Rocky Mountains

Encyclopedia Article


One of the longest mountain ranges in North America, the Rocky Mountains are located in the western United States and span from northern Alberta and British Columbia in Canada south to the state of New Mexico. The range is divided into 4 separate subranges: the Canadian Rockies; the Northern Rockies of Montana; the Middle Rockies in Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho; and the Southern Rockies that extend into Colorado and New Mexico. Each section has its own geology, rock types, and geologic formations.

Throughout the front and back ranges of the Rockies, evidence exists of human occupation by various Native American groups as early as 10,000 years ago. In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson created Rocky Mountain National Park to protect the range, its beauty, and its wildlife. In addition, the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) essentially follows along the backbone of the Rockies from the Canadian to the Mexican borders.

Photo Credit: 

"View of the Rockies from the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, which follows the peaks and high deserts of the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Mexico, July 23, 2011" by Bob Wick, BLM is licensed under CC BY.

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