Rocky Mountains High

Follow the Colorado River north up into the mountain states and the snowy Rocky Mountain range. Winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, are very popular here. Alta, a ski area near Salt Lake City, regularly gets more than 400 inches of snow each year! In 2002, the Winter Olympics were held in Utah and more than 2,000 athletes from around the world came to compete.

Climbing High

Catch your breath! The air is thin up here in the mountain states, especially as you go high into the Rockies. Many of the peaks stay snowy much of the year because the temperatures are always so cold. Mount Elbert, the tallest peak in the Rockies, stands at 14,433 feet. Colorado's average altitude is 6,800 feet above sea level, higher than any other state. The eastern side of the Rockies, however, is more arid, with grassy plains full of wheat and cornfields and cattle and sheep ranches. Southern Idaho also has rich farmland for potatoes, peas, and other crops. The economy out here features, as you can guess, farming, lumber, mining, cattle, and tourism.

Religion has played a big part in Utah. Mormons, as the members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints are called, settled in Utah in the mid-1800s. When Utah was admitted as a state into the United States, the church built a temple in Salt Lake City. The current temple is a popular tourist attraction. Mormons make up more than half of the population of Utah.

ALL ABOUT

the Mountain States

State

Capital

Nickname

Colorado

Denver

Centennial State

Idaho

Boise

Gem State

Montana

Helena

Treasure State

Utah

Salt Lake City

Beehive State

Wyoming

Cheyenne

Equality State

Wild Lands

Idaho has millions of acres of wilderness, more than any other state after Alaska. Much of the land is untouched and truly wild.

Montana is often called Big Sky Country because the land in the eastern part of the state is flat and open and it's easy to see the sky. The western part of Montana, though, is a different story. Glacier National Park features 2,000 lakes, dense forests, vast meadows, and more than 50 glaciers. While temperatures here can be mild in summer, they can dip well below freezing in winter.

Along the top of the Rockies in western Montana runs the Continental Divide. Rain that falls on the west side of the divide flows into the Pacific Ocean. Rain that falls on the east side flows out to the Atlantic Ocean.

Grizzlies, wolves, and a small herd of bison call Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park their home. The park is also famous for its geyser, Old Faithful, a hot spring that shoots steaming water up to 184 feet into the sky about every 80 minutes or so. Don't stand too close — the water is very hot!

Bryce Canyon and Zion Canyon national parks in Utah feature reddish, tan, orange, and white rocks that are spectacular to see. Monument Valley also has red rocks as well as darker, blue-gray rocks. It sits inside the Navajo Nation Reservation.

ALL ABOUT

the West Coast

State

Capital

Nickname

California

Sacramento

Golden State

Oregon

Salem

Beaver State

Washington

Olympia

Evergreen State

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