Cochetopa Dome

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Cochetopa Dome
Cochetopa Dome, San Juan Mountains, Saguache County, Colorado, USA.jpg
Cochetopa Dome viewed from the north.
Highest point
Elevation 11,138 ft (3,395 m) [1] [2]
Prominence 1,752 ft (534 m) [1]
Isolation 5.74 mi (9.24 km) [1]
Coordinates 38°13′36″N106°42′53″W / 38.2267560°N 106.7146200°W / 38.2267560; -106.7146200 Coordinates: 38°13′36″N106°42′53″W / 38.2267560°N 106.7146200°W / 38.2267560; -106.7146200 [3]
USA Colorado relief location map.svg
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Cochetopa Dome
Location Saguache County, Colorado, U.S. [3]
Parent range La Garita Mountains [1]
Topo map USGS 7.5' topographic map
Cochetopa Park [3]

Cochetopa Dome [5] is a mountain in the San Juan Mountains, in Saguache County, Colorado. The 11,138 ft (3,395 m) mountain is located in the Gunnison National Forest. With a prominance of 1,752 feet (534 m), Cochetopa Dome is the 110th most prominent summit in the state of Colorado. [1] [2] [3] [6]



Labeled view of the Cochetopa caldera, including Cochetopa Dome. Cochetopa Dome and caldera, San Juan Mountains, USGS, 2012.jpg
Labeled view of the Cochetopa caldera, including Cochetopa Dome.
Oblique view Cochetopa Dome and caldera, looking south, in 2020 Cochetopa Dome Colorado 2020.jpg
Oblique view Cochetopa Dome and caldera, looking south, in 2020

Cochetopa Dome is a rhyolitic lava dome, extruded into the Cochetopa caldera approximately 27 million years ago. The Chochetopa caldera is one of over a dozen such collapsed volcanoes within the San Juan volcanic field. The caldera is approximately 20 mi (30 km) wide and vertical subsidence was up to 2,600 ft (800 m). [7]

The Cochetopa caldera, with Cochetopa Dome within it, is one of the most recognizable of the calderas in the region. Helping preserve the structure of this particular caldera is that its development was more recent than many of the larger calderas elsewhere in the San Juan Mountains, thus there was less regional volcanism to disrupt the caldera's structure. Also, the caldera was only modestly filled with post-subsidence sediments and much of this was weaker, tuffaceaus deposits, which have been more readily eroded from the caldera floor. And lastly, the caldera is drained through Cochetopa Canyon where hard, Precambrian igneous rock has limited down cutting and erosion of the caldera. The present vegetation helps make the caldera's features and extent even more apparent. The floor of the caldera is dominated by grass and shrublands while the caldera rim and the interior lava dome (Cochetopa Dome) are forested. This contrast in vegetation helps a visitor visualize the caldera [7] [8]


Private property to the north and west limits access to the mountain. The summit can be reached on public land from the southeast. From the Cochetopa Park Spur F Road (Forest Road 804.1F), at an open saddle at an elevation of (9,750 feet (2,972 m)), the summit is a 2-mile (3.2 km), class-2 hike through meadow and forest. The elevation gain is (1,400 feet (427 m)). [6] [9]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Grand Mesa

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Powderhorn Wilderness Protected area in southwestern Colorado, US

The Powderhorn Wilderness is a 62,050-acre (251.1 km2) wilderness area in Hinsdale and Gunnison Counties, Colorado, USA, located 5 miles (8.0 km) northeast of Lake City. Most of the northern part of the area, 48,115 acres (194.71 km2), about 77.5%, is located on Bureau of Land Management land and its southern portion, 13,935 acres (56.39 km2), about 22.5%, is located within the Gunnison National Forest. Elevations in the wilderness range from 8,500 feet (2,600 m) at the West Fork Powderhorn Creek to 12,661 feet (3,859 m) at the summit of Calf Creek Plateau.

Pigeon Peak

Pigeon Peak, elevation 13,978 ft (4,260 m), is a summit in the Needle Mountains, a subrange of the San Juan Mountains in the southwestern part of the US State of Colorado. It rises dramatically on the east side of the Animas River, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west of the fourteener Mount Eolus. It is located in the Weminuche Wilderness, part of the San Juan National Forest.

La Garita Mountains

The La Garita Mountains are a high mountain range in the San Juan Mountains, a sub-range of the Rocky Mountains. The mountains are located in Saguache and Mineral counties in southwestern Colorado and are almost entirely managed as public land within the Gunnison National Forest and the Rio Grande National Forest.

Cochetopa Hills

The Cochetopa Hills are a ridge of uplands on the Continental Divide in Saguache County, southern Colorado, United States.

La Garita Wilderness Protected area in southwestern Colorado, US

The La Garita Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area located in the La Garita Mountains of southern Colorado. The 129,626-acre (524.58 km2) wilderness established in 1964 in Gunnison and Rio Grande National Forests includes segments of the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. At 14,014 feet (4,271 m), San Luis Peak is the highest point in the wilderness area.

San Juan volcanic field

The San Juan volcanic field is part of the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado. It consists mainly of volcanic rocks that form the largest remnant of a major composite volcanic field that covered most of the southern Rocky Mountains in the Middle Tertiary geologic time. There are approximately fifteen calderas known in the San Juan Volcanic Fields; however, it is possible that there are two or even three more in the region.

