The Rocky Mountains

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by HERBERT S. ZIM, Ph.D., Sc.D. in consultation with the





Western Publishing Company, Inc.


This Golden Guide attempts to introduce and explore a widely known region-big, varied, and open enough to tempt a multitude of visitors, many of whom stay to swell the fast-growing population. The high, cool moun­ tains have a long and involved geologic history and a wealth of rocks, ores, and minerals. The climate they help create belies the summer heat and produces a richness and a variety of plant and animal life which all may enjoy. Without the expert knowledge of Hugo Rodeck and his staff the selection and checking of data would have been difficult if not impossible. Richard Beidleman of Colorado College also made his wide field experience available. May I thank Gordon Alexander, William C. Bradley, John B. Chronic, Don Eff, Gladys R. Gary, Russell M. Honea, Edna Johnson, Albert Knorr, Urless N. Lanham, T. Paul Maslin, Clarence J. McCoy, John Rohner, Orner Stewart, Lowell E. Swenson, William A. Weber and Joe Ben Wheat of the University of Colorado Museum; also Robert P. Allen, H. Raymond Gregg, Arnold B. Grobman, Donald F. Hoffmeister, and Alexander Sprunt IV. Thanks go, also, to the artist, Su Zan Noguchi Swain, to Sonia Bleeker Zim for her work on the Indian tribes, and to all those who provided photographs.

H. S. Z

©Copyright 1964 by Western Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved including rights of reproduction and use in any form or by any means, in� eluding the making of copies by any photo process, or by any electronic or mechanical device, printed or written or oral, or recording for sound or visual reproduction or for use in any knowledge retrieval system or device, un­ less permission in writing is obtained from the copyright proprietor. Produced in the U.S.A. by Western Publishing Company, Inc. Published by Golden Press, New York, N.Y. library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 64-11054.


HERE ARE THE ROCKIES .... . ... . An i ntroduction to the great mou nta i n system that forms the backbone of North America. Cli mate; more information.


ROCKY MOUNTAI NS TODAY ... :... 15 The old and new cities, their attractions. Tours and touring; calendar of events.


I ndian tribes of the mountains and adjacent plains; the Spanish explorers and the French trap· pers. Lewis and Clark and the opening of the re · gion; mi ning, settlement and rai l roads.

THE G EOLOGIC STORY. . . . . 43 The ancient lands that were uplifted and altered

to b u i l d the Rockies; the deposits of rocks and minerals and the unusual fossils.

ROCKY M O U NTAI N PLANTS... 61 The rich variety of plants from the plains to the mountain tops.

Fl owers . . . .



62 73

The rich and d iversified a n i mal life with species now becoming rare.

Mammals . B i rds . . . . Fishes . . . .. . . . Amphibians, Reptiles I nsects . WHAT TO SEE A N D DO ... . 87 97 1 08 1 1 0 1 1 3

N .ational Parks, Monuments and Forests; state parks, m u s e u m s , camping , sports a n d other outdoor activities.

I N DEX ... . ... . ... . ... . 87



this book is an arbitrary area of some 400, 000 square miles, encompass­ ing the core of the Rockies. Its 2, 200-mile length includes parts of 5 states


The Rocky Mountains form a 5,000- m i l e jagged back­ bone for North America from Mexico to Alaska . More t h a n a h u nd red north -south ra nges m a ke u p this mounta i n co m p l ex wh i c h reaches its greatest width (300 m i l es) in Colorado and Uta h . Colorado a lone boasts of 54 peaks over 1 4,000 ft high. Mt. El bert in

/"i Col orado rea ches u p to 1 4,4 1 9 feet but /

this fal l s far short of Alaska's Mt. McKi n l ey,_/



ft \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \





T h e Rockies a re not a l l m o u n ta i n o u s . Between and aro u n d t h e snow-ca pped ranges a nd conifer-covered sl opes are natural parkl a nds, extensive p latea u s, brush· covered flats and semi-ari d deserts. H uge ra nches a nd fa rmlands h u g the mounta i n s where land h a s been cleared a n d water made ava i lable.

At fi rst a gri m barrier to conti n e ntal con q uest, the Roc kies gra d u a l ly bega n to attract settl ers beca u se of fu rs, m i n erals, forests a n d agri c u ltural l a nd fou n d there. Later, people came beca use of the sti m u lating climate a n d s u pe r b scenery. The Roc ky M o u n ta i n region, still frontier cou ntry at the tu rn of the centu ry, i s now boom· i n g in popul ation, i n d u stri a l d evel opment a n d c u ltural growt h . Vacationers and new residents joi n the old-ti mers in enjoy i n g the freedom and exh i l a ration " o u t where the West begi n s . "

Upturned edges o f sandstone layers have eroded into unusual shapes; near Colorado Springs, Colorado


Bob and lro Spring

Hereford cattle pasture at the foot of the Sawto.oth Mountains near Stanley, Idaho

The great Rocky Mou nta i n system is often d ivided i nto a northern a n d a southern pa rt, w h i c h are sepa rated by broken platea us extending from the Wyoming Basin to the Sna ke R iver Pla i n . The Northern Rockies begin north and west of Yel lowstone Nation a l Pa rk a n d extend on north· westwa rd i nto Canada and Alaska .

The Southern Rocki es a re m a i n l y long, u p l i fted ridges wh ich, i n risi ng, have u pturned l ayers of sedi ments on either side. I n the north the Rockies a re more massive a n d d o n ot form ri dges with u ptu rned footh i l l s . I n both a reas the Rockies form the Continenta l Divide, where the slopes turn ra i n and melting snow i nto either the Atla ntic or the Pacific drai nage. The Divi d e and most Roc ky ra nges are crossed by mounta i n passes (the l owest usable paths


across the mounta i ns), th rough which roads and ra i l roads f u n ne l at el evati o n s between 7 , 500 a n d· 1 2 , 000 ft. The d iscovery of South Pass in 1 8 1 2 and oth ers afterwa rd h a stened t h e opening of t h e West. Colorado h a s 1 36 na med passes, a nd the total n u mber for the Rockies may approach 500.

In general, mounta i n soi l is poor a n d rocky but in the natural basi ns or parks a re rich grasslands. On the flanks of the Rockies-espec i a l l y to the east and i n river val l eys -the soi l i s good and, with i rrigation, prod uces fine crops. I r r i gation m e a n s that corn, alfa lfa, m e l o n s, sugar beets a n d truck crops can be ra i sed . Without i rrigati on, d ry fa r m i ng m a y prod uce sorgh u m, w h eat, corn or enough grass for past u re. What used to be open ra nge is now fenced a n d i m proved for cattle. Sheep ma ke the most of th i n ner m o u ntai n pastures.

The water of mounta i n strea ms and la kes i s carried by i ngen ious t u n nels and ditches to su pply power and i rriga­ tion needs. Other natural resou rces of the Rockies i ncl ude great forests of pine, spruce and _fir with some hardwoods at lower l evel s. The geologic activity that fol lowed the u p­ l ift of the mounta i n s honeycom bed the co u n try rock with veins rich in lead, zinc, silver, gol d and copper. Petroleum has been d i scovered i n the Wyo m i n g basir<rs and else­ where. Coal is m i ned in the Rocky Mou nta i n foothi l l s.

The exploitation of th ese natural resou rces a nd the region's c l i m ate and geogra p h i c position h ave created i n­ d u stries w h i c h bol ster the m o u n ta i n eco n o my. Ra pid tra n s portation by rai l and air, p l u s the sec u r i ty of the i n­ l a n d a rea , m a ke the region attractive to new atomic and el ectron i c i nd u stries as wel l a s to heavy a n d l ight manu­ fa cturi ng. The region i s far l ess dependent u pon eastern man ufacturi ng than it was a generation ago.


The to u ri st a n d visitor a re attracted by what m i ght be con sidered lesser natu ra l resou rces. But the combi nation of c l i m ate, scenery a n d a r i c h ness of native p l a nts and a n i mals expresses the u n ique physical and biologic factors that u n ite to m a ke this regi on so outsta n d i ng. Besides, the Rockies a re more centra lly located than one might bel ieve . Denver, the gateway to the Rockies, is 830 a i r m i l e s fro m L o s Angeles, 9 1 0 f r o m C h i cago, 1 , 460 from Was h i ngton, 1 , 200 from 'Atla nta , 1 , 020 from Seattle, and 1 , 080 from New Orlea ns.

