state. Its eastern third consists of rich, unbroken plains. On their west edge lies an abrupt, massive, and strangely uniform chain of mountains, known in the neighbourhood of Colorado Springs as the Rampart Range, and in the extreme north as the Front Range, and often denominated as a whole by the latter name. The upturning of the rocks of the Great Plains at the foot of the Front Range develops an interesting type of topography, the harder layers weathering into grotesquely curious forms, as seen in the famous Garden of the Gods at the foot of Pike’s Peak. Behind this barrier the whole country is elevated 2000 ft. or so above the level of the plains region. In its lowest portions just behind the front ranges are the natural “parks”—great plateaus basined by superb enclosing ranges; and to the west of these, and between them, and covering the remainder of the state east of the plateau region, is an entanglement of mountains, tier above tier, running from north to south, buttressed laterally with splendid spurs, dominated by scores of magnificent peaks, cut by river valleys, and divided by mesas and plateaus. These various chains are known by a multitude of local names. Among the finest of the chains are the Rampart, Sangre de Cristo, San Juan, Sawatch (Saguache) and Elk ranges. The first, like the other ranges abutting from north to south upon the region of the prairie, rises abruptly from the plain and has a fine, bold outline. It contains a number of fine summits dominated by Pike’s Peak (14,108 ft.). Much more beautiful as a whole is the Sangre de Cristo range. At its southern end are Blanca Peak (14,390) and Old Baldy (14,176, Hayden), both in Costilla county; to the northward are Rito Alto Peak (12,989, Wheeler), in Custer county, and many others of almost equal height and equal beauty. The mountains of the south-west are particularly abrupt and jagged. Sultan Mountain (13,366, Hayden), in San Juan county, and Mt. Eolus (14,079), in La Plata county, dominate the fine masses of the San Juan ranges; and Mt. Sneffels (14,158, Hayden), Ouray county, and Uncompahgre Peak (14,289), Hinsdale county, the San Miguel and Uncompahgre ranges, which are actually parts of the San Juan. Most magnificent of all the mountains of Colorado, however, are the Sawatch and adjoining ranges in the centre of the state. The former (the name is used a little loosely) consists of almost a solid mass of granite, has an average elevation of probably 13,000 ft., presents a broad and massive outline, and has a mean breadth of 15 to 20 m. Mt. Ouray (13,956 ft.), in Chaffee county, may be taken as the southern end, and in Eagle county, the splendid Mount of the Holy Cross (14,170)—so named from the figure of its snow-filled ravines—as the northern. Between them lie: in Chaffee county, Mt. Shavano (14,239, Hayden), Mt. Princeton (14,196, Hayden), Mt. Yale (14,187, Hayden), Mt. Harvard (14,375, Hayden), and La Plata Peak (14,342); in Pitkin county, Grizzly Peak (13,956, Hayden); in Lake county, Elbert Peak (14,421), and Massive mountain (14,424), the highest peak in the state; on the boundary between Summit and Park counties, Mt. Lincoln (14,297, Hayden); and, in Summit county, Mt. Fletcher (14,265). The Elk range is geologically interesting for the almost unexampled displacement of the strata of which it is composed, and the apparent confusion which has thence arisen. Among the most remarkable of its separate summits, which rise superbly in a crescent about Aspen, are North Italian Peak (13,225), displaying the red, white and green of Italy’s national colours, White Rock Mountain (13,532), Mt. Owen (13,102), Teocalli Mountain (13,220), Snow Mass (13,970, Hayden) and Maroon (14,003, Hayden) mountains, Castle Peak (14,259), Capitol Mountain (13,997, Hayden), Pyramid Peak (13,885, Hayden), Taylor Peak (13,419), and about a dozen other summits above 12,000 ft. A few miles to the north and north-east of the Mount of the Holy Cross are Red Mountain (13,333, Wheeler), in Eagle county, Torrey Peak (14,336, Hayden) and Gray’s Peak (14,341, Hayden), in Summit county, Mt. Evans (14,330, Hayden), in Clear Creek county, and Rosalie Peak (13,575), in Park county; a little farther north, in Gilpin, Grand and Clear Creek counties, James Peak (13,283, Hayden), and, in Boulder county, Long’s Peak (14,271, Hayden). Many fine mountains are scattered in the lesser ranges of the state. Altogether there are at least 180 summits exceeding 12,000 ft. in altitude, more than 110 above 13,000 and about 40 above 14,000.
