There are several major trailheads for getting into these mountains and most of them are easily reached from the two most important towns in the area – Buena Vista and Leadville. For one thing, it sits at the western doorstep of the magnificent Rocky Mountain National Park. For those wanting a more relaxed hike in the Snowy Range, the Gap Lakes Trail in the same general area is very scenic and with little elevation gain, even though it reaches a high point of over 11,000 feet. The Southern Rocky Mountain province is a mountainous terrain that includes some of the highest peaks in New Mexico (e.g., Wheeler Peak at 13,161 ft.). From this lovely town it is easy to get to the best-known local fourteener – Mount Sneffels. Most Southern Rocky Mountains hotels offer free cancellation. Sporting a rich history of the development of the "wild west", Durango suffers no shortage of activities for the visitor, in addition to its easy access into the high mountains of the region, which can be found just a short drive north of the city. You can only access your trip information and Expedia Rewards points from the Expedia site you booked on. Two adjacent basins provide excellent camping sites at either Kroenke Lake or Blue Lake. Southern Rocky Mountains: An Ecoregional Assessment and Conservation Blueprint September 2001 v “Aldo Leopold wrote that our most difficult task is learning to use the land without spoiling it… we have not yet learned to use the landscapes of the Southern Rocky Mountains … It is considered part of the Front Range Urban Corridor; thus it is considered a gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Therefore, it goes without saying that there are countless opportunities for recreation afforded by this large mountain range. Belong anywhere with Airbnb. The central part of the range contains four of the six fourteeners. The valley is renowned for its impressive display of wildflowers in late July and early August. It is considered strenuous, but highly rewarding for those who are in good condition. Bring your fishing gear if you are visiting this spectacular area. Mountains with prominence of 1 ⁠500 ⁠m / 4 ⁠921 ⁠ft or more. It is near Boulder where the Continental Divide meanders to its easternmost location in the United States, less than 20 miles west of the center of town. Separated from the rest of the Rockies by the dry, open basins of central Wyoming, the Southern Rockies … One need not have Mount Sneffels on his or her itinerary – the three Blue Lakes make what I think is one of the most beautiful hikes in all of Colorado, in what is known as the Mount Sneffels Wilderness. Estes Park - This wonderful resort town is best known as the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Sure, the Maroon Bells themselves are targets for serious climbers, but there is so much more to be found after reaching Crater Lake right at the foot of the massive Bells. The only way to get here is by the train, which makes a special stop near the trailhead. The town’s motto is “where the trout leap in Main Street”. Cheyenne – Cheyenne is the capital and largest city in Wyoming, the least populous state in the United States. These are the Laramie Mountains, the Medicine Bow Mountains, and the Sierra Madre. It is known for wildflowers in summer and autumn colors in the fall. There are also many small towns which may be the only source for accommodations or restaurants in some remote areas. This hike is best left to experts. Yet there are several formidable thirteeners and other high peaks, though even these peaks go largely unclimbed. There are several major sub-ranges and six fourteeners that can be found in the Front Range. A number of years after immigrating to the United States, I eventually moved to Colorado and have lived ever since in a western suburb of Denver, right at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. This range occupies parts of three western states with the greatest majority of it spread … Skiing, snowmobiling, Nordic skiing, hiking, climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, river rafting (nearby) and fishing can all be found here and nearby. While the New Mexico segment is quite popular for hiking, it is the much higher Colorado segment, with its nine fourteeners, that is of greatest interest to hikers, and especially climbers. Those who know it are well aware of the charms this place offers in terms of recreation. The Rocky Mountains stretch 3,000 mi in straight-line distance from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the Southwestern United States. Located in southeastern Wyoming and north central Colorado, the Medicine Bow Mountains extend from the