Rich farms fill the river valleys near Missoula, Montana

B o b a n d Ira Spring


ROCKY M O U NTAI N CLI MATE i s affected by a ltitude, lati­

t u d e and geogra phy. Te m perature fa l l s a bout 31h0F.

with every thousand feet of e l i m b a n d d rops a bo u t 1 V2°

as one moves north one degree of latitude (about 66

m i l es) . Dayti me s u m mer te mperatu res may be warm or h ot, but n i ghts a re cool . I n mounta i n va l l eys, wi nter tem­ peratu res may d rop to -60°F. but t h e low h u midity hel ps mod ify the effect of both heat a n d col d . Snow may be heavy t h rough spring and may pers i st in the mountai ns a l l s u m mer. Western slopes get the most moist u re . The ea stern " ra i n s h a d ow" may get as l ittl e as ten i nches a yea r. Skies a re cloud less or nea rly so, with some su mmer t h u nderstorms. In winter the u n u s u a l c h i nook winds blow down the ea st slopes, ra i s i ng t h e temperatu re m a r kedly i n j u st a few hours.

CLI MATIC DATA FOR SOME ROCKY MOUNTAI N CITIES Alti- lati- Slope Avg. Jan. Avg. July Annual

City tude tude E. or W. temp. temp. precip.

Banff, Alberta 4, 53B ft. 5 l'N East 1 3"F 57"F 2 1 in.

Ca lga ry. Al berta 3.439 ft. 5l'N East IB' F 7 5"f 17 in.

Missoula , Mont. 3,223 ft. 47'N West 22'F 6B'F 14 in. Helena. Mont. 4.047 ft. 47'N East 20'F 66'F 13 in.

B utte, Mont. 5.7 1 6 ft. 46'N West 23'F 65'F 14 in. W. Yel lowstone, Mont. 6.667 ft. 45'N East 1 3'F 5B'F 19 in. Rapid City, S.D. 3,229 ft. 44'N Ea st 23'F 72' F !B in. Sun Val ley, Idaho 6,000 ft. 44'N West 3 l'F B2'F !B in. Boise, I daho 2,B42 ft. 44'N West 27'F 75'F 1 1 in.

Casper, Wyo. 5 , 1 23 ft. 43'N East 26'F 72'F 1 5 in. Pocatello, Idaho 4,461 ft. 43'N West 26'F 72' F 13 in. Rock Springs, Wyo. 6 , 2 7 1 ft. 42'N West 1 9'F 69'F 7 in. C heyen ne, Wyo. 6.060 ft. 4l"N East 27'F 67'F 16 in. Salt lake City, Utah 4,390 ft. 40'N West 30' F 77'F 16 in. Vernal, Utah 5,050 ft. 40"N West 1 7'F 70'F 9 in. Denver, Colo. 5, 2BO ft. 40'N East 32"F 73'F 14 in. leadville, Colo. 10, 1BB ft. 39'N East IB'F 56'F 20 in.

Colorado Spr., Colo. 5,900 ft. 39'N East 30'F 6B' F 14 in. Gunnison, Colo. 7,6B l ft. 39'N West B"F 6l'F lO in.


Sob and Ira Spring Changes i n life zones a re evident in the Seven Devi l s R a n ge, Idaho. C o nifers thin out at higher altitudes

LIFE ZO NES i nc l u d e com m u n ities of pla nts a n d a n i mals

which, i n turn, reflect the relationsh i p between cli mate and a ltitude. Each thousand feet u p the Rockies bri ngs a tern· perature d rop eq u a l to a 200- m i l e jou rney north . Since te m perat u re a n d rainfa l l often d ete r m i n e t h e k i n d of plants that w i l l su rvive, typical com m u n ities develop in a reas that h ave a common local cli mate. Thus, as one c l i m bs the Rockies, the changes he sees in plant and ani­ m a l l ife reflect the same c h a nges he wo u l d see if he had traveled nort h .

T h e plant comm u nities and t h e l ife zones they form a re not clear cut. The western s i d e of the Rockies h a s more ra i n fa l l t h a n the ea stern slopes and this ma kes for richer p l a nt l ife. The Rockies, as covered i n t h i s book, extend over 2 , 000 m i les north and south, so the average


a t u res r u n some 20° l ess i n t h e Ca nad i a n Rockies than in central Col orado. I n Colorado, one m u st c l i m b to 1 1 ,500 feet to reach the ti m berl ine, the poi nt a bove which no trees grow. The ti m berl i n e is at about 9 , 000 feet i n Mon· tana and at only 7 , 000 feet i n northern Al berta .

S p r i ng ten ds to come a bout one day l ater a n d f a l l one day earlier for every 1 00-ft. rise in elevati on. This makes s u m mer at the Colorado t i m berl i n e only a bout six weeks long-from J u ly to mid-August. The t i ny a l pi n e flowers growing in m ats a nd cushions (pp. 62-63) b u rst i nto bloom a l l at once a nd a re soon gone. B i rd s at t i m berl ine nest later and migrate ea rlier than those on the Plai ns.

Below is a chart of the general ized l ife zones for the Rockies of Colorado. Fa rther north t h e wa rm Sonoran Zone d i s appears and the other zones are at l ower levels. In m u c h of the Rockies t h e Tra nsition and Ca nadian zones fuse and overlap. The treatment of flowers, shru bs, trees, mammals and b i rds (pp. 62-107) genera l ly follows a zonal pattern which w i l l both help one to recognize life zones and m a ke identification easier.


Zone Location Elevation Typical plants

Arctic· above timber· over Alpine grasses. l ichens,

Alpine l i ne 1 1.500 ft. sedges, Dwarf Willow Hudso,.ian high mountains 1 1 , 500 Limber Pine, Engelmann

to timberline 10,000 Spruce, Bristlecone Pine Canadian lower mountains 10,000 Quaking Aspen, Lodge·

8,000 pole Pine, Douglas Fir,

Ponderosa Pine Transition foothi l l s 8,000 Pinon Pine,

6,000 oaks, Rocky Mt. Juniper

U pper 6,000 Cottonwood, willows,


Bob and Ira Spring A variety of accommodations are available for visitors in the Rockies; this i s a chalet in Glacier National Park

THE V I SI TOR comes to the Rockies with a pa rcel of clear expectations. H e w i l l not be d i sappoi nted . The su mmer c l i mate is sti m u lating and the cool nights a re restf u l . The scenery is u n riva l ed . Activities range from d ude ranch ing, h u nting, fishing and ca mping down to pla i n , u nadu lter· ated relaxation. Enjoy the Rockies to the fullest, but come prepa red . R e m e m ber, it takes a bit of t i m e to get accl i· m ated to altitudes over 7,000 ft. Avoid exerti on the fi rst few days. Wea r a ppropriate, comforta ble clot h i ng and have wa rm jackets or sweaters for the cool even i ngs. Stu rdy s hoes ma ke wa l ki ng a pleasure. Don't be deceived by d i s· tances on a road map. Mounta i n d riving req u i res care and should be done slowly. Stop often to enjoy the scenery a n d to relax . C heck before ta k i n g u ngraded mou ntain roads or local s hort cuts. In su mmer th ere may be mos· q u itoes a long la kes and strea m s and biting flies in the forests. Ticks occ u r in grasslands and brush l and. Some t i c k s a re carriers of d i sease. R attl ers a re fo u n d but not commonly i n t h e mounta i ns. Leave them alone. I n short, take the same c a re out-of-doors that you wou l d at home. 1 3


M ORE I N FORMAT I O N on the Rockies may be had from

federa l a n d state sources.

N ational Forests: U . S. Forest Service, for E . Wyo. and Colo., Federal Center, Denver 2 , Colo. For W. Wyo., Utah and S. Idaho, Forest Service Bldg. , Ogden, Utah. For N. Idaho, Mont., Federal Bldg., M i ssoula, Mont. National Parks and Monuments: National Pa rk Service, Washington 25, D.C., or

the regional office for the Rockies, National Park Service, Omaha 2, Nebraska. COLORADO Adv. and Publ icity Dept. , Capitol Bldg. , Denver 2

WYO M I N G Travel Comm., State Ofc. Bldg. , Cheyenne I DAHO State Dept. of Commerce & Dev., Capitol Bldg. , Boise MONTANA Travel and Adv. Dept. , State Highway Comm., Helena UTAH Road and Tourist I nfo., State Ca pitol Bldg. , Salt Lake City B R ITISH COLUMBIA Gov't Travel Bureau, Parliament Bldg., Victoria, B.C. ALBERTA Gov't Travel Bureau , Legislative Bldg., Edmonton, Alberta MAPS a re essentia l . Use road m a ps from several sou rces, espec i a l l y to check m i nor roa d s . Deta i l ed topogra ph ic maps a re fine for h i kers. Write U . S. Geological Su rvey, Washi ngton 25, D.C . , for a free key map of each state you· desi re and for order forms.

