Ute Peak from the north.
|Elevation||9,984 ft (3,043 m)|
|Prominence||4,039 ft (1,231 m)|
|Isolation||34.27 mi (55.15 km)|
|Listing|| Colorado prominent summits |
Colorado range high points
|Location||Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation, Montezuma County, Colorado, United States|
|Parent range||Ute Mountains|
|Topo map|| USGS 7.5' topographic map |
Battle Rock, Colorado
Ute Mountain, also known as Ute Peak or Sleeping Ute Mountain (Ute: Wisuv Káruv, Navajo: Dził Naajiní), is a peak within the Ute Mountains, a small mountain range in the southwestern corner of Colorado. It is on the northern edge of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation. The Reservation forms the southwestern corner of the state and of Montezuma County.
Nomenclature for this peak and its range varies. The highest peak is sometimes known as Sleeping Ute Mountain; the entire range is also identified as one large mountain, called Sleeping Ute Mountain,on some maps; and the range is sometimes called the Sleeping Ute Mountains. All of these forms of the mountain's name and of the range's name can be found on various USGS maps, databases and reports.
The Ute Mountains, with a collective profile commonly known as "The Sleeping Ute", are a dense cluster of peaks approximately 5 by 12 miles (8 by 19 km) in extent and stand in isolation from other mountains. Despite being much lower than Colorado's highest peaks, Ute Mountain is the eighth most topographically prominent peak in the state, due to this isolation. It is also notable for its large local relief in all directions, especially its rise of roughly 4,250 ft (1,295 m) over the Montezuma Valley to the southeast.
The Sleeping Ute is said to resemble a Ute Chief lying on his back with arms folded across his chest. The mountains were valued as a sacred place by the Weeminuche Ute band. It is still a sacred place to their descendants, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and still plays a role in their ceremonies as indicated by the "Sundance Ground" on some topographical maps nestled between The Knees and Horse Peak (ribcage).
Originally, the northern part of the mountains were outside the reservation boundaries as reduced following a series of treaties in the late 19th century, but a trade of land now in Mesa Verde National Park, approximately 15 miles east, for federal land on the mountain, allowed the reservation boundary to be extended north to McElmo Creek and encompass the entire mountain range. In particular, this means that recreational access to the range by outsiders is severely restricted. Few roads or trails are found in the mountains, although radio towers and water tanks have been built, and a road along Cottonwood Wash from Towaoc nearly reaches the summit of Ute Peak.
A Ute Indian legenddescribes the Sleeping Ute as the sleeping form of a "Great Warrior God who was also known as a chief" who fell asleep while recovering from wounds received in a great battle with "the Evil Ones". Various other forms of the legend can be found.
Readily recognized from many spots up to 50 miles (80 km) east or west (e.g. the Four Corners Monument and parts of Mesa Verde National Park), the profile is best seen from 15 to 25 miles (24 to 40 km) somewhat north of east of the mountains as in the accompanying photograph.
Easily identified features of the profile include the following (north to south):
The illusion of a reclining figure is further reinforced by its symmetry. The figure is nearly as complete seen from the west as from the east.located east of cortez
Though on the southwestern fringe of the original Rocky Mountain home of the Ute Tribe, the Sleeping Ute is the most prominent feature of the high-desert Ute Mountain Ute Reservation. The only town on the Reservation, Towaoc, lies at the feet of the figure and is home to most of the Reservation's population. As the Reservation capital, Towaoc is the Ute Mountain Ute tribal headquarters.
Cortez, the largest town in the area with a population of over 8000, lies outside the reservation 11.5 miles (18.5 km) east-northeast of Ute Peak. The elevation of Cortez is 6,200 feet (1,890 m) and can be considered the base elevation of the Ute Mountains.
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park adjoins Mesa Verde National Park to the east of the mountains. The western boundary of Mesa Verde National Park is 12 miles (19 km) east of Ute Peak. The Mesa and the Sleeping Ute share equal prominence as regional landmarks.
McElmo Creek and Canyon Of The Ancients National Monument form the northern terminus of the Ute Mountains and the Reservation.
The Ute Mountains were formed by intrusion of igneous rocks at about 72 million years (Late Cretaceous), concurrent doming, and subsequent erosion. The most common type of igneous rock is porphyritic hornblende diorite, but rock types present range from gabbro to granite. Forms of intrusions include laccoliths, stocks, dikes, and sills. One dike extends north to McElmo Creek and can be examined at a roadside there. The igneous rocks intrude a sedimentary section of Jurassic and Cretaceous rocks and the youngest rocks intruded are in the Point Lookout Sandstone.
