Check Out The Elevations Across the State
I have included a Colorado topography map below to help you orient yourself to the elevations and other natural landmarks in the state of Colorado.
Colorado has the highest elevation of any state in the United States because it is home to the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The average elevation in the state is 6,800 ft./2,074 m., and it has 54 peaks that are over 14,000 ft./4,300 m.
The two highest mountains in the state are Pike’s Peak, which at 14,110 ft./4,301 m. is the second-highest peak and Mt. Elbert, which is the highest at 14,433 ft./4,402 m.
Although the eastern third of the state is part of the Great Plains of the United States, the land rises gradually and as you go further west it merges into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. This happens not too far west of Denver and Colorado Springs.
Then, as you make the climb up into the mountains, you will reach the Continental Divide, which is the spot from which rivers on the western side of the mountains flow toward the west and rivers on the eastern side flow to the east. It also divides the state into its Eastern and Western Slopes.
On the Eastern Slope there is the Front Range, which is the first range of mountains that you will come to as you go further west. Elevated Colorado topography in this area includes the Park and Mosquito Mountain Ranges.
On the Western Slope, you will find the Sawatch, Gore and Elk Mountains.
Then, if you go south from the Front Range, you will come to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and to their west, the San Juan Mountains. In between these two great mountain ranges is a huge, wide valley known as the San Luis Valley, which is about the size of the state of Connecticut.
As you go northwest from the San Juan Mountains, you will come to the Uncompahgre Plateau, Grand Mesa, Roan Plateau and the Flat Tops.
As you continue going up the western border of Colorado, you will reach the northwestern part of the state where you will come to the Yampa and Green Gorges.
Blue Mesa Reservoir, in Gunnison County, is Colorado’s largest lake.
There are no less than six major river systems which originate in Colorado. There’s the Colorado River, which runs southwest from the Rockies to Utah and the South Platte River, which runs northeast to Nebraska. Then, there is the North Platte Rover running north to Wyoming and the Rio Grande River which runs south to New Mexico. Finally, there is the Arkansas River and the Republican River, which both run east to Kansas.
There are still 18 hot springs which are active in Colorado and I have mentioned many of them in other places on this website. The largest of the hot springs is Pagosa Springs.
Colorado topography is very interesting because of its wide variations in elevation, very large spaces and huge forests.
I have included a map below so you can get a better idea of what the area has to offer. If you’d like to zoom in closer for a more detailed look, use the “+” button and if you’d like a broader view of the area, use the “-.” This will give you a good idea of the topography in the state of Colorado, the United States and the world.