The Rocky Mountains of North America are one of the longest mountain ranges in the continent, and inspire countless stories of exploration, difficult challenges, and people becoming one with nature. Also known as ‘the Rockies’, the range is more than 3,000 miles long, from the Rio New Mexico in the south, to British Columbia in Canada, and rises at its highest point to nearly 14,500 feet above sea level.
Within the North American continent the Rocky Mountains occupy a very special place, not just in their beauty, but also in the way that the range dominates the surroundings so that rivers leading away on the west side run to the Pacific, whilst rivers on the east side lead to the North Atlantic, a natural formation that is known as the Continental Divide.
Historically, the range was created more than 55 million years ago with some geologists thinking as much as 80 million years ago, and during the last great ice age, ancient people of North America lived in caves and on the sides of the mountain because food was plentiful, with rivers and lakes for water and fishing. Later, European explorers arrived in the Americas and started to map the range, leading to huge areas of land being surveyed not long after.
Even though the Rocky mountains can be seen in six of the continental states, Colorado is generally considered to the best place to explore the mountains, because it is at Mount Elbert that the range reaches its highest peak, and makes the state a popular destination for hikers, mountain climbers, campers, and there are a range of activities to do, the most popular being skiing, fishing, and hunting.
With the Rockies being so long, choosing just a single place to visit and explore is impossible, you could probably visit all seven of the major landmarks in the USA and still feel you haven’t seen all of the diversity and beauty of the region. Pikes Peak and Royal Gorge have been featured in many travel documentaries, and who could honestly say they don’t know Yellowstone National Park.
Yogi Bear, the cartoon character created by Hanna Barbera is probably the most iconic of the many Rocky Mountain emblems, leading many to believe the range is populated exclusively by bears, but this couldn’t be further from the truth, bears as magnificent as they are, share the mountains with many other species of animal, including deer, moose, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, coyotes, lynxes, wolverines, both black and grizzly bears, peregrine falcon, and the majestic bald eagle.