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The name Rocky Mountains can refer specifically to the group of mountains mainly located in Colorado or to all the ranges of mountains that stretch from southern Yukon Territory through British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico almost to Mexico. Though it flattens out a bit there towards the Big Bend area of Texas.

Though the Rockies in Colorado are quite impressive the highest mountain in the lower forty-eight is Mt. Whitney in the Sierra Nevada Range. The highest in Rocky Mountains is Colorado's Mt. Elbert at 4399 meters (14,433 feet).

Colorado is more alpine in nature than other US states like California, with 75% of the land above 3000 meters (10,000 feet) in the contiguous United States. In the past most travel routes detoured to the north or south of the Colorado Rocky Mountains since there are no easy passes through them.

The Rocky Mountains start with the Sacramento and Guadalupe Mountains in New Mexico. To the west of Albuquerque they meet up with the Manzano Range which nearly touch the Sangre de Cristo Range that is half in Colorado.

Also in Southern Colorado are the San Juan Mountains and Uncompahgre Plateau trailing off to the west. Generally in the middle of the state are the Sawatch Range and most of the Front Range. To the north are the Gore Range, the Neversummer Range, and Park Range. The Front Range stretches into Wyoming and both the Medicine Bow Mountains and Sierra Madre are in both states.

Wyoming has the Laramie Mts. the Wind River Range, the Teton Range, and most of the Absarok Range (Yellowstone Plateau) and Bighorn Mountains.

In both Idaho and Montana are the Beaverhead Mountains and the Bitterroot Range.

Into Canada with the Selkirk Mountains and Flathead Range. The Columbia Mountains, Monashee Mountains, Omineca Mountains and most of the Cassiar Mountains are in British Columbia.

The last hurrah of the Rockies is the Big Salmon Range near Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

The Rocky Mountains are a major tourist vacation spot in the western portion of the United States. Some of the most popular activities include hiking, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, mountain climbing, and even gold prospecting. The mountain range is studded with small towns brimming with history, including a wide selection of ghost towns for exploring. Indeed, there are several books available about the backgrounds and the locations of some of the best ghost towns hidden off the beaten path.

In the Colorado section of the Rockies are a set of mountains called the Fourteeners. All of them are over 14,000 feet. Some require a lot of stamina to tackle, while others have roads that go almost to the top. These make excellent motorcycle day trips.

The range includes a lot of federal lands and national parks. The most famous one is probably Yellowstone, filled with geysers and wildlife. Other major national parks include Banff, Bryce Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, and Glacier. All of them are inexpensive to travel through and some have hotels and campground spots for rent. Other spectacular areas include Flaming Gorge and the Estes Park Tramway. If you prefer your vacations a bit more creepy, there's always the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. That's where Stephen King wrote "The Shining".

For those folks who like to travel using the old ways, there are horseback and mule outings and several narrow-gauge railroads still in operation.

Are festivals more your cup of tea? Try the Breckenridge Snow Sculpture Competition, Greeley Stampede, Boulder Creek, Cheyenne Frontier Days, or the Autumn Gold Festival. Lots of crafts, microbrews, and music for your entertainment! If you like movies, give the Telluride Film Festival a go.

Iron Noder 2017

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