Tomichi Creek

Tomichi Creek is a 71.8-mile-long (115.6 km) tributary of the Gunnison River in Gunnison County, Colorado. Tomichi Creek originates north and west of Monarch Pass and flows to the southwest along the base of Monarch Mountain. Congress Creek drains into Tomichi west of Old Monarch Pass where it flows south toward Sargents. Agate Creek flows into Tomichi just north of Sargents where Marshall Creek flows from Marshall Pass. Just below Sargents, Long Branch Creek, flowing out of Baldy Lake from the south, enters Tomichi Creek which takes a westward course where Needle Creek Reservoir drains into Tomichi east of Doyleville. Hot Springs Reservoir drains down Wanita Canyon flowing into Tomichi Creek just west of Doyleville. The Tomichi Valley is a semi-wide valley allowing Tomichi Creek to meander and split into several waterways creating an excellent livestock range and being largely private ranch lands. At Parlin, Quartz Creek flows from Pitkin and Ohio into Tomichi Creek. Tomichi continues its westward journey, slightly northwest, where the Cochetopa Creek drains into Tomichi at State Highway 114 from the south at the intersection of U.S. Highway 50 and continues west to Gunnison where it enters the Gunnison River. A map can be viewed at the BLM Colorado website here.

Needle Rock Natural Area

Needle Rock Natural Area is located at the western edge of the West Elk Mountains of Colorado. The surrounding terrain is characterized by laccolithic mountains flanked by precipitous cliffs, extensive talus aprons, forested mesas, canyons, and spacious, well-watered intermontane basins. Needle Rock is an intrusive plug of monzonite porphyry cropping out 3.5 miles (5.6 km) east-northeast of the Town of Crawford in Delta County, Colorado, United States. At an elevation of 7,797 feet (2,377 m), the towering rock spire stands 800 feet (240 m) tall above the floor of the Smith Fork of the Gunnison River valley. The massive rock feature originated in the Oligocene geological epoch when magma intruded between existing sedimentary rocks as the crown of a buried laccolith or possibly the underlying conduit of a laccolith. Subsequent erosion has exposed the prominent rock formation seen in the natural area today.

Treasure Mountain (Colorado)

Treasure Mountain, elevation 13,535 ft (4,125 m), is a summit in the Elk Mountains of western Colorado. The mountain is in the Raggeds Wilderness southeast of Marble. The massif has been the site of marble mining and a legend of lost French gold.

Tomichi Dome

Tomichi Dome rises north of U.S. Highway 50 west of Hot Springs Creek and south of Waunita Hot Springs Reservoir in the southeast quarter of Gunnison County, Colorado. It is situated within the Gunnison National Forest.

West Elk Peak

West Elk Peak, elevation 13,042 ft (3,975 m), is the highest summit in the West Elk Mountains of Gunnison County, Colorado. The mountain is in the West Elk Wilderness, northwest of Gunnison. The terrain consists mostly of volcanic breccia, known in this area as West Elk Breccia, dated at 35 to 30 million years old.

East Beckwith Mountain

East Beckwith Mountain is a prominent mountain summit in the West Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 12,441-foot (3,792 m) peak is located in the West Elk Wilderness of Gunnison National Forest, 13.4 miles (21.5 km) west by south of the Town of Crested Butte in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States.

Whetstone Mountain

Whetstone Mountain, elevation 12,527 ft (3,818 m), is a summit in the Gunnison National Forest of western Colorado. The mountain is located 3 mi (4.8 km) south of Crested Butte in Gunnison County. Whetstone Mountain is one of several prominent laccoliths found in the West Elk Mountains.

Half Peak

Half Peak is the highest summit of the east central San Juan Mountains in the Rocky Mountains of North America.

Cochetopa Creek

Cochetopa Creek is a stream in Saguache and Gunnison counties in Colorado, United States. It rises on San Luis Peak in the La Garita Mountains. It merges with Tomichi Creek near the town of Parlin, Colorado, along Highway 50.

Cannibal Plateau

Cannibal Plateau is a summit in Hinsdale County, Colorado in the United States. The broad 12,533-foot (3,820 m) mountain is located in the San Juan Mountains and within the Powderhorn Wilderness, a protected area managed by the Bureau of Land Management Gunnison Field Office and the Gunnison National Forest.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Cochetopa Dome, Colorado". Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  2. 1 2 The elevation of Cochetopa Dome includes an adjustment of +5.92 ft (+1.80 m) from NGVD 29 to NAVD 88.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Cochetopa Dome". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  4. Benson, Maxine (1994). 1001 Colorado Place Names. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. ISBN   0-7006-0632-7.
  5. Pronounced /kɪˈtpə/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ) [4] or sometimes locally /kɪˈtp/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ).
  6. 1 2 "Cochetopa Dome, CO". Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  7. 1 2 Lipman, Peter W (2012). Geologic map of the Cochetopa Park and North Pass Calderas, northeastern San Juan Mountains, Colorado: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3123. Archived from the original on 2 January 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  8. Prather, Thomas (1999). Geology of the Gunnison Country (2nd ed.). Gunnison, Colorado: B&B Printers. LCCN   82-177244.
  9. Forest road information is available at Colorado Trail Explorer. Off-trail distances can also be computed. Accessed 8 April 2021