The snow-capped Rocky Mountains aka the Rockies, is one of America’s major mountain ranges, stretching all the way from western Canada to the southwestern United States. Its scenic views make it one of the world’s most popular tourist spots.
Here are some interesting facts about the Rocky Mountains:
The Rocky Mountains stretch about 3,000 miles from the British Columbia in western Canada, down to Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico in the western United States.
The Rocky Mountains is divided into five groups:
1. The Canadian Rockies
2. The Northern Rockies
3. The Middle Rockies
4. The Southern Rockies
5. The Colorado Plateau
The Highest Peak
The Rocky Mountains’ highest peak is Mount Elbert (named after Samuel Hitt Elbert), in the state of Colorado, USA. It rises 14,400 feet (4,401 meters) above sea level. It is followed by Mount Robson in British Columbia (at 12,972 feet or 3,954 meters), the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies.
The Rockies was formed about 55 to 80 million years ago during the Precambrian and Cretaceous era. The mountain building, or what is called the “Laramide orogeny,” took place in western North America which began during the late Cretaceous period.
Before the late 70s, there were very few moose in the Rockies. Between 1978 and 1979, 24 moose were moved from Wyoming, and by the early 1990s, the moose population had grown to 700. Today, the moose range includes Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, where the Rockies lie.
The Rockies is, no doubt one of the most scenic places in the world. There are several national and provincial parks in the United States and Canada, as well as numerous ski resorts. Among the national parks in the US are the Rocky Mountain National Park, the Yellowstone National Park, the Glacier National Park, and the Grand Teton National Park. In Canada, the national parks include the Banff National Park and the Kootenay National Park.
Animals Living in the Rockies
There are hundreds of animal species that make the Rockies their home such as moose, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, grizzly bear, black bear, wolf, coyote, wolverine, fox, mountain lion, lynx, marmot, bobcat, badger, porcupine, beaver as well as over 200 types of birds.
Streams and Lakes
There are about 450 miles of streams and 156 lakes in the Rockies; most notably, the Arkansas River that flows through the Royal Gorge. If you’re ever travelling with a group, a Colorado whitewater rafting trip is definitely the way to go!
First Person to Climb the Rockies
Scottish explorer Sir Alexander McKenzie (or MacKenzie) the first person to scale the Rocky Mountains in 1793. The MacKenzie River, named after him, is the largest river system in Canada.
However, the MacKenzie Mountains are not named after the Scottish explorer. Rather, it is named after the Canadian prime minister whose name is, also, Alexander Mackenzie. The MacKenzie Mountains are considered as a part of the Rockies, although the designation has yet to be made official.
The Rocky Mountains National Park
The Rocky Mountains National Park is located in Colorado, USA. The land was acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 when the US bought the Louisiana territory from France.
Highest Peak of the Rocky Mountains
Longs Peak is the National Park’s highest peak at 14,259 feet (4,346 meters) above sea level.
The Founder of Rocky Mountains National Park
Enos Mills was only 14 years old when he moved to Colorado on his own during the 1880s. He built a cabin right near Long Peaks which he completed at the age of 16. His love for the mountains and Colorado eventually led him to establish a national park, which is known as Rocky Mountains National Park. Mills used his speeches and writings to educate the public about the preservation of the area.