The Great Plains
of North America slope east from the Rocky Mountains,
extending south from Canada, covering the eastern parts of Colorado.
Located at the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the average (mean
) elevation in Colorado (6,811 ft.
) is the highest of any U.S. State. Within the state over 50 peaks reach, or exceed 14,000 ft., including Colorado's highest point, Mt. Elbert at 14,431 ft.
Significant mountain ranges (or chains
) include the Front, Park, Sangre de Cristo, San Juan and Sawatch.
In the western regions of the state the Colorado Plateau covers the land; a region of high plateaus and deep, rugged canyons, formed over hundreds of centuries by the meandering waters of the Colorado River, and numerous smaller rivers.
The Continental Divide
(an imaginary line
) indicates the absolute highest points of land, where on either side of same rivers will flow downhill, east or west. That divide runs from northwestern Canada
, south along the crests of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, then south into Mexico, where it follows the peaks of the Sierra Madre Occidental
As an example, the Colorado River flows west, while the Arkansas River flows east.
Many rivers originate in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, including a handful of some of the most significant rivers in America; they include the Colorado, Platte, Arkansas, and Rio Grande.
For a look at the mostly flat topography of Colorado, view this topography map.