The intrusions are similar in form and rock type to those in other Colorado Plateau mountain ranges, such as the Henry Mountains and the La Sal Range and the Abajo Mountains, all nearby in Utah, but the intrusions at these three Utah occurrences are about 20 to 30 million years in age. The Ute Mountains and the similar Carrizo Mountains, nearby in Arizona, lie within a southwest extension of the Colorado Mineral Belt, but no ore deposits are known to be associated with these igneous rocks.
Sedimentary units are listed below, from youngest to oldest:
In some areas the soft lower unit of the Entrada weathers into characteristic rounded forms, commonly called hoodoos. The underlying Navajo weathers into rough, rounded surfaces, commonly pitted, and usually forms cliffs.
Montezuma County is the southwesternmost of the 64 counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 25,535. The county seat is Cortez.
The Town of Mancos is a Statutory Town located in Montezuma County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 1,336 at the 2010 United States Census.
Towaoc is an unincorporated town, a post office, a census-designated place (CDP), and the capital of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe located on the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation in Montezuma County, Colorado, United States. The Towaoc post office has the ZIP Code 81334. At the United States Census 2010, the population of the Towaoc CDP was 1,087, while the population of the 81334 ZIP Code Tabulation Area was 1,493 including adjacent areas.
The Four Corners is a region of the Southwestern United States consisting of the southwestern corner of Colorado, southeastern corner of Utah, northeastern corner of Arizona, and northwestern corner of New Mexico. The Four Corners area is named after the quadripoint at the intersection of approximately 37° north latitude with 109° 03' west longitude, where the boundaries of the four states meet, and are marked by the Four Corners Monument. It is the only location in the United States where four states meet. Most of the Four Corners region belongs to semi-autonomous Native American nations, the largest of which is the Navajo Nation, followed by Hopi, Ute, and Zuni tribal reserves and nations. The Four Corners region is part of a larger region known as the Colorado Plateau and is mostly rural, rugged, and arid. In addition to the monument, commonly visited areas within Four Corners include Monument Valley, Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Canyon, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The most populous city in the Four Corners region is Farmington, New Mexico, followed by Durango, Colorado.
The Western Slope refers to a region of the state of Colorado incorporating everything in the state west of the Continental Divide. Bodies of water west of the Divide flow toward the Pacific Ocean. Water that falls and flows east of the Divide heads east. The Western Slope encompasses about 33% of the state, but has just 10% of the state's residents. The eastern part of the state, including the San Luis Valley and the Front Range is the more populous portion of the state.
The Colorado Plateau, also known as the Colorado Plateau Province, is a physiographic and desert region of the Intermontane Plateaus, roughly centered on the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States. This province covers an area of 336,700 km2 (130,000 mi2) within western Colorado, northwestern New Mexico, southern and eastern Utah, northern Arizona, and a tiny fraction in the extreme southeast of Nevada. About 90% of the area is drained by the Colorado River and its main tributaries: the Green, San Juan, and Little Colorado. Most of the remainder of the plateau is drained by the Rio Grande and its tributaries.
Yucca House National Monument is a United States National Monument located in Montezuma County, Colorado between the towns of Towaoc and Cortez, Colorado. Yucca House is a large, unexcavated Ancestral Puebloan archaeological site.
Ute are the indigenous people of the Ute tribe and culture among the Indigenous peoples of the Great Basin. They have lived in the regions of present-day Utah and Colorado in the Southwestern United States for many centuries. The state of Utah is named after the Ute tribe.
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is one of three federally recognized tribes of the Ute Nation, and are mostly descendants of the historic Weeminuche Band who moved to the Southern Ute reservation in 1897. Their reservation is headquartered at Towaoc, Colorado on the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation in southwestern Colorado, northwestern New Mexico and small sections of Utah.
