What Is the Elevation of the Timberline in Colorado?

What Is the Elevation of the Timberline in Colorado?
Timberline is defined as an imaginary boundary above which trees will not grow. The exact elevation is determined by climate, slope aspect and the species of tree, and varies from 11,000 to 12,000 feet in Colorado. The trees near the absolute boundary are very short, and are usually twisted and scarred by the harsh winds.

The High Alpine Zone

Timberline is a tough place to live, but it is very picturesque, and can be a great place to hike on a warm day. There are many unique plants, and the hiker experiences a very stimulating landscape.


Bristlecone Pines

Bristlecone Pine

Bristlecone Pines thrive on exposed rocky slopes at elevations of 9,200 to 11,800 feet. They can be found in the southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and are usually very small, as well as twisted and picturesque. A Bristlecone specimen has been dated at an age of 4,900 years, which is currently the oldest living species of plant.

Limber Pine

Limber Pine

The Limber Pine is also very picturesque, and is prevalent near the timberline throughout the Colorado Rockies.

Other Species

Blue Spruce

Lodepole Pine, Subalpine Fir, Quaking Aspen and both Engelman and Blue Spruce can also survive at timberline.

Climate Change

A warming climate will gradually move timberline upward.


Article Written By John Mattson

John Mattson is an architectural engineer, adventure writer, and photographer who has traveled to many remote corners of the earth. He has recently self-published a colorfully photographed book of 26 diverse and extreme adventure stories titled "Dancing on the Edge of an Endangered Planet."

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