The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range located in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch 3,000 km (1,900 mi) in straight-line distance from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the Southwestern United States. The northern terminus is near the Liard River, while the southernmost point is near Albuquerque, adjacent the Sandia–Manzano Mountains. Located within the North American Cordillera, the Rockies are distinct from the Pacific Coast Ranges, Cascade Range, and the Sierra Nevada, which all lie farther to the west.
The name of the mountains is a translation of an Amerindian name that is closely related to Algonquian; the Cree name as-sin-wati is given as, “When seen from across the prairies, they looked like a rocky mass”. The first mention of their present name by a European was in the journal of Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre in 1752, where they were called “Montagnes de Roche”.
The Rocky Mountains are often defined as stretching from the Liard River in British Columbia south to the Rio Grande in New Mexico. The Rockies vary in width from 110 to 480 kilometres (70 to 300 mi). The Rocky Mountains contain the highest peaks in central North America. The range’s highest peak is Mount Elbert located in Colorado at 4,401 metres (14,440 ft) above sea level. Mount Robson in British Columbia, at 3,954 metres (12,972 ft), is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies.
The rocks in the Rocky Mountains were formed before the mountains were raised by tectonic forces. The oldest rock is Precambrian metamorphic rock that forms the core of the North American continent. There is also Precambrian sedimentary argillite, dating back to 1.7 billion years ago. During the Paleozoic, western North America lay underneath a shallow sea, which deposited many kilometers of limestone and dolomite.
In the southern Rocky Mountains, near present-day Colorado, these ancestral rocks were disturbed by mountain building approximately 300 Ma, during the Pennsylvanian. This mountain-building produced the Ancestral Rocky Mountains. They consisted largely of Precambrian metamorphic rock forced upward through layers of the limestone laid down in the shallow sea. The mountains eroded throughout the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic, leaving extensive deposits of sedimentary rock.
Below are the rest of the Rocky Mountain scenery images. All images were taken on or near Interstate 70 and part on Highway 82 from Denver to Aspen, Colorado.