Trail Ridge -- Rainbow Curve
Horseshoe Park from Rainbow Curves on Trail Ridge Road

What you can see (Horseshoe Park):

The distinctive fan of light-colored boulders on the left of this picture is a relatively new feature on the land. A high mountain dam failed on July 15, 1982, and in a matter of hours the water violently disgorged it load on the valley floor.

What you can see from Rainbow Curve:

  1. Mount Chapin (12,454)
  2. Mount Chiquita (13,069)
  3. Ypsilon Mountain (13,514)
  4. Mount Fairchild (13,502)
  5. Hagues Peak (13,560)
  6. Mommy Mountain (13,425)
  7. Roaring River
  8. Bighorn Mountain (11,463)
  9. McGregor Mountain (10,456)
  10. Deer Mountain (10,013)

Beaver Ponds from Rainbow Curves in Rocky Mountain National Park

A HIDDEN VALLEY / Beaver Ponds

Far below lies Hidden Valley Creek, a habitat for beaver, greenback trout, and other wildlife. This stream once dropped directly into Horseshoe Park, until a thick glacial moraine dammed and diverted the watercourse.

Changing Climates

The valley below is choked in the spires of a sub-alpine forest--similar to the vast forest of northern Canada. But the higher you drive, the thinner the air becomes. It holds less head, and creates much cooler climates for plants and animals. Higher still lies the arctic-like world of the alpine tundra, where winds are fierce and trees cannot survive.

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