Explore The 8 Best Colorado Mountain Ranges

8 mins read
colorado mountain ranges
Image by David Mark from Pixabay Copyright 2017



The Centennial State is particularly known for its striking terrains, forests, plains, blue waters, and the majestic Colorado mountain ranges.

Colorado is home to the Southern Rockies and is the only state in the United States of America that stands completely above thousand meters in height.

Heights like the Front Range, San Juan, and Sangre de Cristo are among the most popular Colorado mountain ranges. And there is an endless list of facts you need to know and things to do when you visit the vibrant lands of Colorado mountain ranges.

1. Discover the Lands of Colorful Colorado

The state of Colorado is named “Colorful Colorado,” likely due to its gorgeous sights of mountains, rivers, and grasslands.

Colorado can be found in the western area of the United States of America.

It is categorized as one of the Mountain states, even though only about half of its territory lies in the Rocky Mountains. But there is much more to the state than the Rocky Mountains.

The Colorado mountain ranges are one of the first things that come to mind on hearing the name of the state.

With the Southern Rockies covering the western part of the region, there are countless Colorado mountain ranges and peaks to visit and explore.

Colorado Mountains
Image by David from Pixabay Copyright 2019

2. Explore The 8 Most Majestic Colorado Mountain Ranges

If you plan to take a trip to the colorful world of Colorado mountain ranges, check out the best peaks the state has to offer.

The Colorado mountain ranges include over fifty peaks over 14,000 feet.

While Mt Elbert in the Sawatch Range stands tallest at 14,433 feet, the lowest of them is around 3,300 and rises on the eastern perimeter of Yuma County.

So enter the world of Colorado mountain ranges and explore the beautiful lands and use this list to learn fascinating facts and information about them.

2.1) The Front Range

The Front Range is the lengthiest of Colorado mountain ranges. It spreads roughly 180 miles between Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Pueblo in the north and west. From east to west, the Front Range is approximately 97 miles long.

If you are traveling through the western part of the Great Plains, this will be the first of the Colorado mountain ranges you will come across.

The common rocks that form the Front Range are Gneiss, Schist, and Granite.

The highest point of this magnificent mountain range is Grays Peak (with an impressive height of 14,278 feet). It is also the loftiest mountain on the Continental Divide. Pikes Peak is the highest point of the summit in the south Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.

Pikes Peak
Image by Beverly Lussier from Pixabay Copyright 2016

If you ever visit the Front Range, make sure to try the very best things that this place has to offer.

i) Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Come here for an entertaining show or two. The enormous double-stone walls of the large amphitheater generate acoustic heaven for bands.

ii) Denver Art Museum

Satisfy your creative soul with a tour of the Denver Art Music, and be prepared to be amazed and impressed with the masterpieces.

iii) Garden of the Gods Park

In this park at Colorado Springs, decide on a simple trek between the world of rock outcroppings. The cafe at this park also gives a steady cycle of tasty seasonal treats.

2.2) The Sawatch Range

The Sawatch Range extends southeast for around a hundred miles from the Eagle River to Saguache. The range comprises a part of the Continental Divide, and its mountains are tall, enormous, and somewhat of a gentle structure. One of the greatest Colorado mountain ranges, this one includes fifteen peaks crowning at 14,000 feet. Famously these are also recognized as 14ers.

The highest point among them is Mt Elbert rising at an impressive height and elevation of 14,433 feet. Mt Elbert is believed to be the highest point in the Rocky Mountains as well as the whole of the Colorado mountain ranges.

The mountains are formed with the rocks like granite, sandstone, quartzite, gabbro, and more.

Eagle River
Image by Cathy McIntosh from Pixabay Copyright 2016

From clear skies to charming towns, the Sawatch range is full of things to do. There’s dining, hiking, biking, and fishing.

You can have a relaxing day and go fishing for rainbow trout at Clear Creek Reservoir. Or, if you are looking for an adventure, dare to attempt a steep hike to a glassy alpine lake on the scenic Willis Gulch Trail. Biking is also a popular option.

Also, don’t forget to try the place’s best delicious treats like cinnamon rolls, baked cheese skillet, or crunch French Toast.

2.3) Elk Range

The Elk Range of Colorado mountain ranges stands on the western part of the Continental Divide. Most of the range can be found within the White River and Gunnison National Forest. It can also be seen in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Rising nearly nine thousand feet above the Roaring Fork Valley, the Elk Range has its highest point at over 14,300 feet. It is known as Castle Peak.

You won’t run out of things to do at Elk range. Visit the observation deck at Smuggler Mountain Road, adventure in the Lost Forest labyrinth, try the single track of Lower Cement Creek Trail, frolic in a field of wildflowers on Tom Blake Trail, or you can drive the West Elk Loop for a scenic journey.

The popular food of this region includes things like lamb shank drenched in juicy broth, pretzels, and biscuit board.

2.4) San Juan Range

The San Juan Mountains range, in the southern part of the Rockies, goes southeast for 240 kilometers along the path of the Rio Grande and continues north of New Mexico with the Chama River. It is the biggest and largest mountain range in the state.

This is considered one of the most beautiful among all the Colorado mountain ranges.

Uncompahgre Peak is the highest peak of the San Juan Range. The highest point of the range is very popular among visitors.

San Juan
Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay Copyright 2018

The content composition of these mountains is primarily volcanic, with rocks like shale, limestone, ash-flow tuff, lateritic quartz lava, and andesitic lava.