B O O KS on t h i s .region a re plentifu l . Most deal with speci· fie s u bjects , s u c h as h i story, m i n i ng, trees, or bi rds. Below are some guides and general i ntrod u ctions. Those of t h e W. P. A. Writers' Proj ect tend to be dated but sti l l h ave a wealth of pertinent deta i l .

Colorado Ormes, Robert M . , G U I D E T O COLORADO MOUNTAINS, Sage, 1955. ·writers' Project, COLORADO, Rev. Ed., 1 9 5 1 , Hasti ngs.

Wyoming Bonney, 0. H. and L., G U I DE TO T H E WYO M I N G MOUNTA I N S AND WI LDERNESS AREAS, 1 960, Sage. Writers' Project, WYOM I NG, G U I DE TO ITS H I STORY, H I GHWAYS AND PEOPLE, 1941, Oxford U niv. Press.

Idaho Writers' Project, I DAHO, A G U I D E IN WORD A N D PICTURE, 1 950, Oxford Univ. Press.

Montana Writers' Project, MONTANA, Rev. Ed., 1 955, H astings. Howard, Joseph K . , MONTANA, H I G H , W I D E AND HAN DSO M E , Rev. Ed . , 1 959, Yale. Utah Writers' Project, UTAH, Rev. Ed., 1 954, Hastings.

British Columbia Goodchild, Fred H., B R I T I S H COLU M B IA, I TS H I STORY, PEOPLE AND I N DUSTRY, 1 9 5 1 , Macmillan. Ormsby, M. A., BRITISH COLUM· BIA, 1958, Macmillan.


Josef Muench Denver' s Civic Center, viewed from the dome of the State Capitol Building, is a symbol of the Rockies' growth

During the next decades centennials of a l l sorts wi l l be celebrated u p a n d down the Rockies. Colorado began in 1 9 59 with the cente n n i a l of its gol d r u s h . All these cele­ brations w i l l serve as rem i n ders of the prodigious growth of t h i s region. Progress has not been steady. At the half­ century point many m i ni ng booms had al ready bu rst. Towns were a ba ndoned as the ores gave out. But the seco nd half­ centu ry has seen a pronou nced change . N ew dams and tun­ nels have made cheap power a n d i rrigation water ava i l a­ b l e . T h e a i rplane h a s su pplemented roa d s a n d ra i l roads to bring the Rockies within a few hours of both coasts. New h eavy i n d u stry h a s sta b i l i zed the economy, and old sta nd bys l i ke cattl e and sheep raisi ng, l u m ber and fa rm­ i ng h ave become more prod u ctive. New a n d bigger cities boast of school s , u niversities, pa rks, zoos a n d m u seu ms. As you pass t h rough cities l i sted on the next th ree pages watch for worthwh i l e thi ngs to see and do.


State of Colorado The U.S. Air Force Academy, in the foothills just north of Colorado Springs


Denver: mile·high capital of, and larg· est city i n , Colo. Establi shed in 1860 by prospectors and miners i n eastern shadow of Rockies. Growi ng commer· c i a l , agri c u l t u ra l and vacation center. Site of U . S . M i nt. Air Force base and sc�ool . U niv. of Denver, colleges, mu· se u m s, zoo, and many m u n i c i pally owned mountain parks.

Colorado Springs: Resort city. Toll road and cog train to 14, 1 1 0·ft. sum· mit of Pi kes Peak. Has broad streets. fine homes and parks; art center. Colo. College. Will Rogers Shrine, Garden of the Gods; Zoo; USAF Academy; home of N.A. Air Defense Command. Pueblo: Steel plant, man ufacturing center. i rrigated valley area. State fa i r and rodeo.

Grand Junction: Nearby mineral de· posits and i rrigated farmlands. Gate· way to Colo. Nat. Mon. Visit observa· tory in Gr<jnd Mesa Nat. Forest, which a l so has ski slopes and tows. B oulder: Univ. of Colo. and M u seum; N at. B u reau of Sta ndards lab. Winter sports, Chautauqua summer program;

a n n u a l rodeo. Fine mountain parks and Flagstaff scenic highway. Greeley: Agricultural marketing center esta b l i s h ed by famous editor of N .Y. Tribune, Horace G reeley. Colorado State College, Meeker M e morial Mu· seum. U SDA Experimental Station. Fort Collins: Agricultural center and residenti al city, home of Colo. State Univ.; Pioneer Museum. Follow Route 14 west to Mountain Park and fish hatcheries.


Helena: Capital o f Montana. Past and present l i nked with gold , silver and lead m i n i ng. M u s e u m , a rt g a l l ery, cathedral .

Butte: Extensive u nderground copper and zinc mines. Agricultural and stock center. School of M i n e s h a s fine museum.

G reat Falls: I n d u strial a n d financial center - l a rgest city i n Monta n a . Art g a l l ery, a n n u a l state fair and rodeo. Giant Springs and Lewis and Clark N ational Forest are nearby.


Bozeman: In rich agricultural and live.­ stock land of Gallatin Valley. Montana State Col l ege sta rted here in 1893. N earby is Gallatin Nat. Forest and the Gallatin Gateway of Yel lowstone Nat. Park.

Livingston: Railroad center, timber in­ d u stries. Scenic d rive from here goes to Gardiner, entrance to Yellowstone· Nat. Park.

Billings: Rail center, oil and sugar re· fi neries. H i storical m u s e u m , scenic drives. Headquarters for nearby Custer

Nat. Forest. Annual rodeo.

Anaconda: Copper smelter. Nearby c a m pgro unds, f i s h i n g , l a kes and strea ms, d i n o s a u r beds. Abu ndant wildlife in Pintlar Wilderness Area.

Missoula : T r a i n i n g school for Forest Service Smokejumpers. Livestock auc­ tions, Montana State University. Fish, game and guides nearby.

Kalispell: Agric u l t u ral market center s u rrounded by recreation areas in· e l u d i ng H u ngry H orse D a m , Glacier Nat. Park, Flathead Lake and Flathead Nat. Forest.


Casper: Center o f s h e e p , cattle and oil region. Replica of Ft. Caspar. Near­ by are Casper M o u nta i n Park, Hell's Half Acre and I ndependence Rock. Cheyenne: Home of world·fa mout Frontier Days in J u ly; m a i n t a i n s Old West flavor throughout year. State's la rgest city and capital. Commercial, ranching and rail center su rrounded by ranch country.

Lara mie: Quiet western town between mountain ranges. Ranching and sports· m e n ' s center. Site of University of Wyoming; fossil museum.


Idaho Falls: I d a h o ' s second l a rgest city, has waterfal l s and picnic a reas. Nearby lands irrigated by Snake River prod uce gra i n and potatoes. Atomic Energy Commission's national reactor testing station j u st west of city on Lost R iver Plains.

Pocatello: On Oregon Trail in broad valley of Snake River at western edge of Rockies. Trading, rai l road and col­ lege center. Near giant American Falls 'Reservoir (irrigation a n d power) and historic site of Old Fort H a l l .


Salt Lake City: Ca pital o f Uta h . N ear desert, Great Salt La ke a n d moun­ tains. World headq uarters of Mormon C h u r c h ; f a m o u s for M o r m o n Ta ber­ nacle, choir, and temple. La rgest city between Denver and West Coast. Agri­ cultural, industrial, mining, especially copper, and cultural center. Museums, art collections, colleges and university. qgden: I m portant rail center and ship­ ping point for livestock. Utah's second la rgest city. Lies between mou ntains and Great Salt La ke. Site of U . S . For­ est Service experimental station. East through Ogden Canyon is Snow Basin wi nter sports a rea.

Provo: A c u l t u ral and steel center near rich agri c u l t u ra l l a n d . Site of Mormon Brigham Young Univ. Nearby and to the north towers Mt. Timpa­ nogos ( 1 2,008 ft.).

