Appalachian Mountains and Rocky Mountains: Compared and Contrasted

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.

Appalachian MountainsAppalachi­an Mountains:
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.

Rocky Mountains

Rocky Moun­tains
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!