Never Summer Mountains in Colorado to the Snowy Range in Wyoming. In fact, Colorado is the only state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,280 feet). There are no fourteeners in this state. Despite the elevation gain, the degree of incline on this switchbacked trail is moderate, thus making it possible for mountain biking. Expedia, Inc. is not responsible for content on external Web sites. That is if the weather cooperates. It simply has a beautiful and stunning setting. There are also other smaller cities that can provide basic services and even some scheduled airline service, though most likely only by means of transfers from a major hub. Let’s start with the crown of the Rockies – Colorado. It sits at the foot of the mighty Sawatch Range which contains more fourteeners than any other in the Southern Rockies. © 2021 Expedia, Inc, an Expedia Group Company. Trekking high into the Sierras, Forrest is determined to … This email has already been used to sign up with CONNECTED_THIRD_PARTY_NAMES. Since it reaches elevations of almost 12,000 feet, you will definitely know you are in a high alpine environment. The city has a large selection of accommodations for any budget. This range occupies parts of three western states with the greatest majority of it spread throughout the western half of Colorado. flickr / CC BY /daveynin. Portions of the Canadian Rockies can be found in Alberta as well as British Columbia. This is the place for shopping for Native American handicrafts. The impressive Sawatch Range could be called the “backbone” of Colorado since it contains four of the five highest summits in the Rocky Mountains and is home to 15 fourteeners, including the highest of them all – Mount Elbert. Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad, historic train ride in the mountains You read it above – Mount Elbert. There are hundreds of good hikes to be experienced here. The King Lake-High Lonesome-Devils Thumb loop is a particularly impressive hike of about 16 miles. The state has numerous snow-capped mountains that are more than 12,500 feet above sea level. The city’s population is 59,466 as of 2010. Usually undertaken from the Kite Lake Trailhead near the town of Alma, this strenuous hike will let you bag three “official” fourteeners (Lincoln, Democrat and Bross) as well as the “unofficial” Cameron. Though the Twin Peaks Trail, not far from Douglas in the northern segment of the Laramie Mountains, is not exactly high alpine terrain, the three-mile (one way) long trail offers a bit of challenge since it involves an elevation gain of almost 1,800 feet. With 85% of the state’s population within a short drive of most parts of the range, it follows that the Front Range is indeed heavily used for recreation. There are many trailheads one can use to enter this pristine place. They are mostly concentrated in the various coastal ranges. The formidable wall presented by Fletcher Mountain and its approach ridges at the head of the valley is truly impressive. Grays Peak (the highest summit on the Continental Divide in North America) and Torreys Peak (the only other summit on the Divide) are relatively easy non-technical climbs and are therefore very popular. The Rocky Mountains were initially formed from 80 million to 55 million years ago during the Laramide orogeny, in which a number of plates began to slide underneath the North American plate. Among the noteworthy peaks present along Canada’s stretch of this mighty mountain range include Mount Columbia (which reache… Southern Rocky Mountains. Just look for the ‘free cancellation’ message during your hotel … AAA’s Southern Rocky Mountain Road Trips focuses on these states. Although there are a number of higher mountains in North America (Alaska, Canada, Mexico, and California), they are not part of the greater Rocky Mountains chain. This range is far less crowded than the other more popular mountain ranges in Colorado. These mountains, which dominate the views in the southern part of the San Luis Valley, are to be taken seriously. It is simply one hiker’s/writer’s opinion based on personal experience or at least partial knowledge about the mountains in this range. The “Crestones” is a collective term for an impressive cluster of five fourteeners and their lesser neighbors that are sure to get a climber’s adrenaline flowing, and I mean climber not hiker. Denver - Having a metropolitan area population of over 2 million, it goes without saying that Denver, the Mile High City, offers anything and everything that a visitor needs or wants. This town of 1,690 inhabitants is situated in the “middle of nowhere” in the south central part of the state. In only a few