The Maroon Bells, Elk Mountains.
|Elevation||14,265 ft (4,348 m)|
|County||Pitkin, Gunnison and Eagle|
|Parent range||Rocky Mountains|
|Borders on||Sawatch Range and West Elk Mountains|
The Elk Mountains are a high, rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains of west-central Colorado in the United States. The mountains sit on the western side of the Continental Divide, largely in southern Pitkin and northern Gunnison counties, in the area southwest of Aspen, south of the Roaring Fork River valley, and east of the Crystal River. The range sits west of the Sawatch Range and northeast of the West Elk Mountains. Much of the range is located within the White River National Forest and the Gunnison National Forest, as well as the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and Raggeds Wilderness. The Elk Mountains rise nearly 9,000 ft. above the Roaring Fork Valley to the north.
The highest peaks in the range are its fourteeners, Castle Peak (14,265 ft), Maroon Peak (14,156 ft), Capitol Peak (14,130 ft), Snowmass Mountain (14,092 ft), Pyramid Peak (14,018 ft), and North Maroon Peak (14,014 ft). Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak are collectively known as the Maroon Bells, a popular destination for recreation alpinism. Mount Sopris (12,953 ft) sits at the northwest end of the range and dominates the skyline of the lower Roaring Fork Valley and the town of Carbondale, Colorado, serving as an unofficial symbol of the area.
Additional notable peaks in the range include:
The range provides a formidable barrier to travel and is traversed only by backroad passes and trails, including Schofield Pass, Pearl Pass, and Taylor Pass. State Highway 133 traverses McClure Pass, at the western end of the range. The range has been the site of mining activity since the days of the Colorado Silver Boom, which saw the founding of mining towns such as Aspen and Ashcroft. In the late 19th century, the western and southern flank of the range became the site of intense coal mining activity which continues to the present day. Treasure Mountain, overlooking the town of Marble, is home to the famous Yule Marble Quarry. Quarried marble was used to create The Tomb of the Unknowns, the Lincoln Memorial, Denver Post Office and other buildings. The range receives a great deal of snowfall due to its position to the west of the continental divide and the westerly origin of many winter storms. This is exploited by the ski areas in the vicinity of Aspen, which are located on the flanks of smaller mountains alongside the Roaring Fork Valley.
|1||Castle Peak NGS||Elk Mountains|| feet14,279|
|2||Maroon Peak NGS||Elk Mountains|| feet14,163|
|3||Capitol Peak||Elk Mountains|| feet14,137|
|4||Snowmass Mountain NGS||Elk Mountains|| feet14,099|
|5||Pyramid Peak NGS||Elk Mountains|| feet14,025|
|6||Cathedral Peak NGS PB||Elk Mountains|| feet13,950|
|7||Treasure Mountain PB||Elk Mountains|| feet13,535|
|8||Mount Owen NGS PB||Ruby Range PB|| feet13,070|
|9||West Elk Peak NGS PB||West Elk Mountains|| feet13,042|
|10||Chair Mountain NGS PB||Elk Mountains|| feet12,727|
|11||Mount Gunnison NGS PB||West Elk Mountains|| feet12,725|
|12||Gothic Mountain PB||Elk Mountains|| feet12,631|
|13||Whetstone Mountain NGS PB||West Elk Mountains|| feet12,527|
|14||East Beckwith Mountain NGS PB||West Elk Mountains|| feet12,441|
|15||Anthracite Range High Point NGS PB||West Elk Mountains|| feet12,394|
|16||Matchless Mountain PB||Elk Mountains|| feet12,389|
|17||Crested Butte PB||Elk Mountains|| feet12,168|
|18||Carbon Peak NGS PB||West Elk Mountains|| feet12,088|
|19||Mount Guero NGS PB||West Elk Mountains|| feet12,058|
|20||Huntsman Mountain Northwest PB||Elk Mountains|| feet11,858|
|21||Marcellina Mountain PB||West Elk Mountains|| feet11,353|
The Sawatch Range is a high and extensive mountain range in central Colorado which includes eight of the twenty highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains, including Mount Elbert, at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation, the highest peak in the Rockies.
McClure Pass is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of western Colorado in the United States.
Pyramid Peak is a fourteen thousand foot mountain in the U.S. state of Colorado. It is the 47th highest mountain peak in Colorado, and 78th highest peak in the United States. It is located in the Elk Mountains in southeastern Pitkin County, approximately 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Aspen. The summit somewhat resembles a ragged square pyramid and is visible from the Roaring Fork River valley north of Aspen along the canyon of Maroon Creek.