Logan: Site of Utah State Univ. Lo­ cated on edge of h i storic a n d fertile Cache Va l l ey. Logan Ca nyon leads northeast to Bear Lake.



C a l gary: Zoological a n d n a t u r a l his· tory park has models of d i nosaurs. Site of fish hatchery, bird sanctuary, packing pla nts and flour m i l l s . Gate· way to Ba nff and Jasper Nat. Pks. Lethbridge: Sugar beet refine ries, vegetable canning and freezing plants. Visit l a rge earth-fil l ed dam on St. Mary's River and Waterton-Giacier In· ternational Peace Park.

B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A Revelstoke: First settled a s a railroad center, now h a s farming, l u mber and mining as chief industries. Mt. Revel·

stoke Nat. Park h e a d q u a rters are here. Located at j u nction of Col umbia and l l leci l l ewaet rivers.

Nelson: On west branch of Kootenay Lake; has complete tourist facilities. Nearby a re ghost tQwns, old settle· ments and picnicking and sports areas. Kimberley: Site of the famous Sullivan Mine, the worl d ' s la rgest prod ucer of lead, zinc and silver. Tours. Trail: I n a narrow valley on the banks of the Columbia River. Public park, beaches, and outdoor theater. Tour the .fa mous Cominco smelter (produc· ing si lver, lead and zinc) and its chemi· cal fertilizer plant.

Spires of the Mormon Temple are a landmark i n Salt lake C ity Union Pacific Railroad


Bob and Ira Spring

A family camps at 1 2,000 ft. near Continental Divide in Colorado TOU R I N G THE ROC KIES is more f u n if yo u do some ad· vance planni ng. Send for road ma ps, g u i d e books and travel folders. Major oil companies offer free tou r aid. Remember t h i s i s mountainous cou ntry-try to keep each day' s travel wel l u nder 300 miles. M a ke reservafions for hotels and resorts. Arrive early to get ca m psites d u ri ng the busy s u m mer season. Sta rt you r day early and stop early. T h i s gi ves you more t i m e for side tri ps, recreation, fish­ ing or loca l sightseei ng.

Best time for travel in the Rockies is late J u ne to early Septe mber. H igher elevati ons may be snowbo u nd i nto early J u ly. Check ti res and brakes before sta rti ng. Traffic, ga me and conservation laws vary, a s do ca m psite costs, entrance a nd admi ssion fees. Check in advance. Use your ca r ' s ash tray a nd a litter bag. Keep cam psites clean. Try one of ttie following suggested tou rs or plan you r own after checking the last section of this book (pp. 1 1 6- 1 56). 1 9



Chttkcurrent hlchw�ymaps fOr new Interstate •nd Defense Hllhw�ys

TWO TOURS th rough the Rockies, each p l a n ned for one wee k , w i l l give you a c h a nce to see the northern or southern Roc kies-or bot h . Both trips sta rt from Yel low· stone Pa rk but you can pick them u p at any place en route. The fi rst tou r, to the nort h , covers 1 ,700 m i l es i n a week, but try to add a few extra days at Yel l owstone at the begi n n i ng' or the end , as you r sched u l e permits . .


1st day: From Gardiner via U . S . 89 and 10 to Three Forks, then north on Route 287 to Helena (capital and museums) to spend the night.

2nd day: Continue north on Route 287 to Browning; then circle south and west on U .S. 2 to West Glacier.

3rd day: Drive back east through Glacier N . P. to St. Mary; swing north on U.S. 89 and Canada 2 to Calgary, or use Routes 6 and 3 from Babb to visit Waterton Park en route.

4th day: Move from the plains back i nto the mountains via Route 1 to Banff. See Lake Louise and head west via lA or lB to Route 95. Take the 1 60-mile trip north to the Col u mbia Ice Field if you have a n extra day. Spend the night at Radium Hot Springs on Rout� 95.

5th day: Head south on Route 95 to Cra nbrook; then on 93 and cross the border. On to White Fish or Kalispell for the night.

6th day: Continue on 93 to Missoula and then on U.S. 10 to Anaconda. Visit the copper smelters.

7th day: Return on U .S. lOS and 10 to Bozeman and south on U.S. 191 to West Yel lowstone. Here the park and road system connects to Gardiner and to roads east and south.

South tri p is a bit shorter but has a greater east-west swing. Denver can be visited or by- passed d e pend i ng on you r feeling a bout big cities. The m useums a n d parks a re excellent.

1st day: From Yellowstone N . P. take U.S. 89 through Grand Teton N . P.; then via Montpelier and Logan Canyon to Ogden, Uta h .

2nd day: Drive south through S a l t Lake City on U.S. 9 1 . Take cutoff t o Timpano· gos Cave N. Mon. Conti n u e on to H eber, and swing east on U . S . 40 to Vernal . 3rd day: Conti nue east on U . S . 4 0 , visiti ng Di nosa u r N . M . Stay on 4 0 , turning short of Granby onto U .S. 34 and Grand Lake.

4th day: Start early through Rocky Mountain N . P. over Trail R idge Road to Estes Park. Take Routes 66 and 7 to Boulder ( U . of Colo.); toll t u rnpike to Den­ ver (capita l , parks and museums) or take 1 1 9 as a cutoff. Push west on U .S. 6 to Dowds and south on U.S. 24 to Leadvi lle.

5th day: Continue south and east on U.S. 24 via Buena Vista and Flori ssant to Colorado Springs. A side road takes you u p Pi kes Peak. See the Garden of the Gods and Air Force Academy, then on to Denver via the freeway.

6th day: Via U . S . 87 or 287 to Fort Col l i ns, then on U.S. 287 to Lara mie and Rawlins.

7th day: Continue on U.S. 287 to Lander, then turn east and north via 789 and ' 20 to Cody and on to east entrance of Yel lowstone Nat. Park.


CALENDAR OF EVENTS (Verify locally and check tor specific dates)

January Nat. Western Livestock Show, Horse Show a n d Rodeo, Denver. April Red Rock Park, Denver-and elsewhere-Easter Sunday sunrise

ser-vices in natural a m phitheaters.

May Cherry Blossom Festival, Canon City, Colo. ; Sports Car Races, Memorial Day, La J u nta, Col o . ; Vigilante Parade and Mont. I n stitute of Arts Festival, Helena, Mont. ; Gold Spi ke Festival, Ogden, Uta h ; Apple Blossom Festival , Fayette, Idaho (first week); Fishing Derby (May-Nov.), Sandpoint, Idaho; Log Drive Festival, Priest River, Idaho.

June Rodeos, Billings and Miles City, Montana; I ndian Sun Dances at Man· lana reservations: State Mi neral and Gem Show, Rock Springs, Wyo . ; Pack Burro Race across Mosquito Pass, Leadville, Colo. ; Central City Festival, Cen· tral City, Colo. (through Aug.); Horse Show and Rodeo, continues fi rst week of J u ly, Greeley, Colo.

July Sum me r season of cultural events a nd entertain ment at Aspen, Cen­ tral City, Denver, etc. Make local inquiry. Widespread July 4th rodeos, celebrations, festivities and speeches. Sum m e r Chautauqua, Boulder, Colo. (through Aug.); Pow Wow Days, Rodeo (last week), Boulder; Rodeo and Pioneer celebration (2nd week), Canon City, Colo .; Cattlemen's Days Rodeo (3rd week), Gun nison, Colo.; Pioneer Day Rodeo (late July), I d aho Falls; Snake River Sta mpede, Na mpa, Ida .; Frontier Days celebration, Cheyenne, Wyo.; Calga ry Exhibition and Sta mpede (week following July 4); Pioneer Days, rodeos, parades, pageants (late July), Ogden, Utah; U. of Utah Music Festival (early July) a nd Days of '47 celebrations, Salt LaKe City; I ndia n sun da nces and ceremonies, B rowning a n d Fort Belk nap, Montana; Rodeos, Livingston, Red Lodge, Mont.; Wolf Point Stampede (mid-July), Wolf Point, Mont.

