the day and overnight visitors. Due to the volume of people, a bus service runs everyday from 8am-5pm from mid-June through the first weekend in October. During these times, with just a few exceptions, personal vehicle access is limited to those with handicap placards or disability license plates; the bus runs from Aspen Highlands to Maroon Lake every 20 minutes. The Maroon Bells scenic area features several hiking trails ranging from short hikes near Maroon Lake to longer hikes into the Maroon-Snowmass Wilderness.
Not only is the use of trails and other outdoor recreational space growing, the overall population of Colorado is growing as well. It is expected. By 2050,the population of Colorado is expected to increase from 5.5 million to 8.5 million,and with this population growth recreational tourism will continue to grow. In 2017, 1 in 4 of Colorado’s 86 million visitors spent most of their trip in mountain towns and resorts; this rapid growth poses challenges for Forest Services to properly maintain natural areas, if changes are not made to how the recreational space is utilized, wilderness areas like the Maroon Bells–Snowmass Wilderness trails will feel the impacts of human traffic. Because the Maroon Bells area receives such high levels of visitor use, the USFS has established a long-term plan to protect and preserve the scenic area and larger wilderness areas. Solutions include the required use of bear canisters for backcountry campers, management of day and overnight use, leashed dog education and ticketing, reduction of heavy horse use in high use areas, prohibiting overnight camping and excessive day use at particular sites.
The US Forest Service has come up with a paid permit plan to aid preservation efforts. The permit system was created to allow visitors to stay overnight while mitigating environmental damage and preserving the visited area. A permit is required year-round, limits campers to stay in the Conundrum Creek Valley area from Silver Dollar Pond to Triangle Pass. Campsite limits range depending on the campsite location; the USFS limits the number of permits to 2 permits per person per calendar year and the maximum stay from June 1- September 1 is 3 nights. The Conundrum Hot Springs alone can attract up to 300 people a night. Specific environmental impacts can occur due to the high number of visitors the Maroon Bells experiences each year. See below for more information; the Maroon Bells Recreation area is surrounded by Maroon Creek, which feeds into Crater Lake and Maroon Lake. These natural freshwater ecosystems fill from snowmelt from the surrounding peaks and precipitation, are major sources of water for the city of Aspen,CO.
According to the study Environmental Impacts of Tourism on Lakes, water pollution can occur through indirect and direct methods. Direct pollution to these natural bodies of water occurs when visitors choose to wade or throw items into these bodies of water, disrupting the fragile biodiversity. An increase in human-traffic,such as the increase in the number of visitors who drive up Maroon Creek Road, is an example of indirect pollution; this constant vehicular traffic releases pollutants such as nitrogen and sulfur dioxide into the water and air. U. S. Forest Service officials were concerned about the high nitrogen compound levels in the waters at the Maroon Bells in 2003. Officials mentioned that the increase in population and recreation in Colorado as well as an increase in the number of vehicles could be a cause of the elevated nitrogen compound levels, as these sources emit pollutants; when precipitation forms over peaks like the Maroon Bells, these pollutants fall back to the Earth’s surface and can travel into the river and lakes negatively impacting fish and plants due to high levels of nitrogen.
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency further supports the relationship bet
The Sawatch Range is a high and extensive mountain range in central Colorado which includes eight of the twenty highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains, including Mount Elbert, at 14,440 feet elevation, the highest peak in the Rockies. The range is oriented along a northwest-southeast axis, extending 80 miles from 39°37′36″N 106°32′13″W in the north to 38°5′51″N 106°3′48″W in the south; the range contains 15 peaks topping 14,000 feet known as 14ers. The range forms a portion of the Continental Divide, its eastern flanks are drained by the headwaters of the Arkansas River; the western side of the range feeds the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River, the Eagle River, the Gunnison River, tributaries of the Colorado River. The Sawatch mountains in general are high and gentle in contour. While some peaks are rugged enough to require technical climbing, most can be climbed by a simple, yet arduous hike. Notable summits include Mount Elbert, Mount Massive, La Plata Peak, Mount of the Holy Cross, the Collegiate Peaks.
State Highway 82 traverses the range at Independence Pass. It is traversed by Cottonwood Pass, which connects the town of Buena Vista with Gunnison County. Both Independence Pass and Cottonwood Pass are over 12,000 feet, making them 2 of the highest passes in Colorado and are open only from late spring to mid autumn. Hagerman Pass is another pass to the north, connecting the Arkansas Headwaters near Leadville with the upper valley of the Fryingpan River. Hagerman pass is traversable with four-wheel drive vehicles and on foot during summer and early autumn months; the range contains numerous hiking trails within the San Isabel National Forest and White River National Forest. Southern Rocky Mountains Missouri Lakes Trail Mountain ranges of Colorado Collegiate Peaks Sawatch Range @ Peakbagger Sawatch Range @ 14ers.com Sawatch Range @ summitpost.org Mt. Aetna @ summitpost.org
Mount Sopris is a twin-summit mountain in the northwestern Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 12,965-foot mountain is located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest, 6.6 miles north by northeast of the community of Redstone in Pitkin County, United States. Mount Sopris is located in western Pitkin County, south of Carbondale and southwest of the confluence of the Crystal and Roaring Fork rivers. Mount Sopris is notable for having two summits, East Sopris and West Sopris, that are one-half mile apart and have the same elevation of 12,965 feet, it is named for Richard Sopris, a former mayor of Denver and part of the first European expedition in the Roaring Fork Valley. In 2011 J. P. McDaniels petitioned to rename East Sopris "Mount John Denver" after the Colorado singer. A local poll in Aspen and Carbondale said. Mount Sopris is believed to have been formed by an igneous intrusion 10,000 feet below the earth's surface, geologically referred to as a pluton, that occurred around 30 million years ago, after the initial uplift of the modern Rocky Mountains.
