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The Front Range
Front Range
is a mountain range of the Southern Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
of North America located in the central portion of the U.S. State of Colorado, and southeastern portion of the U.S. State of Wyoming.[1] It is the first mountain range encountered as one goes westbound along the 40th parallel north
40th parallel north
across the Great Plains
Great Plains
of North America. The Front Range
Front Range
runs north-south between Casper, Wyoming
Wyoming
and Pueblo, Colorado
Colorado
and rises nearly 10,000 feet above the Great Plains. Longs Peak, Mount Evans, and Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak
are its most prominent peaks, visible from the Interstate 25
Interstate 25
corridor. The area is a popular destination for mountain biking, hiking, climbing, and camping during the warmer months and for skiing and snowboarding during winter. Millions of years ago, the present-day Front Range
Front Range
was home to ancient mountain ranges, deserts, beaches, and even oceans.[2] The name "Front Range" is also applied to the Front Range
Front Range
Urban Corridor, the populated region of Colorado
Colorado
and Wyoming
Wyoming
just east of the mountain range and extending from Cheyenne, Wyoming
Wyoming
south to Pueblo, Colorado. This urban corridor benefits from the weather-moderating effect of the Front Range
Front Range
mountains, which help block prevailing storms.

Contents

1 Geology

1.1 Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak
Granite 1.2 Fountain formation 1.3 Lyons Sandstone 1.4 Lykins Formation 1.5 Morrison Formation 1.6 Dakota Sandstone 1.7 Pierre Shale 1.8 Denver
Denver
Formation 1.9 Castle Rock Conglomerate 1.10 Quaternary
Quaternary
deposits

2 Prominent peaks 3 Travel through the Front Range 4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links

Geology[edit]

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak
and Garden of the Gods.

Sandstone slabs along the eastern edge of the front range

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak
Granite[edit] About 1 billion years ago, the earth was producing massive amounts of molten rock that would one day amalgamate, drift together and combine, to ultimately form the continents we live on today. In the Colorado region, this molten rock spewed and cooled, forming what we now know as the Precambrian
Precambrian
Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak
Granite. Over the next 500 million years, little is known about changes in the sedimentation (sediment deposition) after the granite was produced. However, at about 500 – 300 million years ago, the region began to sink and sediments began to deposit in the newly formed accommodation space. Eroded granite produced sand particles that began to form strata, layers of sediment, in the sinking basin. Sedimentation
Sedimentation
would continue to take place until about 300 million years ago.[2] Fountain formation[edit] Around 300 million years ago, the sinking suddenly reversed, and the sediment-covered granite began to uplift, giving rise to the Ancestral Rocky Mountains. Over the next 150 million years, during uplift the mountains would continue to erode and cover themselves in their own sediment. Wind, gravity, rainwater, snow, and ice-melt supplied rivers that ultimately carved through the granite mountains and eventually led to their end. The sediment from these mountains lies in the Fountain Formation
Fountain Formation
today. Red Rocks Amphitheater
Red Rocks Amphitheater
outside of Denver, Colorado, is actually set into the Fountain Formation.[2] Lyons Sandstone[edit] At 280 million years ago, sea levels were low and present-day Colorado was part of the super-continent Pangaea. Sand deserts covered most of the area spreading as dunes seen in the rock record, known today as the Lyons Sandstone. These dunes appear to be cross-bedded and show various fossil footprints and leaf imprints in many of the strata making up the section.[2] Lykins Formation[edit] 30 million years later, the sediment deposition was still taking place with the introduction of the Lykins Formation. This formation can be best attributed to its wavy layers of muddy limestone and signs of stromatolites that thrived in a smelly tidal flat at present-day Colorado. 250 million years ago, the Ancestral Rockies
Ancestral Rockies
were burying themselves while the shoreline was present during the break-up of Pangaea. This formation began right after Earth’s largest extinction 251 million years ago at the Permian- Triassic
Triassic
Boundary. Ninety percent of the planet’s marine life was destroyed and a great deal on land as well.[2] Morrison Formation[edit] After 100 million years of deposition, a new environment brought rise to a new formation, the sandstone Morrison Formation. The Morrison Formation contains some of the best fossils of the Late Jurassic. It is especially known for its sauropod tracks and sauropod bones among other dinosaur fossils. As identified by the fossil record, the environment was filled with various types of vegetation such as ferns and Zamites.[2] While this time period boasts many types of plants, grass had not yet evolved.[2] Dakota Sandstone[edit] The Dakota Sandstone, which was deposited 100 million years ago towards Colorado’s eastern coast, shows evidence of ferns, and dinosaur tracks. Sheets of ripple marks can be seen on some of the strata, confirming the shallow-sea environment.[2] Pierre Shale[edit] Over the next 30 million years, the region was finally taken over by a deep sea, the Cretaceous
Cretaceous
Western Interior Seaway, and deposited mass amounts of shale over the area known as the Pierre Shale. Both the thick section of shale and the marine life fossils found (ammonites and skeletons of fish and such marine reptiles as mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, and extinct species of sea turtles, along with rare dinosaur and bird remains). Colorado
Colorado
eventually drained from being at the bottom of an ocean to land again, giving yield to another fossiliferous rock layer, the Denver
Denver
Formation. At about 68 million years ago, the Front Range
Front Range
began to rise again due to the Laramide Orogeny
Orogeny
in the west.[2] Denver
Denver
Formation[edit]