August Yacht Club Regatta, Grand Lake, Colo.; Kids' Rodeo, La Junta , Colo. ; State F a i r a nd Rodeo (late Aug. o r early Sept.), Pueblo, Colo.; Pi kes Peak or Bust Rodeo, Colo. Springs; All American I ndian Days celebration ( 1 st week), Sheridan, Wyo.; Gift of the Waters I ndian Pageant (Hot Spri ngs State Park), Ther mopolis, Wyo. ; Central Wyo. Fa i r and Night Rodeo (mid ·Aug), Ca sper, Wyo.: M idla nd Empire Fair and Rodeo (mid·Aug.), Billings, Mont . ; Northern Mont. State Fa ir and Rodeo ( 1 st week), Great Falls, Mont. ; Nat. Fresh Water Trout Derby, Festival of Nations, Livi ngston, Mont . ; War Bonnet Rou ndup (mid·Aug.), Idaho Fall s, Ida.

September Aspencade (guided tour of the high country-m id·Sept.), Steam· boat Springs, Colo. ; Utah State Fair, Salt Lake City, Utah; Peach Day (rodeo, wrestli ng, boxing), Brigham, Utah; N. W. Monta na Fai r and Rodeo, Kali spell, Mont . ; State Fa ir and Rodeo, Douglas, Wyo.; Rodeo (Labor Day weekend), Thermopolis, Wyo . ; National Steer Roping Finals, Lara mie, Wyo.; Rodeo and Roundup (Labor Day weekend), Lewiston, Idaho.


The Rockies were the homelands of nu merous nomadic tri bes, m a i n l y h u nters of b u ffa lo, deer and e l k . T h ey in· el u d ed the S h oshoni , Ute and Pi ute, who a l so gathered ed i b l e roots a n d seeds . From a bout 1600 eastern tri bes, p u s h ed out of thei r l a n d s by other I nd i a n s a n d , l ater, by wh ite settlers, trekked to the H i g h P l a i n s and Rockies seeking new homes. Those who came prospered , for after 1700 most of the I nd i a n s acq u i red horses a n d bega n to enjoy a more a b u ndant life. They cou ld move faster, h u nt· i n g buffa lo, a n d covered longer d i sta nces when trading with neigh bori ng tribes. Thei r basket- l i ke s h elters gave way to skin covered tipis which could be q u ickly ta ken

down.and moved . Tribes warred over h u nting grounds and

ra ided each other's camps for sheer glory and reckless adventu re. Early contacts with E u ropea ns were beneficial to the tribes, giving them trade goods and oth e r new materia l s. This soon gave way to bloody conf l i cts and wars. There a re no written records of the origi n a l l a n d s and 23


Bands of hunters remained within their tribal boundaries, except dur­ ing raids and warfare. Bands that were isolated from the rest of the tribe might eventually use only their band name. This has led to confu­ sion about tribal names and tribal boundaries.

Old forts 0

o Early settlements Monuments and battlefields

Miles Missions Trails Indian reservations Original triberlands \





11 �� // ·�-H I STO R ICAL MAP







/ .._o O F TH E ROCKI ES

- / v \

� ,/ \

;'/ ,,


early migrations of these people before the coming of

E u ropea n s . By studyi ng tri bal k i n s h i p , rel igions, ian· guages, myths and l egends, a nth ropologists h ave pieced a good pa rt of the story together. We thus know that the Crow, Blackfoot, Shoshoni , Ute a nd Pi ute occupied their l a n d s for a m uch longer time than the rel ative

new-�l���- \ comers, the Cheyenne, Arapa h o , Sioux

\ a nd Assi n i bo i n . The Kutenai , newcomers a l so, were originally buffa l o h u nters who were pushed northwa rd .


T H E S H O S H O N I , UTE, PI UTE A N D BA N N OCK l i ved i n ad­ j oi n i ng territories and spoke Uta-Azteca n l a n g u ages that had a common. origi n . The total popu lation of these tri bes was esti m ated at 1 5, 000, but the I nd i a n s l i ved in bands of a few fa m i l ies each . These ba nds wa ndered over the bar­ ren l a n d s of the basi ns a nd platea u s , led by a c h i ef who was a n a bl e h u nter or an older m a n . W h i l e the men l ooked for ga me, the women and ch i l d ren gathered berries, n uts, and seeds, which they ground i nto meal. T h i s was cooked i n t h e ha ndsome watertight baskets the women s k i l lfully wove. A stew was boi l ed by d ropping heated stones i nto it. These tri bes l ived in wic k i u ps- homes b u i lt of poles a n d reeds , l i ke h uge woven baskets. For warmth they p l a stered the wicki u ps with m u d m i xed with grass. The women ta n n ed deer a nd antelope s k i n s for c l othes and wove plant fi bers to make ski rts. They a l so wove stri ps of rabbit f u r i nto warm robes a n d blankets.

T h i s si mple, i solated l ife cha nged after 1 700. The Sho­ shoni were a mong the fi rst to learn to breed horses in t h e i r sheltered valleys. They traded h orses to the eager P l a i n s h u nters for buffa l o robes, tipi covers, a n d tanned buckskins. Shoshoni traders l i ngered on the Plains to h u nt a nd bega n to feu d with the Blackfoot, the Cheyen ne and Sioux over buffa lo territory.

I n 1 80 5 , a Shoshoni wom a n , Sacaj awea , a n d her h us­ band gui ded the Lewis and Clark Expedition across the Rockies, and i ntrod uced the explorers to her people. Thus peacef u l relations with the wh ites bega n . After 1 869, the Shoshoni and Ban nock entered reservations at Ft. H a l l , Lem h i a n d Wind R iver. T h e i r c h i ef, Wa s h a k i e , s a i d at the time that he was yiel d i ng to the " s u perior tools and terri­ ble wea pons of the whites . "


Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology Early photograph of Shoshone camp in Wyoming; the tent in the foreground is that of Chief Washakie

The Ute ra ided Spanish a n d Pueblo Ind i a n settlements to t h e south a n d occasi o n a l l y crossed t h e mou ntains to t h e Colorado Plains to h u nt buffa lo. After they got horses, the warl i ke Ute i ncreased their ra ids. However, they later reti red peacefully to reservations. A "war" flared u p i n 1879 beca use the Ute, a l ready living on short gove r n m e nt rations, were forced i nto fa r m i n g - a n occu· pation they considered unworthy of h u nters and warri ors. The u prising was q u ickly su ppressed . I ronical ly, recent d i scovery of oil and u ra n i u m on their reservations has put the modern Ute among the wealthiest Ind i a n s .

T h e Pi ute, w h i c h m a y mea n "true Ute," l i ved ma i n ly a s p l a n t and seed gatherers, while t h e Ban nock-a detached branch of the Northern Piute-beca me buffalo h u nters. I n 1860 t h e Pi ute clashed with gol d pros pectors. Later they were placed on reservations.


T H E B LACK FOOT, one of the l a rgest (est i m ated popula­ tion 10,000) and most aggressive grou ps of northern buf­ falo h u nters, roamed over a vast territory i n Monta na and Canada. Origina lly from the eastern woodlands, the Black­ foot were so na med beca u se of thei r moccasins, blackened by grass fires started to sta mpede the buffa lo herds.

The Blackfoot were a l l ies of the Blood I nd i a ns, Piegans, Ats i n a and S a rsi . Together they fou ght the Cree, Assi ni­ boi n , Shosho n i , Crow a n d Sioux. By 1 750 the B l a c kfoot had horses; by 1 770, guns. Then they a n d thei r a l l ies r a i ded south for more horses a n d , i nto the Rockies, for caches of f u rs, stored by the French a nd I nd i a n trappers. R i ch and powerf u l , the Blackfoot held rel igious ceremonies honoring the Great Manitou and S u n Dances to assu re good b uffa lo h u nti ng. They traded sacred b u nd les and songs with thei r a l l ies to acq u i re greater h u nti ng powers. They fea sted and gambled and, at cam pfi res, told tales of personal bravery and stories from thei r rich past.

The s m a l l pox epidemics of 1836 , 1 84 5 , and 1 857 brought d isaster to the Blackfoot. Thei r popu l ation was red uced by two t h i rds. Epi demics h i t the neigh boring tri bes and decimated them too. Soon after, the buffalo began to d i sa p pea r and by 1 880, these frightened, de­ mora l i zed people faced starvation. Both the U n ited States and Canadian governments provided rations and cl othi ng, a n d placed the Blackfoot on three s m a l l reservations in the U n i ted States and two in Alberta , Ca nada.