clicks you can save cash as well as time by bundling your bookings. I have climbed four of them, including Quandary Peak, which has, as of late 2019, overtaken from Mount Bierstadt the distinction as the most climbed fourteener in Colorado. Net elevation difference from start to the lake is 3,000 feet. The Rocky Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico have a complex topographical history. In the winter, Grand Lake is known as the “Snowmobiling Capital of Colorado”. Southern Rocky Mountains The Southern Rocky Mountains are massive mountains that rise over 4,267 m (14,000 ft). Only the northern end of the Laramie Mountains is within a reasonable driving distance of this town, which does have enough tourist infrastructure, mostly clustered along Interstate Highway 25. Or it could also be because this range is home to what could be the most photographed mountain scene in all of North America. While I summited Elbert, at the end of the day, the weather turned foul – and I have yet to climb Massive, which probably won’t happen, given my age. Alamosa - In the middle of the immense San Luis Valley, which forms the western edge of the Sangre de Cristo Range in Colorado, sits the city of Alamosa. Buena Vista – Buena Vista is about as centrally located in the Southern Rocky Mountains as any town can be. Mayflower Gulch is a lovely high-country valley that affords an easy hike into a historic mining area at the western side of the rugged Tenmile Range segment of the Mosquito Range. The approaches are long such that bivouacking is often part of the expeditions. Elevations range from high mountain … Get 10% Off Summer | Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad: Scenic Train Rides through the Rockies. The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness is for you if you want to climb some fine fourteeners without having to be concerned about technical routes, although they certainly exist. These mountains are steep and craggy, more like their Colorado neighbors and are seldom visited. All rights reserved. The Halfmoon Creek Road will take you to two trailheads from which you can climb the two highest summits in the Rocky Mountains of North America. The lake is nine miles in from the trailhead near Snowmass Village. The average elevation in Idaho is 5000 feet above sea level. But there is hope – it comes in the form of the internet and major (very major) online retailers that are more than happy to provide the mountain enthusiasts with volumes about hiking in the Rockies. About 25 miles northeast of the capital city of Santa Fe are the Truchas Mountains. Wetterhorn (l) and Uncompahgre Peak (r), San Juan Mountains. Characteristic structures of the Southern Rockies include anticlinal … The last thing I want to do is mislead my hiking friends. Pick up the keys to your rental car then … There are several major trails that start right within the town limits of the major resort of Vail. But aside from being a high-end ski resort, Vail is positioned in a beautiful valley that offers some fantastic hiking opportunities. It offers everything a visitor could ask for and at prices that are, well, not for everyone, especially during the ski season. King Lake, Continental Divide, Indian Peaks Wilderness. What more can I say? There is no shortage of major towns and resorts for staging a short expedition or a lengthy vacation in the Southern Rockies. Rocky Mountain National Park’s 415 square miles encompass and protect spectacular mountain environments. Some of the most popular hiking areas can be found near the charming and historic towns of Ouray, Lake City and Silverton. In the New Mexico segment of the “Sangres” can be found two major hiking areas, one of which makes an ascent of the highest mountain in the state, Wheeler Peak, possible. One will take you to Mount Elbert while the other will let you reach Mount Massive. While the trailhead is at 11,000 feet elevation, the hike does not involve serious elevation gain, although it is of course possible to wander about the entire basin. Now let us look at some specifics about the major sub-ranges of the Southern Rocky Mountains. The other trailhead can be found about 25 miles away along a gravel road that is usually fine for regular cars in the summer. It played a prominent role in the mass migration of land seeker during the mid-19th century and the general development of the American West. Many will stay a bit longer, lingering around the lake some and then leave. From 35+ acre mountain properties, large mountain properties, and cabins, to land … The Capitol Creek Trailhead is where most ambitious climbers will start their quest to climb the imposing Capitol