Front Range
Front Range
near Estes Park, Colorado.

The Denver
Denver
Formation contained fossils and bones from dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus
Tyrannosaurus
rex and Triceratops. While the forests of vegetation, dinosaurs, and other organisms thrived, their reign would come to an end at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary
Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary
(which is also known as the K-T boundary). In an instant, millions of species are obliterated from a meteor impact in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. While this extinction led to the demise of the dinosaurs and other organisms, some life did prevail to repopulate the earth as it recovered from this tremendous disaster. The uplifted Front Range
Front Range
continued to constantly erode and, by 40 million years ago, the range was once again buried in its own rubble.[2] Castle Rock Conglomerate[edit] Suddenly, 37 million years ago, a great volcanic eruption took place in the Collegiate Range
Collegiate Range
and covered the landscape in molten hot ash that instantly torched and consumed everything across the landscape. An entire lush environment was capped in a matter of minutes with 20 feet of extremely resistant rock, rhyolite. However, as seen before, life rebounds, and after a few million years mass floods cut through the rhyolite and eroded much of it as plants and animals began to recolonize the landscape. The mass flooding and erosion of the volcanic rock gave way to the Castle Rock Conglomerate that can be found in the Front Range.[2] Quaternary
Quaternary
deposits[edit] Eventually, at about 10 million years ago, the Front Range
Front Range
began to rise up again and the resistant granite in the heart of the mountains thrust upwards and stood tall, while the weaker sediments deposited above it eroded away. As the Front Range
Front Range
rose, streams and recent (16,000 years ago) glaciations during the Quaternary
Quaternary
age literally unburied the range by cutting through the weaker sediment and giving rise to the granitic peaks present today.[2] This was the last step in forming the present-day geologic sequence and history of today’s Front Range.[2]

The Front Range
Front Range
as viewed from Greenwood Village south of Denver, Mount Evans
Mount Evans
is on the far right

Prominent peaks[edit] The Front Range
Front Range
includes the highest peaks along the eastern edge of the Rockies. The highest mountain peak in the Front Range
Front Range
is Grays Peak. Other notable mountains include Torreys Peak, Mount Evans, Longs Peak, Pikes Peak, and Mount Bierstadt.

Longs Peak

Pikes Peak

Mount Evans

The 20 Mountain Peaks of the Front Range
Front Range
With At Least 500 Meters of Topographic Prominence

Rank Mountain Peak Subrange Elevation Prominence Isolation

1 Grays Peak[3] NGS Front Range 7003435200000000000♠14,278 ft 4352 m 7002844296000000000♠2,770 ft 844 m 7004402700000000000♠25.0 mi 40.3 km

2 Mount Evans
Mount Evans
NGS Front Range 7003434800000000000♠14,265 ft 4348 m 7002843991000000000♠2,769 ft 844 m 7004157600000000000♠9.79 mi 15.76 km

