The name Rocky Mountains can refer specifically to the group of mountains mainly located in Colorado or to all the ranges of mountains that stretch from southern Yukon Territory through British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico almost to Mexico. Though it flattens out a bit there towards the Big Bend area of Texas.

Though the Rockies in Colorado are quite impressive the highest mountain in the lower forty-eight is Mt. Whitney in the Sierra Nevada Range. The highest in Rocky Mountains is Colorado's Mt. Elbert at 4399 meters (14,433 feet).

Colorado is more alpine in nature than other US states like California, with 75% of the land above 3000 meters (10,000 feet) in the contiguous United States. In the past most travel routes detoured to the north or south of the Colorado Rocky Mountains since there are no easy passes through them.

The Rocky Mountains start with the Sacramento and Guadalupe Mountains in New Mexico. To the west of Albuquerque they meet up with the Manzano Range which nearly touch the Sangre de Cristo Range that is half in Colorado.

Also in Southern Colorado are the San Juan Mountains and Uncompahgre Plateau trailing off to the west. Generally in the middle of the state are the Sawatch Range and most of the Front Range. To the north are the Gore Range, the Neversummer Range, and Park Range. The Front Range stretches into Wyoming and both the Medicine Bow Mountains and Sierra Madre are in both states.

Wyoming has the Laramie Mts. the Wind River Range, the Teton Range, and most of the Absarok Range (Yellowstone Plateau) and Bighorn Mountains.

In both Idaho and Montana are the Beaverhead Mountains and the Bitterroot Range.

Into Canada with the Selkirk Mountains and Flathead Range. The Columbia Mountains, Monashee Mountains, Omineca Mountains and most of the Cassiar Mountains are in British Columbia.

The last hurrah of the Rockies is the Big Salmon Range near Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

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