The Rocky Mountains in the state of Colorado form a band of high peaks than run through the state in a north-south direction. To the east lie a large expanse of grasslands, part of the Great Plains, and to the west is the Colorado Plateau, which takes up about half the state.
In the heart of the Colorado Rockies, mountain peaks exceed the timber line, or 12,000 feet, and mountain valleys occur at a height of 7,000 feet or more. In Colorado, there are 54 peaks that exceed 14,000 feet.
The basic mass of the Rockies were formed by uplifting that first occurred about 175 million years ago. A later period of mountain forming occurred 75 million years ago creating the front range of the Rockies.
In the Colorado Rockies, the alpine zone occurs above 12,000 feet, followed by the sub-alpine spruce-fir and aspen forests that grow between 10,000 and 12,000 feet. Next is the Montane zone, where open parks occur next to pine and Douglas Fir forests. Next is the Foothill zone, which occurs below 8,000 feet and features more open grassland plus a scrub forest where juniper, pinyon pine and sagebrush grow.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Northwest of Denver is a large area of massive peaks, many of which exceed 14,000 feet that are now part of the Rocky Mountain National Park. These rounded mountain tops are very typical of the Southern Rockies, which aren't as heavily glaciated as the northern regions.