3 Longs Peak
Longs Peak
NGS Front Range 7003434600000000000♠14,259 ft 4346 m 7002896112000000000♠2,940 ft 896 m 7004701900000000000♠43.6 mi 70.2 km

4 Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak
NGS Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak
Massif 7003430231000000000♠14,115 ft 4302 m 7003168554400000000♠5,530 ft 1686 m 7004978200000000000♠60.8 mi 97.8 km

5 Mount Silverheels
Mount Silverheels
NGS PB Front Range 7003421500000000000♠13,829 ft 4215 m 7002695857999900000♠2,283 ft 696 m 7003882000000000000♠5.48 mi 8.82 km

6 Bald Mountain[4] PB Front Range 7003417280500000000♠13,690 ft 4173 m 7002639775000000000♠2,099 ft 640 m 7004120900000000000♠7.51 mi 12.09 km

7 Bard Peak[4] PB Front Range 7003415948400000000♠13,647 ft 4159 m 7002518465000000000♠1,701 ft 518 m 7003874000000000000♠5.43 mi 8.74 km

8 Hagues Peak
Hagues Peak
NGS PB Mummy Range 7003413700000000000♠13,573 ft 4137 m 7002737616000000000♠2,420 ft 738 m 7004256200000000000♠15.92 mi 25.6 km

9 North Arapaho Peak[4] PB Indian Peaks
Indian Peaks
PB 7003411717199999999♠13,508 ft 4117 m 7002507492000000000♠1,665 ft 507 m 7004247800000000000♠15.40 mi 24.8 km

10 Parry Peak[4] Front Range 7003408334000000000♠13,397 ft 4083 m 7002527609000000000♠1,731 ft 528 m 7004152200000000000♠9.46 mi 15.22 km

11 Mount Richthofen[4] PB Front Range 7003394577000000000♠12,945 ft 3946 m 7002816864000000000♠2,680 ft 817 m 7004155400000000000♠9.66 mi 15.54 km

12 Specimen Mountain[4] PB Front Range 7003380826100000000♠12,494 ft 3808 m 7002527609000000000♠1,731 ft 528 m 7003782000000000000♠4.86 mi 7.82 km

13 Bison Peak
Bison Peak
NGS PB Tarryall Mountains
Tarryall Mountains
PB 7003378940000000000♠12,432 ft 3789 m 7002747065000000000♠2,451 ft 747 m 7004308000000000000♠19.14 mi 30.8 km

14 Waugh Mountain[4] PB South Park Hills PB 7003357091000000000♠11,716 ft 3571 m 7002710184000000000♠2,330 ft 710 m 7004322200000000000♠20.0 mi 32.2 km

15 Black Mountain NGS PB South Park Hills PB 7003355050000000000♠11,649 ft 3551 m 7002680923000000000♠2,234 ft 681 m 7004129200000000000♠8.03 mi 12.92 km

16 Williams Peak NGS PB South Williams Fork Mountains
South Williams Fork Mountains
PB 7003354180000000000♠11,620 ft 3542 m 7002624535000000000♠2,049 ft 625 m 7004173700000000000♠10.79 mi 17.37 km

17 Puma Peak[4] PB South Park Hills PB 7003352804900000000♠11,575 ft 3528 m 7002688848000000000♠2,260 ft 689 m 7004119700000000000♠7.44 mi 11.97 km

18 Thirtynine Mile Mountain[4] PB South Park Hills PB 7003352141400000000♠11,553 ft 3521 m 7002636422000000000♠2,088 ft 636 m 7004170800000000000♠10.61 mi 17.08 km

19 Twin Sisters Peaks[4] PB Front Range 7003348464200000000♠11,433 ft 3485 m 7002709574000000000♠2,328 ft 710 m 7003701000000000000♠4.36 mi 7.01 km

20 South Bald Mountain
South Bald Mountain
[1] Laramie Mountains 7003335500000000000♠11,007 ft 3355 m 7002562000000000000♠1,844 ft 562 m 7004219900000000000♠13.66 mi 22.0 km

