Trail Ridge -- Gore Range




Never Summer Mountains (originally named Medicine Bow Mountains) as seen from Gore Range Overlook. These two pictures show the dramatic effect lighting and clouds can have on essentially the same picture. Taken on the same day, the top picture was about 1 hour after dawn while the other was at high noon. The dark area in the second picture was caused by clouds blocking the sun on the foreground portion of the picture.

Between the 11,000 and 11,500 foot elevation in the Rocky Mountain National Park lies the upper limit of the sub-alpine forest. Trees rarely survive above this altitude, where summer temperatures average less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The line between forest and tundra is also shaped by snowdrifts, wind, avalanches, and exposure: forest reach higher on warmer south-facing slopes than on cooler north-facing ones

Patches of trees survive at the highest elevations as low-growing, gnarled krummholz.

Peaks on the horizon (l. to r.) are Mount Stratus, Mount Nimbus, Mount Cumulus, and Howard Mountain.

From here you can see:

  1. Longs Peak (14,255)
  2. Stones Peak (12,922)
  3. Terra Homah (12,718)
  4. Mount Julian (12,928)
  5. Mount Ida (?)
  6. Forest Canyon
  7. The Gore Range
  8. Never Summer Mountains
  9. The Crater
  10. Specimen Mountain (12,489)

Volcanoes of the Never Summers Mountains

Carved by Ice Age Glaciers, the jagged profile of the Never summer Mountains belies its volcanic origins. Between 25 and 28 million years ago magma rose in the crust of the earth and cooled to give a north-south alignment to the mountains. Explosive eruptions of lava and ash then filled valleys and buried nearby passes.

Today, the volcanic products of these events still cover 25 square miles of land.


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