T H E FLAT HEAD, n u m beri ng a bout 3 , 000, were rel ated to the I nd i a n s of the Northwest Coast, a l though the Bitter­ root Va l ley of Montana wa s thei r origi n a l home. They never practiced flatten ing of i nfants' hea d s , but were so na med i n error by the French. The Flathead fought the


louis Frohman-The New York Public library A s u m mer camp of the Blackfoot g athered far buffalo hunting

B l a c kfoot for buffa lo lands, but lost, a n d in the end were pressed northward . I n 1 855 they were placed on reserves nea r Flathead La ke, Montana, a n d i n the Bitterroot Valley. M a ny had a l ready been converted to Catholicism by Father de S met. I n 1 872 part of the Bitterroot Val ley Re­ serve was pu rchased from the Flathead a n d opened to white settlers.

THE K U TENAI, n u m bering only 1 ,000, were b uffalo hunt­ ers in the early days. They were pu shed northward from the Plains by the Si ksi ka and Cree, who were a l l ies of the Blackfoot. The hu nting Kutena i contin ued to l i ve i n tipis. Those who beca me fi shermen a long I d aho and Ca nadian l a kes built lodges of rushes and poles. They s pea red and trapped f i sh from bark canoes, made i n a n a ncient style. The Kute n a i worshi ped the s u n a n d bel ieved thei r dead went there to l i ve. Otherwise, thei r bel iefs were l i ke those of the P l a i n s I nd i a n h u nters. I n 1 8 5 5 a n d 1 867, the Kutena i were put on reservations i n Mo nta na a n d Idaho. 29


PLAINS INDIAN TRIBES, who l i ved along the east front of t h e Rockies, h u nted i n the m o u nta i n va l l eys. T h ey were mainly buffa lo h u nters, though some of them fa rmed .

As tri bes from the rich pra i ries were p u s hed i nto the High P l a i n s , each spread over a territo ry wh ich they later clai med a nd defended as their homela nd. For a l l these newcomers to the Rockies, the buffa lo beca me the main­ stay of l ife, su pplying food , cl oth i ng, a nd shelter. The horse made h u nting and moving easier, and for over a centu ry the Plains tri bes prospered.

In the 1 870's and 1 880's as the buffa l o d i sappeared, the tri bes were defeated and forced to reservati ons. The Plains tri bes living closest to the Rockies were:

T H E C ROW, who call themselves Ab· sa rake (mea n i ng Sparrowhawk. Crow or Bird People). were d ivided into western or Mounta i n Crow and east· er.n or River Crow. Their total popula· lion was about 4,000. Crow men were excepti onal horsemen and skilled craftsmen.

T H E ATSI NA, who n u m bered about 3, 000, a re now at Ft. Belknap Res. i n Montana. They a r e also called Gras Ve nires (big bel l i es), although no stouter than their neigh bors. Their n a m e i n I n d i a n sign la nguage was shown by circling the h a n d s in front of the stomach, signifying "big bel ly." THE ARAPAHO also n u m bered about 3,0 00. T h ey had been corn-g rowers in M i n nesota before coming to the H igh Plains. Although the Arapaho al· ways fought the Shoshoni, they now live on the same reservation at Wind River, Wyomi ng.

THE ASSI NI BOIN, who once numbered some 1 0 , 000, separated from their relatives, the Sioux, and later fought with them. In Ch ippewa language, As­ siniboin means "one who cooks with stones. " The Assi n i boin are now at Ft. Belknap and Ft. Peck Res. in Monta na.

SI OUX i s a contraction of Nadoues­ sioux. It means " enemies" in Chip· pewa , who fought the Sioux when they lived farther east. The Sioux, some 2 5 , 000 strong, invaded and spread west to the Rockies. They became known as Dakota, Nakata and Lakota , meaning "allies."

THE C H EYEN N E were originally Minne­ sota farmers, but qu ickly adopted the ways of the P l a i n s India ns. Number­ i n g some 3 ,000, they seem to have covered more territory while h u nting, warring and raiding than much larger tribes.


T H E SUN DANCE was an ancient Plains ceremony to honor the buffalo and to insure good health and good h u nting. The ceremony lasted for eight days. Most was taken. up i n secret rites, in fasting, prayers and other

The MorgreHa S. Dietrick Collection prepa rations. On the last day the pub­ lic was in vited to watch the partici­ pants pierce their flesh and endure pain to prove their cou rage and enlist the pity of the l ife-giving sun, the god of "good medicine. "


out when trade goods, such as knives, cloth, beads, and guns, became available in the 1860's to the 1880's. Robes, parfleches, moccasins arid buckskin shirts were decorated with dyed porcupine quills and glass beads. Men painted designs on tipis and shields. They carved beautiful pipe bowls of red catlinite and made long pipe stems of ash. Each tribe developed typical designs, and individual

craftsmen became famous. See examples on pp. 32-33

and in local museums (pp. 148-150).


EARLY EXPLORERS AND TRADERS The fi rst white men to see the southern Rockies were Francisco Coronado and his men, who i n 1 540 ma rched north from Mexico in sea rch of gold . None of these Spa n i a rds entered the region covered by thi s book except for two pa rties that came i nto southern a n d western Colorado and into Utah i n 1775-6 and these scarcely entered the Rockies.

D u r i ng the 17th centu ry a flourishing f u r t rade had developed throughout ea stern North America to meet the E u ropean market for beaver, m a rten , m u s k rat, bea r and b u ffa l o. Beaver was i n special demand for men ' s high felt hats, and the s u pply of these a n i m a l s was ra pidly ex· ha u sted . By the early 1700 ' s tra ppers and traders, known

a s voyageurs a nd coureurs de bois, p u shed westward

a l o n g the rivers a n d throu gh' the G reat La kes. These French, Engl i sh and Scotch adventu rers traveled si ngly or i n s m a l l parties . They lived with the Ind i a n s and some m a rried Ind i a n women . The knives a n d bea d s , g u n s and traps they brought were traded for f u rs, and Indians were encou raged to trap and hunt.

This 1 728 map makes t h e first mention o f t h e Rockies (far left)


C. W. Jefferys-Coll. Paul J. W. Glasgow, courtesy Imperial Oil, ltd.-from Trappers and Mountain Men. American Heritage Junior library

verendrye's two sons traveling westward towards the Rockies

One such voyageur from Quebec was Pierre Verendrye

who, with his fou r sons, had a tradi ng post north of Lake S u perior. Here a s he traded , Verend rye picked u p stories of westwa rd-flowing rivers a n d of " mou nta i n s that shi ne night and day. " Later an I nd i a n made a crude chart of the route to the west and put the Rocky Mou nta i n s on a map for the fi rst t i me. Verend rye pushed westwa rd , b u i l d i ng a series of tra d i n g posts. He moved on to the M a ndan in 1 738 a n d probably got as far west as the Black H i l l s i n 1742-43 . Du ring the next 50 yea rs it i s est i mated that

some 5 , 000 voyageurs worked west of the M i ssissi ppi .

I n 1763 a French trader, Pierre Laclede, and his 1 4-year­ old stepson worked their way up the M i ssissippi to below the mouth of the M i ssou ri. Here Laclede picked the site for a trad i ng post, which he na med St. Lou is.


Trappers and Mountain Men. American Heritage Junior library from Travels in the Interior of North America. Maximilian, Prinz zu Wied-Neuwid Yale University library

A conte mporary artist pictures a Gros Ventre Indian attack on a keelboat at the m o uth of Montana' s Bighorn River in 1 8 33

THE U NITED STATES took over most of the Roc kies as pa rt of t h e vast 8 27, 000 sq u a re m i les a c q u i red as the Lou isiana P u rchase from France i n 1 803 . With $2, 500 voted by Congress, and with President Jefferson ' s bless­ ing, Meriwether Lewis and Wi l l i a m Clark started to explore the 1 5 m i l l ion dol l a r p u rchase. They wi ntered i n Ma ndan I nd i a n v i l l ages in North Da kota and, with the hel p of a Shoshoni woman (p. 26), crossed the Rockies i n 1 805, re­ turning the next year. About the sa me ti me, Zebu lon Pi ke headed west to d iscover the mounta i n that bea rs h i s name. The opti m i stic reports of Lewi s a n d C l a r k sped Ameri­ can trappers on thei r tra i l . With i n a yea r they were work­ ing the u pper M i ssouri and Platte rivers. One, John Colter, d iscovered the Yel l owstone geysers. Soon competing com­ pan ies were p u s h i ng thei r way i nto the Rockies. St. Lou is beca me the capital of the American fur trade by 1820. From here keel boats went up the M i ss o u r i a n d its b r a nches ca rrying trade goods and bri ngi ng back furs.

