Elk Mountains

The Elk Mountains and West Elk Mountains, near the ski towns of Aspen and Crested Butte, are arguably the most beautiful mountains in Colorado. The combination of jagged peaks, multi-colored rocks, expansive fields of wildflowers, and vast groves of aspen make these mountains pure alpine eye candy.

Capitol Peak Sunset
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Afternoon sunlight on the Maroon Bells fourteeners with dark thunderclouds above as seen reflected in a pond in the Elk Mountains of Colorado in July.
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Snowmass Lake Alpenglow Reflection
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Golden Capitol Panorama
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Snowmass Lake Reflection Panorama
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Capitol Peak Autumn
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Kebler Golden Reflection 2
Raggeds Wilderness, Colorado
McClure Aspenglow
McClure Pass, Colorado
Capitol Peak Moonlight
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Capitol Creek Aspens
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Kebler Autumn Sunset
Raggeds Wilderness, Colorado
Beaver Lake Rainbow
Marble, Colorado
Capitol Paintbrush
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Snowmass Lake Trees
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Columbine in Lupine
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Snowmass Sunset Reflection
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Snowmass Lake Vista
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Geneva Lake Sunset
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Purity Basin Sunflowers
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Kebler Pass Sunset
Raggeds Wilderness, Colorado
Golden Capitol Peak
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Meadow Mountain Sunset
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Snowmass Alpenglow
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Maroon Bells Sunset Light
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Pyramid Peak Dusting
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Copper Lake Reflection
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Lizard Lake Reflection
Elk Mountains, Colorado
McClure Fisheye
McClure Pass, Colorado
Kebler Golden Reflection
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Golden Kebler
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Fiery Aspens
Crested Butte, Colorado
Rainbow Over Crested Butte
Crested Butte, Colorado
Mt Crested Butte Autumn Sunset
Crested Butte, Colorado
Mt Crested Butte Autumn Panorama
Crested Butte, Colorado
Capitol Peak Autumn Vertical
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Yellow Leaf Road
Elk Mountains, Colorado
West Beckwith Aspens
West Elks, Colorado
Yellow Carpet
Ruby Range, Colorado
Marcellina Dusk
Ruby Range, Colorado
Elk Mountains Aerial Sunset
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Snowmass Lake
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Snowmass Mountain Dusk
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Ruby Reflection
West Elk Mountains, Colorado
Beckwith Sunrise
West Elk Mountains, Colorado
Pierre Lakes Basin
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Elk Mountains Aerial
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Crested Butte November Sunset
Crested Butte, Colorado
Winter in Crested Butte
Crested Butte, Colorado
A Crested Butte New Year
Crested Butte, Colorado
New Years Eve over Crested Butte
Crested Butte, Colorado
Moonlight Lake
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Hidden Lake Sunrise
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Hiking above Capitol Lake
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Capitol in the Wildflowers
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Rocky Mountain
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Avalanche Lake Reflection
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Capitol Blues
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Emerald Colorado
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Snowmass Lake Sunbeam Reflection
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Snowmass Moonrise Reflection
Elk Mountains, Colorado
Snowmass Ripples
Elk Mountains, Colorado

Geology of the Elk Mountains

Elk Mountains map

Much of the Elk Range is composed of sedimentary rocks (sandstone, shale, and limestone) deposited in shallow ancient seas that once covered most of Colorado during the Paleozoic Era around 300 million years ago, and also during the Cretaceous Era about 100 million years ago. Around 70 million years ago this sedimentary rock was thrust upwards during the Laramide orogeny, forming the Elk Range. These uplifted sedimentary rock layers form the picturesque striations and red color visible in the famous Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak. Around 30 million years ago large volumes of granite magma were injected through the sedimentary rock, visible today in the white/gray colored peaks of Snowmass Mountain, Capitol Peak, and Mount Sopris. All of this was later uplifted again in the last 5 million years like other Colorado ranges.