Preserving Beautiful Colorado Scenery
Colorado has a diversity of mountains, plateaus, canyons, and plains. Generally, the eastern half of the state has flat, high plains and rolling prairies gradually rising westward to the foothills of the front range. West of the high peaks of the front range are three natural parks that lead from the north to the south and are named North Park, Middle Park and South Park. The western spine of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado contains the Continental Divide, which runs from north to south through west-central Colorado and bisects the state's watersheds. The western half of the state consists of alpine terrain interspersed with wide valleys, rugged canyons, high plataus, and deep basins.
Colorado's altitude is one of its distinctive geographical features making it, on average, the nation's highest state. The average elevation is 6,800 feet. The lowest elevation in Colorado is 3,350 feet at the Arkansas River near the town of Holly. Colorado's highest peak is Mt. Elbert at 14,431 feet high, or 2.72 miles above sea level. Mt. Elbert is the 14th highest peak in the United States, including mountain peaks in the state of Alaska.
Colorado's mountainous regions also are the headwaters for six major rivers. West of the Continental Divide, the Colorado River, for which the state was named, flows southwest from high in the Rocky Mountains in north central Colorado toward the Gulf of California. East of the Continental Divide, the North Platte, the South Platte, the Arkansas, the Republican and the Rio Grande rivers all originate in Colorado's mountains, or plains, and flow east toward the Missouri River, southeast to the Mississippi River and then south to the Gulf of Mexico.
“There are 54 mountain peaks in Colorado over 14,000 feet high and more than a thousand peaks over 10,000 feet high.”