Colorado Geography

Colorado Geography

Geography of Colorado

Geographically, the borders of Colorado are defined by latitudinal and longitudinal lines, making its shape like a square that stretches in the North from 37°to 41°in latitudes and in the west from 102°03' to 109°03'in longitudes. Colorado, Wyoming and Utah are the only states that have their borders defined by the nature itself, i.e. they have nature defined boundaries.

The highest point of Colorado is the peak of Mount Elbert in Lake County at 14,440 feet above sea level. It is the only U.S. state sited above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft.) of altitude. The lowest point of Colorado is at an altitude of 3,317 feet where Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado to Cheyenne County, Kansas. It is the lowest altitude of any state.

One third area of the state of Colorado is a flat land in disparity to the rough Rocky Mountains. On the east side of the Rocky Mountains lies the Colorado Eastern Plains which is a part of the Great Plains and is placed at altitudes of 3350 to 6500 feet.

On the east and northeastern side of Colorado lies the states of Kansas and Nebraska respectively. The plains of Colorado are the lands of deciduous forests. Eastern Colorado is used as a farmland having small farming villages and towns. The summers of the plains remain hot and humid, and, the amount of rainfall rational, around 380 to 630mm per annum. The winters are cold, and icy. The crops that grow in this region mainly consist of corn, wheat, fodder, soya beans, and oats. Apart from farming, livestock is also raised by the people of this region. Water coming from South Platte, streams and the Arkansas River is used for irrigation purpose.

Almost all the people live in the “Front Range Urban Corridor” sited beside the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains  amid the areas of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Pueblo and Colorado. The other important population centers are Grand Junction and Durango in western Colorado.

The Rocky Mountains contain 54 peaks that are at altitude levels of 14,000 feet above sea level and are known as fourteeners. The notable peaks of this mountain range are Longs Peak, Mount Evans, and Pikes Peak, along with the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg, in southern Colorado. Trees like conifers, aspens etc. cover these mountains at an altitude of 12,140 feet in southern Colorado and to 10,500 feet in northern Colorado. On altitudes higher than this only alpine flora grows. The Mississippi and Rio Grande rivers flow from this area towards east into the Gulf of Mexico. On the western slope of the Rocky Mountains lies the Continental Divide. The area of Colorado on this slope is known as the Western slope of Colorado. Interior to the Rocky Mountains there are several high broad basins.

The area of southern Colorado has the valley of San Luis sited near the Rio Grande River. The basins of San Luis Valley, and the Wet Mountain Valley (which is sited across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley), lie along the Rio Grande Rift, and is the basis of the formation of the Rocky Mountains.

On the western slope of Colorado, flows the Colorado River along with its tributaries like the Green River and the San Juan River. On the southwestern area of the Western slope of the Rocky Mountains there lays the high San Juan mountain range. This area has a mineral belt stretching from the mountains of San Juan in southwest to Boulder and Central City on the Front Range and covers the districts famous for gold and silver mining.

Towards the west of the San Juan Mountains, lies the Colorado Plateau, which is a highly dry region. The largest city of Colorado is the city of Grand Junction on the Western Slope. Apart from the city of Durango the city of Grand Junction is also a main center for broadcasting on radio and television.Taste for reading newspapers and higher studies can also be found among the people living on the Western Slope. The city of Grand Junction is the only city sitedbeside the only main road of Western Colorado (Interstate 70) and the main railroad of the Western Slope (Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad). Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain is sited on the southeast Grand Junction.

The northwest corner of Colorado is a low occupied region, a scenic area of high, stony hills, ravines, and streambeds. The land consists of semi-desert like basins, alpine mountains, National forests etc., starting from western Colorado to the eastern Colorado. Colorado is one of four states in the United States which share a mutual terrestrial point “The Four Corners”. The other states are of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. If any one stands at this juncture, it is likelythat he will be standing in all four states at once.

