In 1915, Congress created Rocky Mountain, the nation's 10th national park. Congress created the National Park Service in 1916.
The area now known as Rocky Mountain National Park has been occupied by human beings for 10,000 years. Archeologists have found more than 300 prehistoric sites at elevations ranging from 8,000 to 13,000 feet above sea level.
Throughout its 416 square miles of rock-ribbed wildness, Rocky Mountain National Park truly is a land of superlatives. Here, at least 60 mountains exceed 12,000 feet, topping off at 14,259 feet on the football field-sized summit of Longs Peak. Names such as Cirrus, Chiefs Head, Isolation, Mummy, and Storm evoke the grandeur of this high landscape.
Although the great peaks comprise the essence of the park, the delicate alpine flowers, clear lakes, rushing mountain waters, and impressive forests appeal to all the senses. An array of wildlife - bighorn sheep, ptarmigan, coyote, elk - adds life to the landscape.
The wide variety of elevations and habitats create a choice of activities for visitors. From scenic dives and short strolls along a gentle trail to more ambitious daylong hikes to vertical mountain climbs, Rocky Mountain National Park offers many ways to experience nature in all its splendor.
The road system of Rocky Mountain National Park offers visitors access to diverse ecosystems characterizing the higher regions of the central Rocky Mountains. The roads take visitors through lowland meadows and aspen groves, along swift-flowing rivers and up through subalpine forests to more than 12,000 feet in elevation. No other national park roads offer the dramatic experience of a long drive across alpine tundra region, and few offer such a wide variety of experiences.
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