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Rocky Mountains or Rockies great chain of rugged mountain ranges in western North America extending from central New Mexico to northeastern British Columbia a distance of about 3220 km about 2000 mi The Rockies are bordered on the east by the Great Plains and on the west by the Great Basin and the Rocky Mountain Trench a valley running from northwestern Montana to northern British Columbia The Rocky Mountains form part of the Great or Continental Divide which separates rivers draining into the Atlantic or Arctic oceans from those flowing toward the Pacific Ocean The Arkansas Colorado Columbia Missouri Ro Grande Saskatchewan and Snake rivers rise in the RockiesThe Rockies may be divided into four principal sectionsSouthern Central Northern and Canadian The Southern Rockies which include the systems broadest and highest regions extend from central New Mexico through Colorado to the Great Divide or Wyoming Basin in southern Wyoming This section which encompasses Rocky Mountain National Park is composed chiefly of two northern-southern belts of mountain ranges with several basins or parks between the belts The component parts include the Sangre de Cristo and Laramie mountains and the Front Range in the east and the San Juan Mountains and the Sawatch and Park ranges in the west The Southern Rockies include the chains loftiest point Mount Elbert 4399 m14433 ft high in central Colorado More than 50 other peaks of the Rockies rising above 4267 m 14000 ft are in Colorado these include Longs Peak 4345 m14255 ft high and Pikes Peak 4301 m14110 ft highThe Central Rockies are in northeastern Utah western Wyoming eastern Idaho and southern Montana They encompass the Bighorn Beartooth and Uinta mountains and the Absaroka Wind River Salt River Teton Snake River and Wasatch ranges The Uinta Mountains are the only major portion of the Rockies that extends east-west rather than north-south Among the peaks of the Central Rockies which include Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks are Gannett Peak
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