Mea n w h i le, i n Ca n a d a the H u d so n ' s Bay Com pany merged with the N orth West Company i n 1 82 1 and com­


bi ned thei r resou rces to p u sh the i r f u r trade i nto the Roc kies where Flathead a n d Kutenai s u p p l ied the pelts. A merican compan ies were havi ng thei r trou bles with the B l a c kfoot a n d the Ari kara. They hi red agents, a mong others M i ke Fink, Jeded iah Smith and J im Bridger, who re­ cruited trappers an<;! worked with them through the moun­ ta i n s from Montana to Colorado. Each yea r these moun­ tain men met nea r the G reen River in southern Wyoming to replen i sh s u ppl ies, to trade and to m a ke merry. The l a st great ren dezvous was held i n 1 837. C h a nging styles and overtra pping had brought the f u r trade to a halt.

Another A merican, John Fremont, was a s u rveyor on a M i ssouri R i ve r exped ition i n 1 838-4 1 . He was joi ned by Kit Carson i n exploring the Rockies. They moved west, a n d after a period i n Cal ifornia, Fremont returned to su rvey Rocky Mountain passes for a tra nsconti nenta l rai l road . I nformation from thi s su rvey p repa red the way for the c ross-cou ntry rai l l i n k completed some ten yea rs later.

last great trade rendezvous along the Green River in Wyoming ' s Wind River Mountains i n 1 837


I. N. Phelps Stokes Collection, Prints Division, New York Public Library Salt lake City as it appeared in 1 867

MINING AND SETTLEM ENT went ha nd i n hand as the Rockies were opened u p by traders a n d settlers.

At the ti me of the Lou isiana P urchase, the territory the U . S. acq u i red had a n est i mated pop u l ation of 50, 000 to 80,000, m a i n l y French. I t a l so i nc l uded a few descend· ants of the S p a n i sh settlers who had co me in 1763. E a r l y settlements were tra d i n g centers, s u ch as New Orleans and St. Louis.

Gold l u red Americans westwa rd i n 1849. By 1880 over 2 0 0 , 000 had c rossed the M i s s i s s i p p i R i ver. Of these, 1 00, 000 entered Colorado i n the 1 859 gold r u sh. Settle· ments rose with each new m i n i ng fiel d , but many became ghost towns as the ore gave out. M ining in the Rockies was not as easy as it was in Cal iforn i a . Not u ntil 1890, when G uggenhe i m i n stal led heavy machi nery, d i d l a rge·scale operations begi n . Soon Colorado became the leader in the prod uction of gold a nd silver (Cripple Creek) and a l so pro· d u ced co pper, lead a n d z i n c , ti n , molybden u m a n d u ra· n i u m . Colorado has a l ready prod u ced a tota l of over six b i l l ion dol l a rs in metals and other m i nera l s .

Utah wa s settled i n 1 847 b y Mormons fleei ng from per· secution. M i ners, headed for the Cal iforni a gold fields,


tre k ked thro u gh Salt La ke City. M a n y stayed on to farm and ra i se cattle. Some a l so found gold i n Utah; l ater, cop· per, s i l ver, petroleu m a n d coal were d i scovered . U tah's u r a n i u m deposits represent 3 5 % of the nation ' s tota l .

I n Monta n a , gol d was fou n d i n the ea rly 1 860' s i n the M i so River, in Alder Gulch , Vi rginia City, a round Bannock, and i n Last Cha nce Gulch. Helena beca me the capita l . Today Monta na sti l l m i nes copper, silver, lea d , z i n c , a l u · m i n u m , tu ngsten, u rani u m , petroleu m and coa l .

I d aho gold wa s found nea r Orof i ne i n 1 860; silver, i n the Coe u r d ' Alene a rea i n 1 884. The gol d r u sh bro ught set· tiers. I d aho beca me a territory in 1 863 and a state i n 1 890. I d aho sti l l m i nes copper, anti mony, magnetite, zi nc a nd phosphates.

Wyo m i ng, too, ha s great m i nera l reso u rces -coa l , petrole u m , bentonite, i ro n , copper, u ran i u m , a n d phos· phate. The fi rst two a re sti l l of i m porta nce. B u t the fi rst settlers i n Wyom i ng came from farmlands a n d they turned mainly to raising sheep and cattle and to d a i rying.

Helena, in t h e newly organized Montana Territory, from an 1 865 print Prints Divfsion, New York Public library


Southern Pacific Railroad-from Railroads in the Days of Steam. American Heritage Junior library The joining of the rails in 1 869 at Promontory, Utah, completed the first trans­ continental railroad

RAILROADS AND S ETT L EM ENT A networ.k of rai l roads

to u nite the conti nent and encou rage western settlement wa s proposed to Congress before the Civil Wa r by Asa Whitney, a New York mercha nt. However, the costs were high and problems unprecedented , I n 1 864, the North­ ern Pacific Company was authorized by Congress to con­ str u ct a ra i lway from Lake S u perior to Puget Sou n d , by a northern route. The U n i on Pacific R a i l road Com pa ny was a u thorized to b u i l d a ra i l road from O m aha , Nebraska, through Wyomi ng, Utah and Nevada to C a liforn i a , join i ng the Centra l Pacific hea d i ng east from Sa n Fra ncisco.

Congress donated to each project a 400-foot right-of­ way, a l l the stone, timber and ea rth needed , plus land grants of 1 2, 800 acres for every m i le of track constructed.


I n add ition the companies were given a 30-yea r loan , based on esti mated costs per m i le . Chi nese a n d I rish l a borers were i m ported. Ma- , chi nery was brought a round C a pe H o r n a n d overland. Bri dges were b u i lt and tun­ nel s bored . Herds of buffalo were slaughtered to feed the work crews.

I n tri u m ph over great hard­ shi ps, the U n ion Pacific met the Central Pacific i n 1 869, 53 mi les out of Ogden , Utah. By thi s ti me, the Chicago and

N o rthwester n had reached The Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka-0 m a h a a n d t h e K a n sa s Pa- rrom Roi/,oods in the Days of Steam. Amedcon

Heritage Junior library cific had penetrated as fa r

By the 1 870' s railroads were adver-west as Denver, to j o i n the tising for both settlers and visitors

U nion Pacific at Cheyenne at

a later date. Now western farmers, cattlemen and min­ ers had o utlets for their prod u cts - both eastwa rd and westwa rd .

The ra i l roads, struck by the 1 873 depression , sent agents to the East and to Eu rope to attract settlers and to sel l their huge land hold i ngs. They offered settlers cheap tra nsportation and financial hel p . They succeeded i n get­ ting many people to buy l a n d . The region ' s pop u l ation grew f rom u nder 200, 000 i n 1 870 to a l m ost a m i l l i on and a half in 1 890. Thi s , and the fencing of the o pen range, settled the West.


1 540- 1 1 743 1 776 1 793 1 803 1 805-06 1 806-07 1 807 1 808-09 1 8 1 1 1 820 1 824. 1 825 1 830 1 834 1 84 1 1 842 1 846 1 847 1 848 1 858 1 860 1861 1 863 1 867 1 867-69 1869 1 8 7 1 1 872 1 874 1 876 1 883 1887 1 889 1 890 1891 1 896 1 9 1 0 1 938 1 958 1 959 H I S T O R I C A L T I M E T A B L E Coronado explores the southern Rockies in New Mexico The Verendryes visit the Wyoming Rockies

Escalante penetrates north of Utah Rockies Alexa nder Mac Kenzie winters in the Canadian Rockies Lou isiana Purchase includes eastern slope of Rockies Lewis and Clark cross and recross northern Rockies Pike explores the southern Colorado Rockies John Colter discovers the Yellowstone basin

American and Missouri fur companies established Astoria-Hunt Expedition crosses central Rockies

Long Expedition to Colorado; first ascent of Pikes Peak Great Salt Lake discovered by Jim Bridger and Peter Ogden First annual fur rendezvous, on Wyoming's Green River Rocky Mountain Fur Company organized

Fort Hall becomes first major U.S. fort in Idaho Rockies Ca lifornia Trail through South Pass opened

Fremont's first expedition. Establishment of Oregon Trail Northwestern Rockies acquired from Great Britain by U.S. Mormon settlers reach Great Salt Lake; establish State of Deseret Southwestern Rockies acquired from Mexico

