North Park is a high, sparsely populated basin (approximately 8800 ft in elevation) in the Rocky Mountains in north central Colorado in the United States. It encompasses a wide valley in Jackson County rimmed by mountain ranges at the headwaters of the North Platte River and several smaller tributaries, including the Michigan River, Illinois River, and Canadian River. The valley receives its name from being the northernmost of the three large mountain valleys (or parks) in Colorado on the western side of the Front Range. The others are Middle Park and South Park respectively.
The basin opens out northward into Wyoming, in the direction of flow of the North Platte. On the east side, it is rimmed by the Medicine Bow Mountains, the Never Summer Mountains and Rabbit Ears Range to the south, and the Park Range to the west. The continental divide rims the Park along the south and west. The primary economic activities in the valley are cattle ranching and timber harvesting, although the latter has declined substantially in recent decades. The largest community in the valley is Walden, the Jackson County seat, that sits near the middle of the valley near the confluence of the Michigan and Illinois rivers. Smaller communities in the valley include the unincorporated hamlets of Gould and Rand.
The valley is crossed east-west by State Highway 14, which enters from the east over Cameron Pass, providing a link to the Poudre Canyon and Fort Collins. Highway 14 enters from the west over Muddy Pass which provides access to Steamboat Springs, and to Middle Park in the valley of the Colorado River. It is crossed north-south by State Highway 125, which enters from the north (from Wyoming) along the course of the North Platte. It enters from the south over Willow Creek Pass, providing access to the upper end of Middle Park near Granby. The valley along the Illinois River is the location of the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge.
The valley floor is underlain by Mesozoic sedimentary rocks that form a structural basin. The stratigraphy is similar to that in adjacent basins such as the Green River Basin to the west and the Denver Basin to the east. Information provided on Fish and Wildlife Service plaques at an overlook southeast of Walden indicates that the area was formerly a shallow sea, and that fossilized shark teeth can be found in the area.
Petroleum has long been produced from anticlinal traps of the Muddy Sandstone (Cretaceous) at North McCallum and South McCallum oil fields. In 2007, North Park produced 96 thousand barrels of oil and 1.3 billion cubic feet (BCF) of natural gas from 153 wells.In 2008 EOG Resources announced great success in drilling and completing horizontal oil wells in the Cretaceous Niobrara Formation.
In 1914 Rev Hiram Vrooman proposed the establishment of a utopian community in North Park. It was a co-operative project in which it was envisioned that all the various industries and businesses would be united in a single management, with the "coworker citizens" receiving equitable recompense for their work. They owned the rights on 7,000 acres, 3,000 acres in Sedgwick County and a further 800 acres at Ute Pass. They also owned a pickling factory in Denver.
The San Luis Valley is a region in south-central Colorado with a small portion overlapping into New Mexico. The Rio Grande with headwaters in the San Juan Mountains about seven miles east of Silverton, Colorado flows through the San Luis Valley and then south into New Mexico. It contains 6 counties and portions of 3 others. The San Luis Valley was ceded to the United States by Mexico following the Mexican–American War. Hispanic settlers began moving north and settling in the valley after the United States made a treaty with the Utes and established a fort. Prior to the Mexican war the Spanish and Mexican governments had reserved the valley to the Utes, their allies. During the 19th century Anglo settlers settled in the valley and engaged in mining, ranching, and irrigated agriculture. Today the valley has a diverse Anglo and Hispanic population.
The South Platte River is one of the two principal tributaries of the Platte River. Flowing through the U.S. states of Colorado and Nebraska, it is itself a major river of the American Midwest and the American Southwest/Mountain West. Its drainage basin includes much of the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, much of the populated region known as the Colorado Front Range and Eastern Plains, and a portion of southeastern Wyoming in the vicinity of the city of Cheyenne. It joins the North Platte River in western Nebraska to form the Platte, which then flows across Nebraska to the Missouri. The river serves as the principal source of water for eastern Colorado. In its valley along the foothills in Colorado, it has permitted agriculture in an area of the Colorado Piedmont and Great Plains that is otherwise arid.
Jackson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,394, and it was the fourth least populated in the state. The county seat and only municipality in the county is Walden.
South Park is a grassland flat within the basin formed by the Rocky Mountains' Mosquito and Park Mountain Ranges within central Colorado. This high valley ranges in elevation from approximately 9,000 to 10,000 ft. It encompasses approximately 1,000 square miles around the headwaters of the South Platte River in Park County approximately 60 mi (100 km) southwest of Denver. It is the largest and southernmost of three similarly named high altitude basins in the Front Range of Colorado, the others being North Park and Middle Park. The largest town in the basin is Fairplay, with a population of 681.
The Platte River is a major river in the State of Nebraska. It is about 310 mi (500 km) long; measured to its farthest source via its tributary, the North Platte River, it flows for over 1,050 miles (1,690 km). The Platte River is a tributary of the Missouri River, which itself is a tributary of the Mississippi River which flows to the Gulf of Mexico. The Platte over most of its length is a broad, shallow, meandering stream with a sandy bottom and many islands—a braided stream.
The North Platte River is a major tributary of the Platte River and is approximately 716 miles (1,152 km) long, counting its many curves. In a straight line, it travels about 550 miles (890 km), along its course through the U.S. states of Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska.
