Rocky Mountain National Park is located in the US state of Colorado and receives over 3.1 million visitors annually. They can experience one of the highest mountains in America on an area of 1,074 km² in the Rocky Mountain National Park, founded on January 26, 1915.
The Rocky Mountains are also called the roof of the continent. The entire area is impressive in any case, because in the park alone there are 70 mountains with a height of 3,500 to 4,000 meters! The highest peak is 4,345 meters above sea level and is called Longs Peak.
The mountain shapes are round and hill-like. At first glance, they look so cozy that you wouldn’t suspect the enormous height behind them. Also the tree line is above average at 3,500 meters.
Even when the snow melts, the large meadows are lush and full of flowers.
History of the Rocky Mountain National Park
The first people lived in the area of today’s Rocky Mountain Park around 7,500 years ago. This is proven by archaeological finds from this period.
It is believed that these people were hunters and gatherers. Especially in summer the area must have been very fertile and productive, and so it can be concluded that many people lived here during this time.
Due to the climate change, which caused the temperatures to drop quickly, people now had to withdraw from the mountainous area.
At the beginning of the 18th century, the first Europeans came to what is now the Rocky Mountain National Park. The natives were deported to the Wyoming reservation early on. In 1859 Joel Estes, who had been successful in prospecting for gold and now wanted to invest his wealth, came to the region.
He saw the magnificent and lush pasture lands and in 1863 bought the Estes Park named after him. At that time, the term park stood for mountain meadows and alpine pastures. Estes Park became the starting point for hikes and the first hotel was built here at the turn of the century, and others followed.
It quickly became clear that the area had to be protected and so the entire area was declared a Rocky Mountain National Park as early as 1925.
Animals and plants in the Rocky Mountain National Park
The park itself consists of three vegetation zones. The lower zone is characterized by lush meadows and rich mixed forests. Zone two begins at an altitude of 2,800 meters. Here you can find conifers and Engelmann spruces. Even soft pine and subalpine fir are here. The third zone begins at the limit of the forest growth at an altitude of 3,500 meters. From here to the summit there are only a few centimeters high and very robust plants. Herbs and colored mountain flowers, lichens and grasses can also be found here and there.
The untouched nature is an ideal habitat for the animals of the Rocky Mountain National Park. Bighorn sheep, elk and mule deer cavort here. Some grizzly bears also live in the Rocky Mountains. There are also black bears and the smaller mammal species such as ground squirrels and tree squirrels, whistling hares and pikas.
Saguaro National Park
The US state of Arizona is home to Saguaro National Park. Almost 640,000 visitors come here every year. The area extends over a total area of 354 square kilometers. Saguaro National Park was established on January 1, 1933.
Located in the Sonoran Desert, the Saguaro National Park area extends to Mexico. Especially its biodiversity and its beauty are rather rare for a desert region and distinguish this national park.
The park got its name because of a particularly outstanding plant in the area: the candelabra cacti are called saguaro in English. Hence the entire park was christened Saguaro National Park.
The Saguaro National Park was placed under protection as a national monument on January 1, 1933 and only declared a national park on October 14, 1994.
Geology of the Saguaro National Park
The two parts of the national park are located on the western and eastern outskirts of Tucson. In the western part there is a large population of Saguaro cacti. This part is about 800 meters above sea level. The Tucson Mountain reaches up to an altitude of 1,418 meters into the sky.
In the eastern part is Mica Mountain, which has a height of 2,641 meters.
The exact location of the Saguaro National Park is the eastern part of the Sonoran Desert and aPart of the Arizona Upland.
Climate in the Saguaro National Park
As the park is located in a desert area, daytime temperatures of over 40 degrees in the shade are not uncommon. In the evening the temperatures drop to 22 degrees. In winter it is still 19 degrees during the day and at night values around four degrees are reached.
Animals and plants in the Saguaro National Park
A rich habitat is hidden behind the arid and arid desert. The national park is particularly known for its biodiversity.
The first appearance is deceptive, because although you will find a classic desert region here, you can experience a large number of animals and plants. These have adapted perfectly to their living space.
You can find more than 1,000 species of plants here. The saguaros, which can reach heights of up to 15 meters and a proud weight of eight tons, form their side shoots after 75 years and can live up to 150 years in total.
In addition to these cacti, from which the park got its name, there are other species of the cactus family in the Saguaro National Park. The cholla cacti, for example, or the small fish hook cacti. There are also many colorful flowers such as lupins and gold poppies. The large, green mesquite bushes and the octillo are also particularly striking. The octillo is a particularly interesting looking plant. The shrub looks like its long, dry trunks have died, but its branches have red flowers all year round.
There are pines and junipers in the mountains.
Coyotes find plenty of food in the park, including deer and collared peccaries. This is a pig-like species of mammal. In addition, there are over 200 different species of birds in the park.
The roadrunner also has his home here. And yes, it’s true, he can run better than fly.
One animal that is less likely to be found in a desert and whose presence is therefore very surprising is the Californian gaoper tortoise. It shares its habitat with the desert iguana, the poisonous Gila crustacean and several species of rattlesnakes. Also tarantulas and scorpions live in Saguaro National Park.