Trees & Shrubs
In the Central Rocky Mountains, trees and shrubs make their home in a patchwork of forests and meadows between 5500 ft. and 11500 ft. (1650 m.-3450 m.). Different ecosystems in the park support particular species depending on elevation, precipitation, and aspect (the steepness and direction of the slope). In the harsh mountain environment only evergreen trees, a few hardy deciduous trees and strong adaptive shrubs can thrive.
Green conifer forests blanket the mountainsides, providing shade in summer and contrasting with the bright white snow of winter. The park has several of these cone producing trees including pine, spruce, and fir.
NPS photo by J. Westfall
Famous for the brilliant color of their autumn leaves, these trees can be found growing along streams and mixed in with the evergreen conifers. Deciduous trees often contribute to some of the most biologically diverse habitats in the park.
Coming in all shapes and sizes, shrubs make their home throughout the park. Some produce beautiful flowers and fruit, making them important food for wildlife. Others help stabilize soil. A few even catch your eye with their vibrant foliage.