What Are the Major Land Regions of Colorado?

Colorado has four major land regions.
Colorado has four major land regions. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Located in the western side of the United States, the state of Colorado is bordered by Wyoming and Nebraska on the north, New Mexico and Oklahoma on the south, Nebraska and Kansas on the east and Utah on the west. Its southwest corner also borders Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, these three states, along with Colorado, features the spot known as “Four Corners.” Colorado mainly comprises four major land regions with each one featuring distinct flora and geological features.

Great Plains

The eastern part of Colorado is home to the Great Plains, a region characterized by dry and flat lands with vast expanses of high plains and rolling prairies. Its terrain rises westbound towards the Rockies and it covers about half of Colorado’s eastern portion.

It is common to find prairie short-grass and grasslands around the Great Plains. The region’s main urban area is found in its northeastern plains, an area filled with a number of lakes and reservoirs. Geographically, the Great Plains is part of the Interior Plain of North America running from Canada on the north and going south as it passes by the United States until Mexico.

Rocky Mountains

Located west of the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains covers about half of the central portion of Colorado. Often described as the “Roof of the World,” it features the state’s highest point Mount Elbert, towering at 14,431 feet. It also has 54 peaks standing tall above 14,000 feet and 1,000 peaks standing over 10,000 feet.

The Rocky Mountains also features five mountain ranges including the Front Range, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Park Range, the Sawatch Range and the San Juan Mountains. It is home to six major river all originating from the mountains in the region as well. These include the Rio Grande, Colorado, the North Platte, South Platte, Arkansas and Republican Rivers.

Colorado Plateau

Colorado's Four Corners area is home to the Colorado Plateau, a region mostly made up of tablelands with moderate to high reliefs, then dissected by a combination of narrow and widely-spaced stream valleys. Located west of the Rocky Mountains and running along the border of Utah, the region's terrains feature many hills, plateaus, mesas, deep valleys, stone canyons, natural springs and grassy meadows. It covers about one-fifth of Colorado's western portion.

A large expanse of the region features sagebrush and cottonwoods found along perennial water courses. Areas with moderate elevations feature a good mix of woodland vegetation with Pinyin pines, junipers and various types of shrubs.

Intermontane Basin

The northwestern corner of Colorado is known as the Intermontane Basin, a region characterized by its distinct rolling hills, vast forest areas, extensive plateaus and rich vegetation, which is typically dominated by sagebrush. The region is also known as the smallest land region in Colorado.

The Intermontane Basin features many valleys that are extremely fertile and fit for tree and plant growth. These valleys are also renowned for their magnificent views of centuries-old canyons and several snow-capped peaks.

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