List of Rivers in Colorado

Adams Fork Conejos River Little Cimarron River Rio Lado
Alamosa River (383 km2 = 148 mi2) Little Dolores River Rio San Antonio
Animas River (3,562 km2 = 1,375 mi2) Little Dry Creek Roan Creek
Apishapa River (2,798 km2 = 1,080 mi2) Little Navajo River Roaring Fork Little Snake River
Arikaree River (4,429 km2 = 1,710 mi2) Little Snake River (10,629 km2 = 4,104 mi2) Roaring Fork River (3,766 km2 = 1,454 mi2)
Arkansas River (478,501 km2 = 184,750 mi2) Little Thompson River Roaring River
Aspen Brook Lodgepole Creek (8,374 km2 = 3,233 mi2) Rush Creek (3,570 km2 = 1,378 mi2)
Bear Creek (4,500 km2 = 1,737 mi2) Lone Tree Creek Saguache Creek (3,482 km2 = 1,345 mi2)
Bear Creek (339 km2 = 131 mi2) Los Piños River Saint Charles River
Bear River Mancos River (2,099 km2 = 810 mi2) Saint Vrain Creek (2,572 km2 = 993 mi2)
Beaver Creek (2,939 km2 = 1,135 mi2) McElmo Creek (1,842 km2 = 711 mi2) San Juan River (64,560 km2 = 24,927 mi2)
Big Dry Creek Michigan River San Luis Creek (7,000 km2 = 2,703 mi2)
Big Sandy Creek (4,825 km2 = 1,863 mi2) Middle Fork Cimarron River San Miguel River (4,060 km2 = 1,567 mi2)
Big Thompson River (2,149 km2 = 830 mi2) Middle Fork Conejos River Sand Arroyo Creek (1,938 km2 = 748 mi2)
Bijou Creek (3,612 km2 = 1,395 mi2) Middle Fork Elk River Sand Creek
Blue River (1,770 km2 = 683 mi2) Middle Fork Little Snake River Sidney Draw (1,949 km2 = 753 mi2)
Boulder Creek[2] (1,160 km2 = 448 mi2) Middle Fork Piedra River Slate River
Cache la Poudre River (4,959 km2 = 1,915 mi2) Middle Fork Purgatoire River Smoky Hill River (51,783 km2 = 19,994 mi2)
Canadian River (122,701 km2 = 47,375 mi2) Middle Fork South Arkansas River Snake River
Canadian River Middle Fork South Platte River South Arkansas River
Chalk Creek Middle Fork Swan River South Fork Animas River
Cherry Creek (1,050 km2 = 405 mi2) Middle Mancos River South Fork Beaver Creek (1,939 km2 = 749 mi2)
Chico Creek (1,934 km2 = 747 mi2) Montezuma Creek (3,044 km2 = 1,175 mi2) South Fork Cache la Poudre River
Cimarron River (44,890 km2 = 17,332 mi2) Muddy Creek South Fork Canadian River
Cimarron River Navajo River South Fork Conejos River
Clear Creek (1,497 km2 = 578 mi2) North Branch Conejos River South Fork Crystal River
Colorado River[3] (703,132 km2 = 271,481 mi2) The upper Colorado River, formerly known as the Grand River[3] (67,993 km2 = 26,252 mi2) North Fork Animas River South Fork Cucharas River
Conejos River (2,078 km2 = 802 mi2) North Fork Apishapa River South Fork Eagle River
Crow Creek (3,717 km2 = 1,435 mi2) North Fork Arikaree River South Fork Elk River
Crystal River North Fork Big Thompson River South Fork Fryingpan River
Cucharas River North Fork Cache la Poudre River South Fork Huerfano River
Dolores River (11,998 km2 = 4,633 mi2) North Fork Canadian River South Fork Little Snake River
Dry Fork Michigan River North Fork Cimarron River (4,462 km2 = 1,723 mi2) South Fork Michigan River
Eagle River (2,515 km2 = 971 mi2) North Fork Conejos River South Fork Piney River
