TOPOGRAPHY. Colorado lies upon the great watershed of the continent, and is. after Wyo ming, the most elevated State in the Union. A number of the most prominent ranges of the Rocky Mountain system traverse the State in a northerly and southerly direction, spreading magnificently over more than half the surface. The eastern section lies in the plain of the great Mississippi Basin. rising gradually from an ele vation of about 3000 feet at the eastern bound ary to a considerably higher altitude in the west. In the longitude of Denver and Colorado Springs the surface becomes broken by irregular chains of foot-hills. Back of these rise abruptly the lofty ranges of the Rockies. Entering the State from the north, they are called the Medicine Bow Range, and continue south as the Front Range to Pike's Peak, west of Colorado Springs. This is the most famous mountain in the State, but not the highest, being one of a score that range between 14,000 and 14,500 feet in elevation. West of these ranges are three valleys called North. Middle, and South Parks. North Park is inclosed on the west by the Park Range, and is separated from Middle Park by a ridge, extend ing from the east to the west, called the Divide. The North Platte River rises on its northern slope; on its southern, the Rio Grande. Between the Middle and South parks the Front Range meets the Saguache, the loftiest of them all. For miles its crest towers above the 13.000-foot level, surmounted by the impressive Holy Cross Peak, the Princeton, Harvard. Yale. and other moun tains whose heights exceed 14,000 feet. To the southeast the range is continued in the Sangre de Cristo and Culebra, which extend into New Mexico. West of these latter ranges lies an other valley called the San Luis Park, while west of this rise the San Juan Mountains. In the remainder of the western portion of the State there is a confusion of broken mountains, pla teaus, and valleys, with a general slope to the westward.
Of the many mountain passes, 13 are over 10,000 feet in altitude, the Argentine reaching 13,100 feet. The great valleys or parks above
mentioned inclosed by mountains are a distin guishing feature of the scenery. San Luis Park contains S000 square miles (the most level land in the State, though elevated 7500 feet). Other important valleys are the Arkansas (q.v.), Rio Grande (q.v.), 'White Grande, and Gunnison. There are over 39.964 square miles of park and valley lands. The North Platte and South Platte unite to form the Platte of Nebraska. The source of the South Platte is 11,176 feet above tide, and its fall in the short distance to Denver is 6000 feet. The Arkansas rises 10,176 feet above the sea in the west central part of the State, rapidly falling to 7877 feet, and flows southeast and east into Kansas. pacing through the 'Royal Gorge' ea ion. 3000 feet deep. The Rio Grande rises in the Saguaehe Range and flows through San Luis Park into New Mexico. The largest streams on the west are the Yampah and White, tributaries of the Green River, Utah; the Grand, one of the main ailmentsof the Col orado: and its tributaries, the Gunnison, Dol ores, and San Miguel. None of these streams is navigable. No other State contains the head waters of so large a number of rivers. From near the centre of the Commonwealth rivers Ilow outward in many directions, and the waters are distributed in almost equal proportions to the Atlantic and to the Pacific Ocean. The only lake of consequence. San Luis. about 60 miles long and a quarter of a mile wide, lies in San Luis Park, and receives several small streams. but has no visible outlet. The lofty peaks and deep-l•ing parks are equaled in grandeur by the river canons; those of the Arkansas, brand, Black Canon of the Gmmison, Little Colorado. and varying in depth from 1000 to 3000 feet. 'The Garden of the Gods' and 'Monument Park' are filled with castellated buttes that rise out of green mead ows, or with grotesquely shaped pillars and towers of red sandstone, carved by erosion. A large area in Sag,uache County has been reserved as a State park.