Trail Ridge Road

Rocky Mountain National Park

2021

We are approaching the summit of the continental divide above the treeline in what is known as the Alpine Tundra Ecosystem.
Access to "the land above the trees" is the most distinct aspect of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Trail Ridge Road, the highest road in any national park, transports you to this realm of open sky where you'll find tiny but brilliant flowers and a harsh climate.
Approximately one-third of this national park is above the limit where trees may grow in northern Colorado
The Alpine Tundra Ecosystem starts between elevations of 11,000 to 11,500 feet, depending on exposure.
This is truly a land of extremes. This is "Hayden Gorge."
Strong, frequent winds and cold temperatures help limit what plants can grow here.
Most alpine plants are perennials.
Many plants are dwarfed, but their few blossoms may be full-sized.
Cushion plants look like ground-hugging clumps of moss.
They escape the strong winds blowing just a few inches above them. Cushion plants may also have long taproots that extend deep into the rocky soil.

Panarama View; Scroll side to side.

And we end the day at . . .