Gold rush to Colorado Rockies begins

Pony Express inaugu rated across Rockies to San Francisco

Gold di scovered in I d a h o ' s Snake River Valley. Cheyen ne-Ara paho Indian wars commence in Colorado

Montana gold rush

Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle completed . Western Sioux War U.S. Geological Surveys in West commence

First transcontinental rail links meet at Promontory, Utah Province of British Col umbia enters Confederation Yellowstone created as first national park

Black Hills gold rush starts

Battle of the Little Big Horn (Custer's Last Stand) Colorado admitted to the Union as 38th state Northern Idaho's gold rush starts

End of the open cattle range Montana becomes the 4 1 st state

Idaho (43rd state) and Wyoming (44th state) admitted to Union Cripple Creek, Colorado, gold rush starts

Utah becomes 45th state in Union

Casper, Wyo. , oil boom, leading later to Teapot Dome scandal Big Thompson project, diverting water to Eastern Slope, begins U.S. Air Force Academy opens on Colorado foothills Yellowstone earthquake


State of Colorado

The Front Range includes upraised and tilted sediments

Evidences of normal geologic cycles go back over a b i l l ion yea rs. Seas invaded the land; layers of sed iments formed; the l a n d rose, forming mou nta i n s ; vol c a n oes eru pted. A n d with slow i nsi stence s u n , wi n d , ra i n , rivers, a n d ice leveled the l a n d aga i n . Life slowly developed . Some 60 m i l l ion years ago a great series of sha rp u p l ifts folded, sq ueezed and elevated the rocks to form the Rockies and the Andes. Later there was regional u p l ift. Volcanic action a nd deep movements of molten rock brought vei ns of rich o res . G l a ciers have cut va l leys, sha rpened pea ks, and c reated magn ificent scenery.

For more about the rocks of the Rockies, read:

Dyson, J. l . , GEOLOG IC STORY OF GLAC I E R NAT. PARK, Glacier Nat. Hist. Assn . , B u l l . #3. 1 949

FenQeman, N. M . , PHYSIOGRAPHY OF WESTERN U . S . , McGraw- H i l l , N.Y. , 1931 Ross and Reza k, ROCKS AND FOSS I LS OF GLAC I E R NAT. PAR K, Geo. Sur. Prof.

Paper #294-K, Govt. Printing Ofc . , Wash . , D.C., 1959

Wegemann, C. H., A G U I DE TO THE GEOLOGY OF ROCKY MT. NAT. PAR K, Govt. Printing Ofc., Wash . , D.C., 1 944



Geological Beginning

Major Events of This Time Time of I nterval

Divisions (million years) Cenozoic Era

Quaternary Period

Recent .015

Pleistocene 1

C l i mate cold. Mountain and continental glaciation. later, slacial la kes In mountain bases. Scattered volcanic action In Yellow· stone and other areas.

Characteristic · Life of Period

Men entered the a rea from Asia via Alaska a n d the N o rt hwest. C l i m ate cold. With retreat of ice, rem· n a nts of a rctic l ife remain isolated on mou nta i n tops.

Tertiery Ptriocl PliOCene MI-. Olleoc­ Eoeene Paleocene

Uplift of Rocky Mts. In Mamtnels � daml-13 ... ... � rlant ... ., ... 25 crustal disturbances and widelY-Graue$ tmd oth«

36 volcenlc eruption. Mlny fl� jileots d-'op.

58 lnland .. kes, awa� and faW1118 � o1

flood plllln s. Loc a l sedl· ca mera. horses, ll ftd other 63 rnentery deposits. Climate lflllna a nill'llla. Mesozoic Era Cretaceous J u rassic Triassic Paleozoic Era Permian Pennsylvanian Mississippian Devonian Silurian Ordovician Cambrian 135 181 230 280 3 1 0 345 405 425 500 600 mild.

Widespread deserts give way to lowla nds which are invaded by the sea. Fluctu· ating sea coasts with swamps and small basins. Rich sedi mentary deposits.

Conti nual marine i nvasion and deposition of sedi· ments with periods of e mergence. Abundant ma· rine life. Swamps and coal formation . Era ends in sharp u p lift, s u bsidence, erosion , and m uch aridity.

Di nosa u r s and other rep· tiles d o m inate. Birds de· velop and m a m ma l s ap­ p e a r . Cycads, tree ferns. c o n ifers a b o u n d . A m mo­ nites (p. 59) reach climax.

Marine i nvertebrates and plants are common. First m a r i n e vertebrates de­ velop. M osses and ferns a ppear; a l so giant a mphib­ ians and fi rst reptiles.



Where Seen in R ocky Mountains

Craters of the Moon, Yellowstone, Glacier N ational Park, Tetons, Rocky Mt. N ational P a r k , W i n d River Mountains.

Green River and Uinta Basins. Absa· roka Mountains, Devil ' s Tower, Mid· die Park, Florissant, Cri p p l e Creek, Rocky Mt. National Park, and Black Canyon of the G u n nison •

Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colo· rado N ational M o n . , Dinosa u r Nat. Mon., Wyoming Ra nge.

Tetons, Gros Ventre Mt., Little Rocky Mts., Little Belt Mts., Garden of the Gods, Big Horn Mts., Banff, Lake Lo uise, Wind River Mts .• Laramie R a nge, Aspen, Dinosau r Nat. Mon., Wyoming Range, Wasatch Range.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colo­ rado Nat. Mon., U i nta Mts., G l acier Park, Tetons, Rocky Mt. Nat. Park, Pikes Peak, Royal Gorge.



. .


MOUNTAIN BUILDING i n the Rockies is a tremendous, complex process d i fferi ng from place to p l a ce . N owhere is it as simple as the pictu res show. When the oldest rocks were formed , a bout 2 b i l l ion yea rs ago, the a rea had p roba bly a l ready gone through cycles of mou ntain build· i ng and destruction . Thick layers of sed iments formed in the loca l seas. Later molten granite flowed i nto these sed i· ments a n d the region wa s u p l ifted . The sed iments were a ltered as a range of ancient mountains formed ( 1 ). These were slowly worn down u nti l the land was aga i n nearly flat (2). Seas encroached and new sed iments were depos· 1 Ancient mountains of granite and 2 Mountains worn flat; seas encroach; altered sedi ments formed more than more sedi ments a re deposited . About 600 m i l l ion years ago. 350- 5 50 m i l l ion years ago.


The Tetons are a classic example of mountain building in the Rockies

ited in the shal low basins. Then fol lowed a long period of . f l u ctuation. Often the l a nd was s u bmerged a n d marine sed i ments were deposited . Someti mes it was elevated to form loca l mounta i n s (3) whi ch were aga i n worn down by rain and r u n n i ng water.

During the Age of Repti les ( Mesozoic Era) extensive sha l low seas covered western North America . Where land was u p l ifted it was low and swa m py. Coa l formed , and d i nosa u r s wal l owed in swa mps (4). Later the c l i mate cha nged a n d beca me d rier. D i nosa u rs beca me exti nct. A period of mou nta i n b u i l d i ng began a l l throu gh the West.

3 Upl ift creates local mountain ranges 4 Seas cover wide area; local upl ift which are soon worn down. About 320 with swa mps, coal and lowland sedi,


5 Great u p l ift, folding a n d faulting mark begi n n i n g of present Rockies. About 60 m i l lion years ago.

6 Erosion, f u rther uplift, and many volca noes mark f u rther growth of Rockies. 20-50 m i l l ion years ago. The modern Rockies sta rted with u p l ifts squeezi ng and fold ing the rocks (5). Folds overtu rned and split; cracks or fau lts permitted fu rther movements. Thi s took m i l l ions of yea rs. E rosi on cut away the mounta i n s . Later there was regional uplift with widespread volcan i c action (6). Erosion cont i n ued; rivers cut deeper gorges. Then, as the c l i mate cha nged , glaciers gouged the mounta i n s (7). M u ch of North A merica was covered with i ce. As i t melted , great i n land l a kes formed and eventually d ra i ned . On ly remnants of glaciers a re seen in the Rockies (8) but earthq ua kes, as i n Yel lowstone in 1 959, remi n d us that mounta i n b u i l d i ng i s not yet at an end .

7 More erosion; glaciation on moun· tains and northern plains. Several ice advances, 20-50,000 years ago.

8 Ice melts; glaciers retreat until only remnants and debris rema i n . Climate warming to present day.





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