Elk Mountains (Colorado)

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Elk Mountains
MARBELLS.JPG
The Maroon Bells, Elk Mountains.
Highest point
Peak Castle Peak
Elevation 14,265 ft (4,348 m)
Coordinates 39°00′35″N 106°51′14″W / 39.00972°N 106.85389°W / 39.00972; -106.85389Coordinates: 39°00′35″N 106°51′14″W / 39.00972°N 106.85389°W / 39.00972; -106.85389
Geography
Country United States
State Colorado
County Pitkin, Gunnison and Eagle
Parent range Rocky Mountains
Borders on Sawatch Range and West Elk Mountains
Sievers Mountain South

The Elk Mountains are a high, rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains of west-central Colorado in the United States. The mountains sit on the western side of the Continental Divide, largely in southern Pitkin and northern Gunnison counties, in the area southwest of Aspen, south of the Roaring Fork River valley, and east of the Crystal River. The range sits west of the Sawatch Range and northeast of the West Elk Mountains. Much of the range is located within the White River National Forest and the Gunnison National Forest, as well as the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and Raggeds Wilderness. The Elk Mountains rise nearly 9,000 ft. above the Roaring Fork Valley to the north.

The highest peaks in the range are its fourteeners, Castle Peak (14,265 ft), Maroon Peak (14,156 ft), Capitol Peak (14,130 ft), Snowmass Mountain (14,092 ft), Pyramid Peak (14,018 ft), and North Maroon Peak (14,014 ft).[1] Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak are collectively known as the Maroon Bells, a popular destination for recreation alpinism. Mount Sopris (12,953 ft) sits at the northwest end of the range and dominates the skyline of the lower Roaring Fork Valley and the town of Carbondale, Colorado, serving as an unofficial symbol of the area.

Maroon Lake, Elk Mountains.

Additional notable peaks in the range include:

The range provides a formidable barrier to travel and is traversed only by backroad passes and trails, including Schofield Pass, Pearl Pass, and Taylor Pass. State Highway 133 traverses McClure Pass, at the western end of the range. The range has been the site of mining activity since the days of the Colorado Silver Boom, which saw the founding of mining towns such as Aspen and Ashcroft. In the late 19th century, the western and southern flank of the range became the site of intense coal mining activity which continues to the present day. Treasure Mountain, overlooking the town of Marble, is home to the famous Yule Marble Quarry. Quarried marble was used to create The Tomb of the Unknowns, the Lincoln Memorial, Denver Post Office and other buildings. The range receives a great deal of snowfall due to its position to the west of the continental divide and the westerly origin of many winter storms. This is exploited by the ski areas in the vinicity of Aspen, which are located on the flanks of smaller mountains alongside the Roaring Fork Valley.

Prominent peaks[edit]

The 21 Peaks of the Elk Mountains With At Least 500 Feet of Topographic Prominence
Rank Mountain Peak Subrange Elevation Prominence Isolation
1 Castle Peak NGS Elk Mountains 4352.200 = 14,279 feet
4352 m
0720.852 = 2,365 feet
721 m
00033.71 = 20.9 miles
33.7 km
2 Maroon Peak NGS Elk Mountains 4317.000 = 14,163 feet
4317 m
0712.013 = 2,336 feet
712 m
00012.97 = 8.1 miles
13.0 km
3 Capitol Peak Elk Mountains 4308.816 = 14,137 feet
4309 m
0527.304 = 1,730 feet
527 m
00011.98 = 7.4 miles
12.0 km
4 Snowmass Mountain NGS Elk Mountains 4297.300 = 14,099 feet
4297 m
0345.034 = 1,132 feet
345 m
00003.77 = 2.3 miles
3.8 km
5 Pyramid Peak NGS Elk Mountains 4274.700 = 14,025 feet
4275 m
0493.166 = 1,618 feet
493 m
00003.36 = 2.1 miles
3.4 km
6 Cathedral Peak NGS PB Elk Mountains 4252.100 = 13,950 feet
4252 m
0153.314 = 503 feet
153 m
00002.10 = 1.3 miles
2.1 km
7 Treasure Mountain[2] PB Elk Mountains 4125.342 = 13,535 feet
4125 m
0859.841 = 2,821 feet
860 m
00011.13 = 6.9 miles
11.1 km
8 Mount Owen NGS PB Ruby Range PB 3983.800 = 13,070 feet
3984 m
0413.918 = 1,358 feet
414 m
00012.81 = 8.0 miles
12.8 km
9 West Elk Peak NGS PB West Elk Mountains 3975.200 = 13,042 feet
3975 m
0943.356 = 3,095 feet
943 m
00022.18 = 13.8 miles
22.2 km
10 Chair Mountain NGS PB Elk Mountains 3879.100 = 12,727 feet
3879 m
0750.113 = 2,461 feet
750 m
00014.30 = 8.9 miles
14.3 km
11 Mount Gunnison NGS PB West Elk Mountains 3878.700 = 12,725 feet
3879 m
1081.735 = 3,549 feet
1082 m
00019.05 = 11.8 miles
19.1 km
12 Gothic Mountain[2] PB Elk Mountains 3850.036 = 12,631 feet
3850 m
0501.396 = 1,645 feet
501 m
00005.16 = 3.2 miles
5.2 km
13 Whetstone Mountain NGS PB West Elk Mountains 3818.100 = 12,527 feet
3818 m
0748.589 = 2,456 feet
749 m
00015.11 = 9.4 miles
15.1 km
14 East Beckwith Mountain NGS PB West Elk Mountains 3792.100 = 12,441 feet
3792 m
0759.562 = 2,492 feet
760 m
00011.01 = 6.8 miles
11.0 km
15 Anthracite Peak NGS PB West Elk Mountains 3777.800 = 12,394 feet
3778 m
0647.700 = 2,125 feet
648 m
00007.68 = 4.8 miles
7.7 km
16 Matchless Mountain[2] PB Elk Mountains 3776.279 = 12,389 feet
3776 m
0537.362 = 1,763 feet
537 m
00015.47 = 9.6 miles
15.5 km
17 Crested Butte[2] PB Elk Mountains 3708.918 = 12,168 feet
3709 m
0786.994 = 2,582 feet
787 m
00007.49 = 4.7 miles
7.5 km
18 Carbon Peak NGS PB West Elk Mountains 3684.300 = 12,088 feet
3684 m
0664.159 = 2,179 feet
664 m
00006.31 = 3.9 miles
6.3 km
19 Mount Guero NGS PB West Elk Mountains 3675.400 = 12,058 feet
3675 m
0741.274 = 2,432 feet
741 m
00010.27 = 6.4 miles
10.3 km
20 Huntsman Mountain Northwest[2] PB Elk Mountains 3614.201 = 11,858 feet
3614 m
0936.346 = 3,072 feet
936 m
00016.58 = 10.3 miles
16.6 km
21 Marcellina Mountain[2] PB West Elk Mountains 3460.528 = 11,353 feet
3461 m
0831.494 = 2,728 feet
831 m
00008.18 = 5.1 miles
8.2 km

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ North Maroon Peak does not meet the usual criterion for independence of having 300 feet or more of topographic prominence, but it is included on many lists of fourteeners.
  2. ^ a b c d e f The elevation of this summit has been converted from the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD 29) to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88). National Geodetic Survey

External links[edit]