Located on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains along the Continental Divide, 100 km north-west of Denver (Colorado), this biosphere reserve and national park is managed for nature conservation, environmental education and public recreation purposes.
Designation date: 1977
Regional network: EuroMab
Surface : 2,723,766 ha
- Core area(s): 9,665 ha
- Buffer zone(s): 107,980 ha
- Transition zone(s): 2,606,121 ha
Location: 40°10'-40°33'N; 105°29'-105°55'W
Three vegetation zones are represented within the altitude range from 2,328 to 4,345 meters above sea level. The upper montane forest is characterized by ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) shrublands, meadows and grasslands; the subalpine forest zone comprises mainly Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) and fir (Abies lasiocarpa); and the alpine tundra includes open stands of grasses, sedges and dwarf flowering plants and willows.
Early meat and sport hunting drastically reduced large ungulate populations in the area.
Wapiti (Cervus elaphus) was reintroduced in 1913-14 and have increased to a winter herd of about 1,500. Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) is now common and about 350 bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) utilize the high-elevation ranges. Some species, however, such as Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos), pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) and bison (Bison bison) never recovered.
Rocky Mountain National Park's wide range of elevations and habitats offer a wide variety of opportunities for visitors, including 355 miles of trails to hikers and backpackers, prime spots for birdwatchers, among others. In 2011, it received almost 3,4 million visitors.
Last updated: June 2019