Hawkins Preserve is a 122-acre (0.49 km2) property within the city limits of Cortez, Colorado. It is protected by a conservation easement held by the Montezuma Land Conservancy.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is a national monument protecting an archaeologically-significant landscape located in the southwestern region of the U.S. state of Colorado. The monument's 176,056 acres (71,247 ha) are managed by the Bureau of Land Management, as directed in the Presidential proclamation which created the site on June 9, 2000. Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is part of the National Landscape Conservation System, better known as the National Conservation Lands. This system comprises 32 million acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management to conserve, protect, and restore these nationally significant landscapes recognized for their outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values. Canyons of the Ancients encompasses and surrounds three of the four separate sections of Hovenweep National Monument, which is administered by the National Park Service. The monument was proclaimed in order to preserve the largest concentration of archaeological sites in the United States, primarily Ancestral Puebloan ruins. As of 2005, over 6,000 individual archeological sites had been identified within the monument.
Hesperus Mountain is the highest summit of the La Plata Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The prominent 13,237-foot (4,035 m) thirteener is located in San Juan National Forest, 13.2 miles (21.2 km) northeast by east of the Town of Mancos in Montezuma County, Colorado, United States. The summit of Hesperus Mountain is the highest point in Montezuma County.
Navajo Mountain is a peak in San Juan County, Utah, with its southern flank extending into Coconino County, Arizona. It holds an important place in the traditions of three local Native American tribes. The summit is the highest area on the Navajo Nation.
The La Sal Mountains or La Sal Range are a mountain range located in Grand and San Juan counties, Utah along the Utah/Colorado border. The range rises above and southeast of Moab and north of the town of La Sal. This range is part of the Manti-La Sal National Forest and the southern Rocky Mountains. The maximum elevation is at Mount Peale, reaching 12,721 feet (3,877 m) above sea level. The range contains three clusters of peaks separated by passes. The peaks span a distance of about 10 miles (16 km). The name of the range dates to Spanish times, when the Sierra La Sal were a prominent landmark on the Old Spanish Trail between Santa Fe and Los Angeles.
The Carrizo Mountains is a small, mostly circular mountain range 15 to 20 km in diameter located on the Colorado Plateau in northeastern Arizona. The range is about 20 km (12 mi) southwest of the Four Corners. The highest summit, Pastora Peak, is 2,869 m (9,413 ft) in elevation, whereas elevations on the surrounding plateau are near 1,800 m (5,900 ft).
The Southern Ute Indian Reservation is a Native American reservation in southwestern Colorado near the northern New Mexico state line. Its territory consists of land from three counties; in descending order of surface area they are La Plata, Archuleta, and Montezuma Counties. The reservation has a land area of 1,058.785 sq mi (2,742.24 km²). Its largest communities are Ignacio and Arboles. The only other community that is recognized as a separate place by the Census Bureau is the CDP of Southern Ute, which lies just southeast of Ignacio.
The Uinta Basin is a physiographic section of the larger Colorado Plateaus province, which in turn is part of the larger Intermontane Plateaus physiographic division. It is also a geologic structural basin in eastern Utah, east of the Wasatch Mountains and south of the Uinta Mountains. The Uinta Basin is fed by creeks and rivers flowing south from the Uinta Mountains. Many of the principal rivers flow into the Duchesne River which feeds the Green River—a tributary of the Colorado River. The Uinta Mountains forms the northern border of the Uinta Basin. They contain the highest point in Utah, Kings Peak, with a summit 13,528 feet above sea level. The climate of the Uinta Basin is semi-arid, with occasionally severe winter cold.
Prehistory of Colorado provides an overview of the activities that occurred prior to Colorado's recorded history. Colorado experienced cataclysmic geological events over billions of years, which shaped the land and resulted in diverse ecosystems. The ecosystems included several ice ages, tropical oceans, and a massive volcanic eruption. Then, ancient layers of earth rose to become the Rocky Mountains.
The Trail of the Ancients is a National Scenic Byway located in the states of Colorado and Utah. The route highlights the archaeological and cultural history of southwestern Native American peoples, and traverses the widely diverse geological landscape of the Four Corners region of the Colorado Plateau. It was the first National Scenic Byway that was designated solely for its archaeological sites. The entire route is approximately 480 miles (772.5 km) long.
Chimney Rock is an 6,110-foot (1,860 meter) elevation pillar located within the Ute Mountain Tribal Park, in Montezuma County of southwest Colorado. This landmark is situated one mile southeast of the junction of U.S. Route 491 and US 160, and towers 900 feet above the floor of the Mancos River Valley. This geographical feature is also known as Jackson Butte, named for William Henry Jackson (1843–1942), photographer and explorer famous for his images of the American West who visited this area during the Hayden Survey. He was the first to photograph the cliff dwellings in this Mesa Verde region of the Four Corners area.