Mountains, mountains, mountains; both the Appalachian and Rockies have one thing in common; the beauty and wonderment those high elevations can provide. Also Black Bears. But there are many difference between these two historic ranges. Changes in culture, geography, flora, fauna, mountain folk, and things to do. My recommendation? Check them both out. But if you have to decide, here is some info on both of these majestic mountain ranges.
The Appalachian mountains were formed over 480 million years ago. That is at least quadruple the millions of years that it took for the Rockies to form. So what physical properties the Appalachians lose to the Rockies (highest elevation in the Appalachians: 6,684 feet), they gain in the wisdom and age. The Appalachians were actually at one time presumed to be as large as or bigger than the Rockies, but time and erosion have whittled them down to where they stand now. Stretching from central Alabama into Newfoundland, the Appalachians have miles and miles of great white-water, arguably better climbing, and classic hikes that what you can find in the Rockies. The culture, especially in southern regions of the Appalachian consists of hard-workers, possible beer drinkers, and a people connected to the mountains like some people are connected to their cell-phones. Enjoy the weather, which fluctuates as you travel South or North, but typically you can find warm temperatures every year.
The Rocky Mountains take the cake on physical features. Compared to the highest peak of the Appalachians of 6,684 feet (Mount Mitchel), the Rockies highest peak is 14,440 feet (Mount Elbert). Alongside that, the Rockies stretch across the country almost twice as long as the Appalachian Mountains (1,500 miles compared to 3,000 miles). This amazing physical presence of course does not go unnoticed, the Rocky Mountains are the Disney-World of mountain getaways. With year-round mountain biking, sight seeing, and general adventuring; why wouldn’t it be? The rock typically is either a limestone or dolemite, which causes climbers to search for their crags. Many towns surrounding the Rockies are booming, hip with a young and adventurous culture and growing cities. The new founded catchphrase for the Rockies? Come for the winter, stay because of the summer.
So whichever one you choose, grab your hiking boots and get ready to hike more than elevation. Get ready to travel back in time, to push past your limits, and behold the beauty of either of these two mountain meccas. Safe travels!