Travel through the Front Range[edit] The main interstate highways that run through the Front Range
Front Range
are Interstate 70, which crosses west of Denver, Colorado, and Interstate 80, which crosses near Laramie, Wyoming. U.S. Route 34
U.S. Route 34
travels through the mountains near Loveland, Colorado. Along with roads that run through the Front Range, the Union Pacific Railroad
Union Pacific Railroad
operates two rail lines through the mountains: the Overland Route, transiting southern Wyoming, runs parallel to I-80 for much of its way, and the other, following former Denver
Denver
& Rio Grande Western Railroad trackage, runs parallel to the Colorado
Colorado
River and through the 6.5-mile-long Moffat Tunnel. The latter route is both a freight line and is also used by Amtrak's California Zephyr. See also[edit]

Geography portal North America portal United States portal Colorado
Colorado
portal Mountains portal

Mountain ranges of Colorado Front Range
Front Range
Urban Corridor Eldorado Canyon State Park Flatirons Garden of the Gods Palmer Divide Red Rocks Park Roxborough State Park

References[edit]

^ http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic U.S. Geological Survey confirms that the Laramie Mountains(range) are the northern extent of the Front Range. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Johnson, Kirk R.; et al. (2006). Ancient Denvers. Fulcrum Publishing. ISBN 978-1-55591-554-4.  ^ The summit of Grays Peak
Grays Peak
is the highest point on the Continental Divide of North America. ^ a b c d e f g h i j The elevation of this summit has been converted from the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929
National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929
(NGVD 29) to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988
North American Vertical Datum of 1988
(NAVD 88). National Geodetic Survey

Further reading[edit]

Fishman, N.S. et al. (2005). Principal areas of oil, natural gas, and coal production in the northern part of the Front Range, Colorado [Geologic Investigations Series I-2750-B]. Reston, VA: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey. Sprague, L.A., R.E. Zuellig, and J.A. Dupree. (2006). Effects of urban development on stream ecosystems along the Front Range
Front Range
of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Colorado
and Wyoming
Wyoming
[USGS Fact Sheet 2006-3083]. Reston, VA: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.

External links[edit]

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Front Range.

"Front Range". Peakbagger.com. 

v t e

Mountains of Colorado

Book Cliffs

Mount Garfield

Elk Mountains

Aspen Mountain Capitol Peak Castle Peak Cathedral Peak Chair Mountain Italian Mountain Maroon Bells Mount Owen Mount Sopris Pyramid Peak Snowmass Mountain Snowmass Peak Treasure Mountain

Elkhead Mountains

Black Mountain (Moffat County) Columbus Mountain Elk Mountain (Routt County) Hahns Peak

Flat Tops

Flat Top Mountain Sleepy Cat Peak

Front Range

Kenosha Mountains

Buffalo Peak Green Mountain (Jefferson County) Shawnee Peak Windy Peak

Mummy Range

Fairchild Mountain Hagues Peak Mount Chiquita Mount McConnel Mummy Mountain Ypsilon Mountain

Never Summer Mountains

Braddock Peak Iron Mountain (Jackson/Larimer Counties) Mount Richthofen Nokhu Crags Seven Utes Mountain Static Peak

Rampart Range

Blodgett Peak Cheyenne Mountain Devils Head

Others

Argentine Peak Badger Mountain Bald Mountain Bard Peak Bear Peak (Boulder County) Berrian Mountain Black Mountain (Park County) Chief Cheley Peak Eldorado Mountain Engelmann Peak Flagstaff Mountain Grays Peak Green Mountain (Boulder County) Green Mountain (Jefferson County) Grizzly Peak ( Summit
Summit
County) Hallett Peak Horsetooth Mountain James Peak Jones Mountain Lone Eagle Peak Longs Peak Lookout Mountain McCurdy Mountain Mount Alice Mount Audubon Mount Bailey Mount Bancroft Mount Bierstadt Mount Edwards Mount Evans Mount Guyot Mount Ida Mount Julian Mount Meeker Mount Morrison Mount Parnassus Mount Rosa Mount Silverheels Mount Sniktau Mount Zion North Arapaho Peak North Table Mountain Parry Peak Petit Grepon Pikes Peak Ptarmigan Peak South Table Mountain Specimen Mountain Taylor Peak (Grand County) Thirtynine Mile Mountain Torreys Peak Twin Sisters Peaks Waugh Mountain Williams Peak