Things to do and places to visit here include the Alpine Loop scenic byway, Bachelor Syracuse Mine, Box Canyon Park, rides at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, and a haunting tour at the Alfred Packer Massacre Site.

Satisfy your cravings at the San Juan range with their famous organic rotisserie-chicken sandwich and truffle fries, and end your day on a sweet note with some homemade pies at Pagosa Springs.

2.5) Mosquito & Ten Mile Range

The Mosquito/Ten Mile range is solitary. However, the southern part of The Divide is known as the Mosquito Range, while the southern area is famous as the Ten Mile Range.

These Colorado mountain ranges were initially a part of the greater Sawatch Range to the west. Later, the two Colorado mountain ranges were divided at the time of the creation of the rift valley of the Arkansas River roughly thirty-five million years back. The anticlines were made during the Laramide orogeny somewhat sixty-five million years before.

In these Colorado mountain ranges primarily formed of granite, schist, and quartzite, Mt. Lincoln stands as the highest peak.

The Mosquito and Ten Mile Colorado Mountain ranges offer some of the best trails to explore.

i) Spruce Creek Trail

With snowmelt creeks, mining ruins, and glacial waters, this trail of Breckenridge’s creek presents a hard journey of difficult trek and climb that goes on for six long miles. However, the spectacular views are worth it.

ii) Sapphire Point Overlook Trail

On the contrary, Sapphire Point Overlook Trail is a relatively simple journey to a stunning sapphire-colored lake. The trail is named after the lake’s clear blue waters and can be compared to the precious gemstone. It is a perfect hike for beginners or inexperienced trekkers looking for something fun and easy.

Colorado Lake
Image by SubMeet from Pixabay Copyright 2022

Among other charms of this range, you will find tours of historical architecture, mines, parks, museums, and finally a delightful gondola ride with a spectacular view of the town sunset.

End your day on a perfect note with mouth-watering food like barbecued ribs and lamb pasta, delicate apple and tahini caramel croissant, and much more. Both the sweet taste and experience of this journey will linger with you for a long time.

2.6) Sangre de Cristo Range

The Sangre de Cristo Colorado Mountains ranges have main fault lines going along sides of the range at east and west. The fault lines even cut through the ranges at many places. Like all fault-block mountain ranges, the Sangre de Cristo has a significant deficit of foothills. At first, these peaks of Colorado mountain ranges were pushed up as one huge rock mass. Even today, the Sangre de Cristo mountain range is being uplifted due to the active faults in the region.

The content of the Sangre de Cristo Range is formed of gneiss, sandstone, dolomite, and limestone, with the Blanca Peak having an elevation higher than any other peaks, hills, or mountains of that region. That makes it the highest point in the area. This is also a popular destination with beautiful rock formations created long ago.

Visitors passing these hills, peaks, elevations, and mountains should not miss the highest point of this formation.

2.7) Gore Range

The Gore range goes about 100 kilometers, shaping the Park Range’s southern extent. The stunning Colorado River runs through the range at the famous Gore Canyon. The cliffs of the mountains are especially striking on bright days from the hilltop of Trail Ridge Road in the Rocky Mountains.

One of the Colorado mountain ranges with a volcanic origin, the Gore Range, is composed of sedimentary rock. Its tallest peak and highest point are Mt Powell.

Rocky Mountains
Image by David Mark from Pixabay Copyright 2016

2.8) Park Range

The Park Range comprises a somewhat secluded part of the Continental Divide.

It surges steeply out of the Yampa River gulf, forging a climatic boundary that gets vast snowfall in the months of winter. The northern part of the Park Range is known as the Sierra Madre Range.

The famous ski resort Steamboat Springs is a talking point among tourists visiting the Colorado mountain ranges.

The biggest portion of the range is found within the Routt National Forest. The Park Range also gifts visitors with a picture-perfect skyline and stunning views.

Colorado Fordt
Image by James Lee from Pixabay Copyright 2020

Among all the Colorado mountain ranges, this one is the snowiest getting more than five hundred inches of snowfall each year.

Comparatively, of a lower height among other peaks of Colorado mountain ranges, the highest point of the Park Range is Mt Zirkel.

With sedimentary and volcanic rocks, this place is the site with some of the most ancient geology in the state that goes back up to 1.8 billion years.

Important roads of the Park Range cut through Vail and Rabbit Ears passes which lead to the famous winter-sports areas. Also, the headstreams of the North and the South Platte rivers surge in the mountain range.

Common activities in the Park Range comprise hiking, hunting, fishing, and horseback riding. Rock climbing is another popular and prominent activity, along with ice climbing, at Fish Creek Falls.

By visiting these majestic mountains and expanses of the colorful state, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful nature, amazing trails, and wonderful wildlife of the Colorado Mountain ranges.

Click Here: 13 Magnificent Denver Mountains

3. End on a High Note

The Colorado mountain ranges form an intrinsic part of the stunning landscapes and geography of the state.

Exploring the nature of Colorful Colorado means experiencing all the striking features of the place – majestic mountains, crystal clear rivers, deep forests, beautiful plains, and vast desert lands. And this list will guide and instruct you on the best way to approach and explore the Colorado mountain ranges.

Colorado mountain valley
Image by Joshua Woroniecki from Pixabay Copyright 2019

So get ready to step into the world of mountains and have the adventure of your life. Pack your bags, check all your hiking gear, and tie up your beat shoes. Your time exploring the most spectacular Colorado mountain ranges will be something that you will never forget.

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