Peak, an undertaking not to be taken lightly. The Medicine Bow Mountains contain abundant stromatoliteremains. Naturally, the fourteeners are the main attractions in this relatively small range. It has a rich history from the mining days featuring some interesting characters of the 1800’s. Visitors can get in a car at the airport and be in the high country in as little as 90 minutes. Spending a few nights camped out near the lake will put you into the middle of a spectacular setting that is hard to beat, and you can even climb a fourteener – the magnificent Snowmass Mountain. And are they ever a pleasure to hike, as they all lead to beautiful alpine lakes. Not to be missed, although this area is very popular. Here are a few examples. This range is home to six fourteeners, one of which, however, does not qualify as “official” based on prominence criteria. All three ranges consist of a core of uplifted Precambrian metamorphic rock flanked by younger sedimentary strata. Find unique places to stay with local hosts in 191 countries. Dining options include some truly great restaurants, many with local western ambiance and flavors. Individual peaks in the Southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico, i.e., 1140 mountains with elevations >3048 m, ~200 with elevations >3960 m, and 54 with elevations >4270 m, are the highest mountains along the crest of the Rocky Mountain … Choose from more than 10,000 properties, ideal house rentals for families, groups … The group, in addition to Blanca Peak, includes Little Bear Peak (sounds tame – but it isn’t), Ellingwood Point and Mount Lindsey. Pacific … In the process, I have gained over 2 million feet of elevation (that’s about 390 miles). Snowmass Lake Trail is long but generally not difficult. This stunning range in southwestern Colorado is expansive, contains a number of smaller sub-ranges, has 13 fourteeners, and is regarded as the most scenic by many locals and visitors alike. Let’s go hiking. Two trailheads can be found near here. But if you want to play in the beautiful Snowy Range, this small town may be just right for you. The Sierra Blanca Massif is another group of four fourteeners about 30 miles south of the Crestones, reigned over by the super-prominent Blanca Peak – the fourth highest peak in the Rocky Mountain of North America. With a world-class international airport, world-wide access to Denver is easy. Since we have already discussed many hikes in the Rocky Mountain State, we’ll concentrate on a few respectable hikes north of the state line. Try Out … But many will come here to hike, and the Maroon-Snowmass Trail which starts here will take them to places they might not have ever seen the likes of. Although some portions of the southern mountains … The basin is one of the most popular and highly used backpacking destinations as it affords access to three fourteeners – Mount Eolus, Sunlight Peak and Windom Peak. Also just 18 miles from town is Grizzly Gulch/Silver Creek Trailhead, which gives access to some wonderful hikes to three fourteeners – Sunshine, Redcloud and Handies Peaks. Since I started keeping records, I have hiked well over 10,000 miles, much of that after I retired in 2008 from a career in Civil Engineering. The highest peak in the state of Idaho is Borah Peak reaching 12,668 feet high. Jan 7, 2021 - Rent from people in Rocky Mountains from $20/night. The Snowy Range is the jewel of southern Wyoming, so why not take a look here. “The best way to explore Canada’s Rocky Mountains” Condé Nast Traveler “Unforgettable and luxurious” USA Today. At an elevation of 7,199 feet, it is almost 2,000 feet higher than its Colorado counterpart - Denver, the "Mile High City". This is due in part to the fact that there are no fourteeners in this range. Though seemingly close to the city, these mountains are very remote. If, in certain cases, I don’t have a favorite place (meaning that I haven’t been or hiked there) I will just have to wing it. But it is not only hiking that can be undertaken here; this place offers wonderful water sports, being on the shore of the largest natural lake in Colorado. If you drive in this area, you don’t want to be caught in a snowstorm and you want to be sure that you have adequate petrol in your car. Mountains higher than 14 ⁠000 ⁠ft / 4 ⁠267 ⁠m with at least 300 ⁠ft / 91 ⁠m of topographic prominence. Grand Lake – This tiny resort town of less than 500 inhabitants, my not be on everybody’s itinerary due to its remote location, but it sure is a lovely place to stay and enjoy at least a small segment of the Southern Rocky Mountains. This is the Blue Lakes Trailhead. 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