Gore Range

Jacque Peak Meridian Peak Mount Powell

Grand Mesa

Crater Peak North Mamm Peak

Laramie Mountains

Greyrock Mountain South Bald Mountain

Medicine Bow Mountains

Clark Peak

Mosquito Range

Arkansas Hills Clinton Peak Dyer Mountain Horseshoe Mountain Mount Bross Mount Buckskin Mount Democrat Mount Lincoln Mount Sherman Pacific Peak West Buffalo Peak

Park Range

Mount Werner Mount Zirkel

Rabbit Ears Range

Elk Mountain (Grand County) Parkview Mountain

Raton Mesa

Fishers Peak

San Juan Mountains

La Garita Mountains

San Luis Peak Stewart Peak

La Plata Mountains

Hesperus Mountain Lavender Peak

Needle Mountains

Arrow Peak Jagged Mountain Jupiter Mountain Mount Eolus Pigeon Peak Sunlight Peak Turret Peak Twilight Peak Vestal Peak Windom Peak

Sneffels Range

Dallas Peak Gilpin Peak Mount Sneffels Teakettle Mountain

Others

Bennett Peak Cimmaron Range Conejos Peak Dolores Peak El Diente Peak Elliott Mountain Gladstone Peak Graham Peak Half Peak Handies Peak HD Mountains Horse Mountain La Garita Caldera Little Cone Lizard Head Lone Cone Matterhorn Peak Menefee Peak Middle Peak Mount Oso Mount Wilson Niagara Peak Red Mountain (Ouray County) Redcloud Peak Rio Grande Pyramid Sharkstooth Peak South River Peak Sultan Mountain Summit
Summit
Peak Sunshine Peak Tower Mountain Uncompahgre Peak Vermilion Peak Wetterhorn Peak Wilson Peak

Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Sangre de Cristo Range

Blanca Peak Bushnell Peak California Peak Challenger Point Columbia Point Crestone Needle Crestone Peak Ellingwood Point Humboldt Peak Iron Mountain (Costilla/Huerfano Counties) Kit Carson Peak Little Bear Peak Methodist Mountain Mount Adams Mount Herard Mount Lindsey Mount Mestas Mount Zwischen Rito Alto Peak Silver Mountain Tijeras Peak

Wet Mountains

Greenhorn Mountain Lead Mountain (Custer County)

Others

Culebra Peak Red Mountain (Costilla County)

Sawatch Range

Collegiate Peaks

Emerald Peak Garfield Peak Grizzly Peak (Chaffee/Pitkin Counties) Henry Mountain Huron Peak Ice Mountain La Plata Peak Missouri Mountain Mount Belford Mount Blaurock Mount Columbia Mount Harvard Mount Hope Mount Oxford Mount Yale Peak 13,762 Winfield Peak

Others

Antora Peak Bill Williams Peak Carbonate Mountain Casco Peak Castle Peak Cronin Peak French Mountain Mount Antero Mount Elbert Mount of the Holy Cross Mount Jackson Mount Massive Mount Oklahoma Mount Ouray Mount Shavano Ouray Peak Park Cone Red Table Mountain Tabeguache Peak Tomichi Dome

Spanish Peaks

East Spanish Peak Huerfano Butte West Spanish Peak

Tenmile Range

Crystal Peak Fletcher Mountain Peak 10 Quandary Peak

Uinta Mountains

Tanks Peak Zenobia Peak

West Elk Mountains

Carbon Peak Crested Butte East Beckwith Mountain Gothic Mountain Marcellina Mountain Mount Emmons Mount Guero Mount Gunnison Mount Lamborn Needle Rock West Elk Peak Whetstone Mountain

Others

Bear Mountain Blair Mountain Cannibal Plateau Chalk Mountains Cochetopa Hills Dawson Butte Diamond Peak Flirtation Peak Granite Peak Grand Hogback Grannys Nipple Horsefly Peak Lead Mountain (Grand County) Mount Neva Powell Peak Storm King Mountain Terrible Mountain Ute Mountain

v t e

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