Middle Park is a high basin in the Rocky Mountains of north-central Colorado in the United States. It is located in Grand County, on the southwest slope of Rocky Mountain National Park, approximately 50 miles (80 km) west of Boulder.
Illinois River is a tributary of the Michigan River, approximately 71 miles (114 km) long, in Jackson County in north central Colorado. It drains part of the North Park basin south of Walden.
State Highway 14 in the U.S. state of Colorado is an east–west state highway approximately 237 miles (381 km) long. One of the longest state highways in Colorado, it traverses four counties along the northern edge of the state, spanning a geography from the continental divide in the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains, and including North Park, the Poudre Canyon, and the Pawnee National Grassland. It provides the most direct route from Fort Collins westward via Cameron Pass to Walden and Steamboat Springs, and eastward across the plains to Sterling.
Willow Creek Pass, elevation 9,659 ft (2,944 m), is a mountain pass that crosses the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains of north central Colorado.
State Highway 125 (SH 125) is a state highway in the U.S. state of Colorado. The highway runs north–south through Jackson and Grand counties in north central Colorado. It furnishes the principal north–south link through North Park and a connection to Middle Park over Willow Creek Pass. It is two-lane along its entire route. SH 125's southern terminus is at U.S. Route 40 west of Granby, and the northern terminus is at Wyoming Highway 230 at the Wyoming border.
Muddy Pass is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of northern Colorado in the United States.
The North Fork South Platte River is a tributary of the South Platte River, approximately 50 miles (80 km) long, in central Colorado in the United States. The river is located near the headwaters of the South Platte in the Rocky Mountains southwest of Denver, draining a rugged area of the Front Range just south of the basin of Clear Creek.
The Park Range, elevation approximately 12,000 feet (3,700 m), is a mountain range in the Rocky Mountains of northwestern Colorado in the United States. The range forms a relatively isolated part of the Continental Divide, extending north-to-south for approximately 40 miles (64 km) along the boundary between Jackson (east) and Routt counties. It separates North Park in the upper basin of the North Platte River on the east from the Elk River basin in the watershed of the Yampa River the west. It rises steeply out of the Yampa River basin, forming a climatic barrier that receives much snowfall in winter. The northern end of the range lies in Wyoming and is known as the Sierra Madre Range.
The Mosquito Range is a high mountain range in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado in the United States. The peaks of the range form a ridge running north–south for roughly 40 mi (64 km) from southern Summit County on the north end, then along the boundary between Lake and Park Counties. The ranges forms a high barrier separating the headwaters of the Arkansas River near Leadville from South Park and the headwaters of the South Platte River near Fairplay. The highest peak in the range is Mount Lincoln at an elevation of 14,286 ft. Other fourteeners in the range are Quandary Peak (14,272 ft), Mount Bross (14,172 ft), Mount Democrat (14,148 ft), and Mount Sherman (14,036 ft).
The Middle Fork South Platte River is a tributary of the South Platte River, approximately 50 miles (80 km) long, located in central Colorado in the United States. The river provides part of the drainage of South Park, the intermontane grassland basin located between the Front Range and the Mosquito Range in the Rocky Mountains southwest of Denver.
The South Fork South Platte River is a tributary of the South Platte River, approximately 45 miles (72 km) long, in central Colorado in the United States. It is located near the headwaters of the South Platte in Park County, Colorado and drains part of the intermontane grassland basin of South Park. It forms the South Platte by its confluence with the Middle Fork South Platte River in southern South Park.
Medicine Bow–Routt National Forest is the official title to a U.S. Forest Service managed area extending over 2,222,313 acres (8,993.38 km2) in the states of Wyoming and Colorado, United States. What were once three separate areas, Medicine Bow National Forest, Routt National Forest, and Thunder Basin National Grassland were administratively combined in 1995 due to similarity of the resources, proximity to each other and for administrative purposes.
The geography of the U.S. State of Colorado is diverse, encompassing both rugged mountainous terrain, vast plains, desert lands, desert canyons, and mesas. In 1861, the United States Congress defined the boundaries of the new Territory of Colorado exclusively by lines of latitude and longitude, stretching from 37°N to 41°N latitude, and from 102°02'48"W to 109°02'48"W longitude. Starting in 1868, official surveys demarcated the boundaries, deviating from the parallels and meridians in several places. Later surveys attempted to correct some of these mistakes but in 1925 the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the earlier demarcation was the official boundary. The borders of Colorado are now officially defined by 697 boundary markers connected by straight boundary lines. Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only states that have their borders defined solely by straight boundary lines with no natural features. The southwest corner of Colorado is the Four Corners Monument at 36°59'56"N, 109°2'43"W. This is the only place in the United States where four states meet: Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.
Split Rock, also known as Twin Peaks, is a mountain in the Granite Mountains of central Wyoming. The peak has an elevation of 7,305 feet (2,227 m), and is located about 10 miles (16 km) north of the Muddy Gap junction between Casper and Rawlins. The mountain is distinctive for a deep V-shaped cleft dividing its summit. The mountain was a prominent landmark on the Oregon Trail and other early settlement routes in the region, which crossed a low rise at the eastern end of the range between Casper and the North Platte River valley and the Sweetwater River.