Cirques, valley troughs, numberless beautiful cascades, sharpened alpine peaks and ridges, glacial lakes, and valley moraines offer everywhere abundant evidence of glacial action, which has modified profoundly practically all the ranges. The Park Range east of Leadville, and the Sawatch Range, are particularly fine examples. Much of the grandest scenery is due to glaciation.
One of the most remarkable orographical features of the state are the great mountain “parks”—North, Estes, Middle, South and San Luis—extending from the northern to the southern border of the state, and lying (with the exception of Middle Park) just east of the continental divide. These “parks” are great plateaus, not all of them level, lying below the barriers of surrounding mountain chains. North Park, the highest of all, is a lovely country of meadow and forest. Middle Park is not level, but is traversed thickly by low ranges like the Alleghanies; in the bordering mountain rim are several of the grandest mountain peaks and some of the most magnificent scenery of the state. Estes Park is small, only 20 m. long and never more than 2 m. broad; it is in fact the valley of Thompson Creek. Its surface is one of charming slopes, and by many it is accounted among the loveliest of Colorado valleys. Seven ranges lie between it and the plains. South Park is similarly quiet and charming in character. Much greater than any of these is San Luis Park. The surface is nearly as flat as a lake, and it was probably at one time the bed of an inland sea. In the centre there is a long narrow lake fed by many streams. It has no visible outlet, but is fresh. The San Luis Park, which runs into New Mexico, is traversed by the Rio Grande del Norte and more than a dozen of its mountain tributaries. These parks are frequented by great quantities of large game, and—especially the North and Middle—are famous hunting-grounds. They are fertile, too, and as their combined area is something like 13,000 sq. m. they are certain to be of great importance in Colorado’s agricultural development.
The drainage system of the state is naturally very complicated. Eleven topographical and climatic divisions are recognized by the United States Weather Bureau within its borders, including the several parks, the continental divide, and various river valleys. Of the rivers, the North Platte has its sources in North Park, the Colorado (the Gunnison and Grand branches) in Middle Park, the Arkansas and South Platte in South Park—where their waters drain in opposite directions from Palmer’s Lake—the Rio Grande in San Luis Park. Three of these flow east and south-east to the Missouri, Mississippi and the Gulf; but the waters of the Colorado system flow to the south-west into the Gulf of California. Among the other streams, almost countless in number among the mountains, the systems of the Dolores, White and Yampa, all in the west, are of primary importance. The scenery on the head-waters of the White and Bear, the upper tributaries of the Gunnison, and on many of the minor rivers of the south-west is wonderfully beautiful. The South Platte falls 4830 ft. in the 139 m. above Denver; the Grand 3600 ft. in the 224 m. between the mouth of the Gunnison and the Forks; the Gunnison 6477 ft. in 200 m. to its mouth (and save for 16 m. never with a gradient of less than 10 ft.); the Arkansas 7000 ft. in its 338 m. west of the Kansas line. Of the smaller streams the Uncompahgre falls 2700 ft. in 134 m., the Las Animas 7190 ft. in 113 m., the Los Pinos 4920 ft. in 75 m., the Roaring Fork 5923 ft. in 64 m., the Mancos 5000 ft. in 62 m., the La Plata 3103 ft. in 43 m., the Eagle 4293 ft. in 62 m., the San Juan 3785 in 303, the Lake Fork of the Gunnison 6047 in 59. The canyons formed in the mountains by these streams are among the glories of Colorado and of America. The grandest are the Toltec Gorge near the Southern boundary line, traversed by the railway 1500 ft. above the bottom; the Red Gorge and Rouge Canyon of the Upper Grand, and a splendid gorge 16 m. long below the mouth of the Eagle, with walls 2000-2500 ft. in height; the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas (8 m.) above Canyon City, with granite walls towering 2600 ft. above the boiling river at the