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Rocky Mountain National Park is located west of Estes Park and north and east of Grand Lake. This is a fee area of the National Park Service, and costs $30 per vehicle. This fee is covered in the Rocky Mountain National Park Annual Pass, the Rocky Mountain National Park/Arapaho National Recreation Area Annual Pass, and the America the Beautiful Pass. Please see the following website (visit link) for the entire fee schedule. The park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Road and Trail Conditions and Closures can be found at: (visit link) Recorded information for the condition of Trail Ridge Road can be found by calling (970) 586-1222. Please remember that all geologic features within the borders of Rocky Mountain National Park are protected by law, as are all natural and historic features. Please do not disturb, damage, or remove any rocks, plants, or animals.
Longs Peak, at 14,259 feet, is the most prominent landmark of the Front Range north of Denver, and the tallest mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. The elevation was changed from 14,255’ to 14,259’ in 2002 after a more precise survey was conducted. It is the 15th tallest of the Colorado Fourteeners.
William Byers, editor of the Rocky Mountain News, wrote in 1864, “We are quite sure that no living creature, unless it had wings to fly, was ever upon its summit, and we believe we run no risk in predicting that no man ever will be.” Four years later, in 1868, the surveying party of John Wesley Powell completed the first recorded ascent of Longs Peak. Due to its close proximity to the populated cities of the Front Range, and the ability to hike it using non-technical means, it is now one of the most popular climbs of the fourteeners in the state.
Longs Peak is part of the Longs Peak-St. Vrain Batholith, a 1.4 billion year old granitic batholith which is comprised of Silver Plume-like Granite. The distinctive flat top is an erosional surface that is thought to be about 23 million years old.
To log this EarthCache, send me an email with the answers to these questions:
1.) What is the difference between your current elevation and that of the top of Longs Peak?
2.) The top of Longs Peak is located at N 40 15.301, W 105 36.907. What is the horizontal distance to the peak from this location?
Please consider posting photos of yourself, or the local geology, when you log this EarthCache. Photos can be an additional rewarding part of your journey, but posting them is not a requirement for logging this EarthCache, and is strictly optional.
The above information was compiled from the following sources:
Informational display at site.
Wikipedia. Longs Peak. (visit link)
Peakbagger.com. Longs Peak. (visit link)
Cole, J.C., and Braddock, W.A. 2009. Geologic map of the Estes Park 30’ x 60’ quadrangle, north-central Colorado: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3039, 1 sheet, scale 1:100,000, 1 pamphlet, 56 p.
Colorado Geological Survey. 2003. Messages in Stone. Matthews et al., editors. Denver, Colorado.
Hopkins R.L., and Hopkins L.B. 2004. Hiking Colorado’s Geology. Seattle, Washington.
2004. Rocky Mountain National Park. In Harris, A.G. et al., editors. Geology of National Parks, Sixth Ed. P. 337-356. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
Rocky Mountain National Park. Online at: (visit link)
Rocky Mountain National Park was most helpful in the background discussion, aid in the choosing of sites, and review of this EarthCache. My thanks to the Park for allowing the placement of this EarthCache!
(No hints available.)
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum