The Rocky Mountains, often referred to as simply ‘the Rockies’, are a wide mountain range in North America’s western region. To fully explore them would take you a lifetime as they stretch over 2,980 miles from the north in British Columbia, Canada, down to New Mexico, spanning the states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado. At 4,401 meters above sea level, Colorado’s Mount Elbert is the range’s highest peak.
Year after year, the mostly geological landscape and recreational opportunities of the Rockies attract millions of tourists from all over the world who visit the area to camp, hike or engage in mountain sports. You will discover everything from geyser basins and glowing lava flows to impressive sand dunes, not to mention some of the country’s most excellent ski resorts. The stunning scenery is complemented by a thrilling array of wildlife, while Native American history attaches a cultural element to this region.
Although the outlaws and cowboys are all but gone, there are many other things to keep you on the go in the Rockies such as veering off a mountainous road trying to navigate a hairy serpentine, or the possibility of having a face-to-face interaction with a grizzly bear. The inheritance of the miners and last century’s gold rush are still evident in the form of rail lines and ranches as well as in the contrast between vibrant cities like Denver, founded on mineral riches, and little ramshackle towns which went bust many years ago.
Bears, wolves, antelopes, elk and deer are only a few of the 500 wildlife species that can be spied out in Montana. Established in 1908, the National Bison Range protects them from extinction, and today about 450 of these magnificent creatures roam this high plains sanctuary. The 50-mile ‘Going-to-the-Sun’ road traverses some magnificent alpine scenery at Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and is one of the country’s most picturesque drives.
Known as the ‘Cowboy State’, Wyoming was the homeland of ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody. With its open spaces, breathtaking scenery and rugged country, the heart of the Wild West is still alive and kicking here thanks to Cheyenne Frontier Days, one of the globe’s largest rodeos. The violent volcanic history of the huge Yellowstone National Park has resulted in an exceptional environment of bubbling hot pools, geysers, great canyons and alpine lakes, a must-see for nature freaks.