East Fork Arkansas River North Fork Crystal River South Fork Purgatoire River
East Fork Cimarron River North Fork Fryingpan River South Fork Republican River (7,195 km2 = 2,778 mi2)
East Fork Eagle River North Fork Gunnison River (2,492 km2 = 962 mi2) South Fork Rio Grande
East Fork Little Cimarron River North Fork Little Snake River South Fork San Miguel River
East Fork Navajo River North Fork Little Thompson River South Fork South Platte River
East Fork Piedra River North Fork Los Piños River South Fork Swan River
East Fork Rio Chama North Fork Michigan River South Fork West Mancos River
East Fork San Juan River North Fork North Platte River South Fork White River
East Fork South Fork Crystal River North Fork Piney River South Platte River (62,738 km2 = 24,223 mi2)
East Mancos River North Fork Purgatoire River Spring Creek
East River (762 km2 = 294 mi2) North Fork Republican River (13,172 km2 = 5,086 mi2) Spruce Creek
Elk River North Fork Rio de los Piños Swan River
Encampment River North Fork Smoky Hill River (1,965 km2 = 759 mi2) Tarryall Creek
Fall River North Fork Snake River Taylor River (1,258 km2 = 486 mi2)
Fall River North Fork South Arkansas River Tomichi Creek (2,874 km2 = 1,109 mi2)
First Fork Piedra River North Fork South Platte River Trinchera Creek
First Fork South Fork Piney River North Fork Swan River Two Butte Creek (2,107 km2 = 814 mi2)
Florida River North Fork Vermejo River Uncompahgre River (2,921 km2 = 1,128 mi2)
Fountain Creek (2,418 km2 = 933 mi2) North Fork West Branch Laramie River Vermillion Creek (2,500 km2 = 965 mi2)
Fraser River North Fork West Mancos River West Branch Laramie River
Frenchman Creek (7,398 km2 = 2,856 mi2) North Fork White River West Dolores River
Fryingpan River North Platte River (80,755 km2 = 31,180 mi2) West Fork Animas River
Geneva Creek North Saint Charles River West Fork Cimarron River
Gore Creek Owl Creek West Fork Elk River
Green River[3][4] (115,903 km2 = 44,750 mi2) Parachute Creek West Fork Encampment River
Gunnison River[5] (20,851 km2 = 8,051 mi2) Pawnee Creek (1,875 km2 = 724 mi2) West Fork Little Thompson River
Hidden River Piceance Creek (1,630 km2 = 629 mi2) West Fork North Fork Purgatoire River
Hill Branch Cucharas River Piedra River (1,770 km2 = 683 mi2) West Fork Rio Chama
Horse Creek (3,680 km2 = 1,421 mi2) Piney River West Fork San Juan River
Huerfano River (4,840 km2 = 1,869 mi2) Plateau Creek West Mancos River
Illinois River Purgatoire River (8,923 km2 = 3,445 mi2) White River (12,989 km2 = 5,015 mi2)
Kiowa Creek (1,888 km2 = 729 mi2) Ralston Creek White Woman Creek (3,000 km2 = 1,158 mi2)
La Plata River Rio Blanco Williams Fork
Ladder Creek (3,645 km2 = 1,407 mi2) Rio Chama (8,204 km2 = 3,168 mi2) Willow Creek
Laramie River (11,961 km2 = 4,618 mi2) Rio Chamita Wind River
Left Hand Creek Rio de los Piños Yampa River (21,506 km2 = 8,304 mi2)
Little Beaver Creek (1,602 km2 = 619 mi2) Rio Grande (457,275 km2 = 176,555 mi2) Yellow Creek (760 km2 = 293 mi2)