Capitol Peak is a high and prominent mountain summit in the Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. It is the 52nd highest mountain in North America. The 14,137-foot (4,309 m) fourteener is located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest, 8.7 miles (14.0 km) east by south of the community of Redstone in Pitkin County, Colorado, United States.
Mount Sopris is a twin-summit mountain in the northwestern Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 12,965-foot (3,952 m) mountain is located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest, 6.6 miles (10.7 km) north by northeast of the community of Redstone in Pitkin County, Colorado, United States.
Snowmass Mountain is a fourteen thousand foot tall mountain in the U.S. state of Colorado, and is the thirty-fourth highest mountain peak in the state. Located in the Elk Mountains, within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of the White River National Forest, it lies along the border between the Pitkin and Gunnison counties, west of Aspen and southwest of the town of Snowmass Village.
The Roaring Fork Valley is a geographical region in western Colorado in the United States. The Roaring Fork Valley is one of the most affluent regions in Colorado and the U.S. as well as one of the most populous and economically vital areas of the Colorado Western Slope. The Valley is defined by the valley of the Roaring Fork River and its tributaries, including the Crystal and Fryingpan River. It includes the communities of Aspen, Snowmass Village, Basalt, Carbondale, and Glenwood Springs. Mount Sopris and the Roaring Fork River serve as symbols of the Roaring Fork Valley.
The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness is a 168,000-acre (680 km2) area located in central Colorado between Leadville and Buena Vista to the east and Aspen to the west and Crested Butte to the southwest. Most of the area is in the San Isabel and Gunnison National Forests, with a smaller area in the White River National Forest southeast of Aspen. Most of the area is in northwest Chaffee County with smaller portions in Gunnison, Pitkin, and Lake counties.
White River National Forest is a National Forest in northwest Colorado. It is named after the White River that passes through its northern section. It is the most visited National Forest in the United States, primarily from users of the twelve ski areas within its boundaries.
The Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains, Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, separated by about half a kilometer. The mountains are on the border between Pitkin County and Gunnison County, Colorado, United States, about 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Aspen. Both peaks are fourteeners. Maroon Peak, at 14,163 feet (4317 m), is the 27th highest peak in Colorado. North Maroon Peak, at 14,019 feet (4273 m), is the 50th highest. The view of the Maroon Bells to the southwest from the Maroon Creek valley is very heavily photographed. The peaks are located in the Maroon Bells–Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest. Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness was one of five areas in Colorado designated as wilderness in the original Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness area surrounds the extremely popular Maroon Bells Scenic Area, which is a major access point for Wilderness travel.
Crystal is a ghost town on the upper Crystal River in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States. It is located in the Elk Mountains along a four-wheel-drive road 6 miles (9.7 km) east of Marble and 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Crested Butte. Crystal was a mining camp established in 1881 and after several decades of robust existence, was all but abandoned by 1917. Many buildings still stand in Crystal, but its few residents live there only in the summer.
Mount Lamborn is a mountain summit in the West Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 11,402-foot (3,475 m) peak is located in Gunnison National Forest, 5.9 miles (9.5 km) southeast by south of the Town of Paonia in Delta County, Colorado, United States. The summit of Mount Lamborn is the highest point in Delta County. Together with nearby Landsend Peak to the southwest, it lies at the western edge of the West Elks, rising dramatically nearly 6,000 ft above the valley of the North Fork Gunnison River to the west.
The West Elk Mountains are a high mountain range in the west-central part of the U.S. state of Colorado. They lie primarily within the Gunnison National Forest, and part of the range is protected as the West Elk Wilderness. The range is primarily located in Gunnison County, with small parts in eastern Delta and Montrose counties.
Snowmass Peak in the U.S. state of Colorado dominates the view from Snowmass Lake. It is often mistaken for Snowmass Mountain, the thirty-fourth highest mountain peak in the state, as well as for Hagerman Peak. Snowmass Peak is not really a peak but the lower end of Hagerman Peak's east ridge. Natural forced perspective causes the optical illusion that Snowmass Peak is higher than Hagerman Peak though it is actually 221 ft shorter than Hagerman's summit. This illusion combined with its striking rise behind Snowmass Lake justifies it being a named point on USGS topographical maps. It is located in the Elk Mountains, within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of the White River National Forest. It lies along the border between Pitkin and Gunnison counties, west of Aspen and southwest of the town of Snowmass Village.
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.
Chair Mountain is a prominent mountain summit in the Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 12,727-foot (3,879 m) peak is located in the Raggeds Wilderness of Gunnison National Forest, 5.0 miles (8.1 km) west by south of the Town of Marble in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States.
Cathedral Peak is a high mountain summit in the Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 13,950-foot (4,252 m) thirteener is located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest, 11.1 miles (17.9 km) south by west of the City of Aspen in Piktin County, Colorado, United States.
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