Mount Sopris is not a volcano, but it is possible that an ancient volcano sat above it, with the current rock forming the magma chamber far below. Due to subsequent continued erosion, any evidence is now gone. In either case, the rock that makes up Sopris never reached the surface and crystallizing in situ, becoming exposed due to erosion. Nearby prominent peaks Mount Gunnison and Crested Butte are believed to have formed similarly. Mount Sopris dominates the skyline of Carbondale and the lower Roaring Fork Valley, serving as an unofficial symbol of the area, it is prominently visible from State Highway 82 in the vicinity of Carbondale. In terms of local relief, it is one of the largest peaks in the state of Colorado. For example, West Sopris rises 6,400 ft above the valley to the west in only 2.7 mi. In fact a vertical rise of over 6,000 feet in less than 3 miles is rare and impressive anywhere in the contiguous United States; the Mount Sopris Trail ascends to East Sopris via its east ridge. It starts near Dinkle Lake, on the northeast side of the mountain, passes between the two Thomas Lakes just before reaching timberline.
The ascent involves 12 mi of hiking. Mount Sopris Sopris Peak List of Colorado mountain ranges List of Colorado mountain summits List of Colorado fourteeners List of Colorado 4000 meter prominent summits List of the most prominent summits of Colorado List of Colorado county high points Live Mount Sopris webcam. Mount Sopris on Summitpost, an excellent article with many further links Rock Glacier on Mount Sopris at NASA Earth Observatory
San Isabel National Forest
San Isabel National Forest is located in central Colorado. The forest contains 19 of the state's 53 fourteeners, peaks over 14,000 feet high, including Mount Elbert, the highest point in Colorado, it is one of eleven national forests in the state of Colorado and contains the Sawatch Range, the Collegiate Peaks, Sangre de Cristo Range. It has a total area of 1,120,233 acres spread out over parts of eleven counties in central Colorado. In descending order of land area it is located in Chaffee, Lake, Fremont, Saguache, Las Animas, Park and Summit counties. San Isabel National Forest is co-managed by the Forest Service together with Pike National Forest, Cimarron National Grassland, Comanche National Grassland from offices in Pueblo. There are local ranger district offices located in Cañon City and Salida. There are seven designated wilderness areas lying within San Isabel National Forest that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Four of them extend into neighboring National Forests, of these, one onto land under management of the National Park Service.
Another one extends onto land of Wildlife Service. Buffalo Peaks Wilderness Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Greenhorn Mountain Wilderness Holy Cross Wilderness Mount Massive Wilderness Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Spanish Peaks Wilderness Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands
Castle Peak (Colorado)
Castle Peak is the ninth highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U. S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,279-foot fourteener is the highest summit of the Elk Mountains and the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness; the peak is located 11.6 miles northeast by north of the Town of Crested Butte, United States, on the drainage divide separating Gunnison National Forest and Gunnison County from White River National Forest and Pitkin County. The summit of Castle Peak is the highest point of both counties. Castle Peak takes its name from its castellated summit; the best climbing months are June, August, September through the Montezuma Glacier, a permanent snowfield between Castle and Conundrum Peaks. There are two standard routes for ascent; the Northwest Ridge features a moderate snow climb followed by an easy ridge scramble. It should not be attempted late in the summer when the 200 feet of loose dirt and scree meet the climber near the top of the Castle-Conundrum saddle; the Northeast Ridge features an easy snow climb, but harder scrambling and route-finding once on the ridge.
There are two other peaks in Colorado that have the same name: one in Eagle County at 39°46′23″N 106°50′04″W, with an elevation 11,280+ feet,. Conundrum Peak is a northern subsummit of Castle Peak, it has two spaced summits. It is 0.4 miles north of Castle Peak, has 200 feet of clean topographic prominence. This does not meet the usual 300-foot prominence criterion for an separate peak. List of mountain peaks of North America List of mountain peaks of the United States List of mountain peaks of Colorado List of Colorado county high points List of Colorado fourteeners "Castle Peak and Conundrum Peak". 14ers.com. Retrieved 2011-05-09. "Castle Peak". SummitPost.org. "Conundrum Peak". SummitPost.org. "Castle Peak / Conundrum Peak". Colorado Fourteeners. Archived from the original on 2008-03-29. Retrieved 2011-05-09. "Castle Peak". Peakware. Retrieved 2011-05-09