Mountain Ranges of Colorado

  Highest Summit
Primary Secondary Tertiary Summit Name Elevation Prominence Isolation
Sawatch Range Central Sawatch Range Elbert Massif Mount Elbert 14,440 feet
4401 m
9,093 feet
2772 m
670.6 miles
1079.2 km
Massive Massif Mount Massive 14,428 feet
4398 m
1,941 feet
592 m
5.1 miles
8.2 km
Collegiate Peaks Mount Harvard 14,421 feet
4396 m
2,327 feet
709 m
14.9 miles
24.0 km
Williams Mountains Williams Mountains High Point 13,389 feet
4081 m
1,682 feet
513 m
3.7 miles
6.0 km
Southern Sawatch Range   Mount Antero 14,276 feet
4351 m
2,503 feet
763 m
17.7 miles
28.6 km
Far Southern Sawatch Range Mount Ouray 13,961 feet
4255 m
2,659 feet
810 m
13.6 miles
21.9 km
Northern Sawatch Range Mount of the Holy Cross 14,009 feet
4270 m
2,111 feet
643 m
18.5 miles
29.8 km
Sangre de Cristo Mountains Sierra Blanca Blanca Peak 14,351 feet
4374 m
5,326 feet
1623 m
103.4 miles
166.4 km
Northern Sangre de Cristo Range Crestones Crestone Peak 14,300 feet
4359 m
4,554 feet
1388 m
27.4 miles
44.1 km
  Rito Alto Peak 13,800 feet
4206 m
1,134 feet
346 m
7.3 miles
11.7 km
Culebra Range   Culebra Peak 14,053 feet
4283 m
4,827 feet
1471 m
35.5 miles
57.1 km
Spanish Peaks West Spanish Peak 13,631 feet
4155 m
3,685 feet
1123 m
20.4 miles
32.9 km
Wet Mountains Greenhorn Mountain 12,352 feet
3765 m
3,777 feet
1151 m
26.4 miles
42.5 km
San Juan Mountains North Central San Juan Mountains Uncompahgre Peak 14,321 feet
4365 m
4,277 feet
1304 m
85.1 miles
136.9 km
San Miguel Mountains Mount Wilson 14,252 feet
4344 m
4,024 feet
1227 m
33.1 miles
53.2 km
Sneffels Range Mount Sneffels 14,158 feet
4315 m
3,050 feet
930 m
15.7 miles
25.3 km
Needle Mountains   Mount Eolus 14,089 feet
4294 m
2,183 feet
665 m
25.2 miles
40.5 km
Grenadier Range Vestal Peak 13,870 feet
4228 m
1,104 feet
336 m
4.3 miles
6.9 km
West Needle Mountains Twilight Peak 13,163 feet
4012 m
2,338 feet
713 m
4.9 miles
7.9 km
La Garita Mountains   San Luis Peak 14,022 feet
4274 m
3,113 feet
949 m
27.0 miles
43.4 km
Cochetopa Hills Long Branch Baldy 11,982 feet
3652 m
1,474 feet
449 m
13.7 miles
22.0 km
East Central San Juan Mountains Half Peak 13,848 feet
4221 m
1,481 feet
451 m
3.9 miles
6.3 km
Southern San Juan Mountains Summit Peak 13,308 feet
4056 m
2,760 feet
841 m
39.9 miles
64.2 km
La Plata Mountains Lavender Peak 13,245 feet
4037 m
2,860 feet
872 m
24.8 miles
39.9 km
Mosquito Range   Mount Lincoln 14,293 feet
4357 m
3,862 feet
1177 m
22.6 miles
36.3 km
Tenmile Range Quandary Peak 14,271 feet
4350 m
1,105 feet
337 m
3.2 miles
5.1 km
Front Range Central Front Range Grays Peak 14,278 feet
4352 m
2,770 feet
844 m
25.0 miles
40.3 km
Northern Front Range Longs Peak Massif Longs Peak 14,259 feet
4346 m
2,940 feet
896 m
43.6 miles
70.2 km
Mummy Range Hagues Peak 13,573 feet
4137 m
2,420 feet
738 m
15.9 miles
25.6 km
Indian Peaks North Arapaho Peak 13,508 feet
4117 m
1,665 feet
507 m
15.4 miles
24.8 km
Never Summer Mountains Mount Richthofen 12,945 feet
3946 m
2,680 feet
817 m
9.7 miles
15.5 km
Southern Front Range Pikes Peak Massif Pikes Peak 14,115 feet
4302 m
5,530 feet
1686 m
60.8 miles
97.8 km
South Park Hills Waugh Mountain 11,716 feet
3571 m
2,330 feet
710 m
20.0 miles
32.2 km
South Williams Fork Mountains Ptarmigan Peak 12,504 feet
3811 m
721 feet
220 m
4.3 miles
6.9 km
Tarryall Mountains Bison Peak 12,432 feet
3789 m
2,451 feet
747 m
19.1 miles
30.8 km
Kenosha Mountains Windy Peak 11,970 feet
3649 m
1,510 feet
460 m
5.4 miles
8.7 km
Rampart Range Devils Head 9,749 feet
2972 m
1,248 feet
380 m
8.0 miles
12.9 km
Elk Mountains   Castle Peak 14,279 feet
4352 m
2,365 feet
721 m
20.9 miles
33.7 km
Ruby Range Mount Owen 13,070 feet
3984 m
1,358 feet
414 m
8.0 miles
12.8 km
West Elk Mountains West Elk Peak 13,042 feet
3975 m
3,095 feet
943 m
13.8 miles
22.2 km
Gore Range Mount Powell 13,566 feet
4135 m
3,000 feet
914 m
21.5 miles
34.6 km
Medicine Bow Mountains Clark Peak 12,956 feet
3949 m
2,771 feet
845 m
16.7 miles
26.8 km
Flat Tops Flat Top Mountain 12,361 feet
3768 m
4,054 feet
1236 m
42.8 miles
68.9 km
Rabbit Ears Range Parkview Mountain 12,301 feet
3749 m
2,676 feet
816 m
10.9 miles
17.6 km
Park Range Central Park Range Mount Zirkel 12,185 feet
3714 m
3,470 feet
1058 m
41.5 miles
66.8 km
Elkhead Mountains Sand Mountain North 10,884 feet
3317 m
2,179 feet
664 m
18.2 miles
29.3 km
White River Plateau Blair Mountain 11,445 feet
3488 m
1,736 feet
529 m
17.5 miles
28.2 km
Grand Mesa Crater Peak 11,333 feet
3454 m
2,307 feet
703 m
18.0 miles
29.0 km
Laramie Mountains Laramie Mountains High Point 11,025 feet
3360 m
1,880 feet
573 m
15.5 miles
24.9 km
Uncompaghre Plateau Horsefly Peak 10,353 feet
3156 m
1,437 feet
438 m
14.6 miles
23.5 km
Ute Mountain Ute Peak 9,984 feet
3043 m
4,039 feet
1231 m
39.1 miles
62.9 km
Northwestern Colorado Diamond Peak 9,645 feet
2940 m
2,845 feet
867 m
30.3 miles
48.8 km
Raton Mesa Fishers Peak 9,633 feet
2936 m
1,847 feet
563 m
32.4 miles
52.2 km
Uinta Range Eastern Uinta Range Southeastern Uinta Range Zenobia Peak 9,022 feet
2750 m
2,395 feet
730 m
23.7 miles
38.1 km