Mountains surround elk lying on the tundra



All of Rocky's features are inseparably connected. Elemental forces of sky and earth still shape the sturdy rock foundation that supports life up to 14,000 feet above sea level. Riparian (wetland) ecosystems speckled across the lower elevations of the park contain lush plant life and dense wildlife. As you move higher, the landscape gives way to evergreen forests and high mountain lakes. Topping out on the alpine tundra reveals a harsh land where life nestles close to the ground in one of the earth's most extreme environments.

A magpie bird stands on an elk's head


A large company of animals can be found in every ecosystem of the park. Each one plays a specific role in the ongoing performance of survival.

Aspen, ferns and cow parsley flowers in a forest


A bright color spectrum is found amidst the classic greenery of the park. Plant sizes also range from a tiny single-celled organism to the largest living in the world.

Crystals of ice over water

Environmental Factors

Let's break it down. The elemental forces of air, water, earth and sky are the building blocks of the park.

Moraine Park in spring

Natural Features and Ecosystems

Elevation defines what unique features are present in three ecosystems that make Rocky the nation's highest national park.

A ground fire in a forest

Wildland Fire

Become mesmerized by the critical function of fire in the park. Learn how it contributes to plant and animal diversity.

Longs Peak vista view

Natural Resource Vital Signs

This report describes the status of important resources in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Did You Know?