Elk Mountains (Colorado)

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Elk Mountains
Maroon Bells (11553)a.jpg
The Maroon Bells, Elk Mountains.
Highest point
Peak Castle Peak
Elevation 14,265 ft (4,348 m)
Coordinates 39°00′35″N106°51′14″W / 39.00972°N 106.85389°W / 39.00972; -106.85389 Coordinates: 39°00′35″N106°51′14″W / 39.00972°N 106.85389°W / 39.00972; -106.85389
Geography
CountryUnited States
StateColorado
County Pitkin, Gunnison and Eagle
Parent range Rocky Mountains
Borders onSawatch Range and West Elk Mountains
Sievers Mountain, near Maroon Bells Maroon Bells (11590)a.jpg
Sievers Mountain, near Maroon Bells

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.

Contents

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). [1] 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.

Maroon Lake, Elk Mountains. Maroonlake.JPG
Maroon Lake, Elk Mountains.

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.

Prominent peaks

The 21 Peaks of the Elk Mountains With At Least 500 Feet of Topographic Prominence
Rank Mountain Peak Subrange Elevation Prominence Isolation
1 Castle Peak NGS Elk Mountains14,279 feet
4352 m
2,365 feet
721 m
20.9 miles
33.7 km
2 Maroon Peak NGS Elk Mountains14,163 feet
4317 m
2,336 feet
712 m
8.1 miles
13.0 km
3 Capitol Peak Elk Mountains14,137 feet
4309 m
1,730 feet
527 m
7.4 miles
12.0 km
4 Snowmass Mountain NGS Elk Mountains14,099 feet
4297 m
1,132 feet
345 m
2.3 miles
3.8 km
5 Pyramid Peak NGS Elk Mountains14,025 feet
4275 m
1,618 feet
493 m
2.1 miles
3.4 km
6 Cathedral Peak NGS PB Elk Mountains13,950 feet
4252 m
503 feet
153 m
1.3 miles
2.1 km
7 Treasure Mountain [2] PB Elk Mountains13,535 feet
4125 m
2,821 feet
860 m
6.9 miles
11.1 km
8 Mount Owen NGS PB Ruby Range PB 13,070 feet
3984 m
1,358 feet
414 m
8.0 miles
12.8 km
9 West Elk Peak NGS PB West Elk Mountains 13,042 feet
3975 m
3,095 feet
943 m
13.8 miles
22.2 km
10 Chair Mountain NGS PB Elk Mountains12,727 feet
3879 m
2,461 feet
750 m
8.9 miles
14.3 km
11 Mount Gunnison NGS PB West Elk Mountains 12,725 feet
3879 m
3,549 feet
1082 m
11.8 miles
19.1 km
12 Gothic Mountain [2] PB Elk Mountains12,631 feet
3850 m
1,645 feet
501 m
3.2 miles
5.2 km
13 Whetstone Mountain NGS PB West Elk Mountains 12,527 feet
3818 m
2,456 feet
749 m
9.4 miles
15.1 km
14 East Beckwith Mountain NGS PB West Elk Mountains 12,441 feet
3792 m
2,492 feet
760 m
6.8 miles
11.0 km
15 Anthracite Range High Point NGS PB West Elk Mountains 12,394 feet
3778 m
2,125 feet
648 m
4.8 miles
7.7 km
16 Matchless Mountain [2] PB Elk Mountains12,389 feet
3776 m
1,763 feet
537 m
9.6 miles
15.5 km
17 Crested Butte [2] PB Elk Mountains12,168 feet
3709 m
2,582 feet
787 m
4.7 miles
7.5 km
18 Carbon Peak NGS PB West Elk Mountains 12,088 feet
3684 m
2,179 feet
664 m
3.9 miles
6.3 km
19 Mount Guero NGS PB West Elk Mountains 12,058 feet
3675 m
2,432 feet
741 m
6.4 miles
10.3 km
20 Huntsman Mountain Northwest [2] PB Elk Mountains11,858 feet
3614 m
3,072 feet
936 m
10.3 miles
16.6 km
21 Marcellina Mountain [2] PB West Elk Mountains 11,353 feet
3461 m
2,728 feet
831 m
5.1 miles
8.2 km

See also

Related Research Articles

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Pyramid Peak (Colorado)

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 (Colorado) 14,137-foot mountain in Colorado, United States

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Mount Sopris

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Snowmass Mountain

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.

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Maroon Bells

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, Colorado Ghost town in Colorado, United States

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

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.

West Elk Mountains

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

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 (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.

Chair Mountain

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 (Colorado)

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.

References

  1. North Maroon Peak does not meet the usual criterion for independence of having 300 feet or more of topographic prominence, but it is included on many lists of fourteeners.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 The elevation of this summit has been converted from the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD 29) to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88). National Geodetic Survey