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Old 03-21-2011, 12:22 AM
 
Location: The Big CO
198 posts, read 600,207 times
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Default Colorado Desert Lands?? High Desert terrain??

What areas of Colorado have desert lands??? I know desert typically have sagebrush, yucca, low rainfall, etc. I know to be a desert, you must have roughly less than 12 or 13 inches of rain per year, or if you have more than that per year, the water must evaporate at such a high rate to be considered a desert. Therefore, i believe there are 6 areas in Colorado that have desert lands. Yucca grows as far east in the southern mountain west/southwest as the high plains in colorado and new mexico, but the high plains generally receive about 14-15 inches of rain and are not technically desert.

1. (Pueblo, Canon City, Royal Gorge, Florence)- These areas receive only 12 inches of rain per year and have large amounts of sagebursh, greasewood, and even tall yucca as well. They do classify as desert, when you are off the mountains. This area of southern Colorado stretches about 30-40 miles east to west from Pueblo to the Royal Gorge area. And it stretches about 20-25 miles north to south from the Beaver Creek Wildlife area to the Sangre De Cristo mountains.

2. (San Luis Valley)- This area receves only about 6-7 inches of rain per year and is recognized as a desert. However, this is an alpine type desert, as summer temps only go as high as the mid 80's and rarely into the 90's like other areas in colorado. The San Luis Valley is the largest high desert valley in the world, and is generally at an elevation of over 7,000 feet. It has much greasewood, sagebrush, and yucca. It is about 30-40 miles between the sangre de cristo mountains to the east and the san juan mountains to the west, and is about 125 miles from north to south.

3. (Cortez, Dove Creek)- Cortez is in the far extreme southwestern part of Colorado and it receives only about 12 inches of rain per year.It is located on the Colorado plateau. Even though Mesa Verde receives about 14 inches of rain, the city of Cortez itself is desert land. Sagebursh, yucca, etc. are seen throughout theese parts off the san juan mountains. This extreme southwestern part of Colorado desert land is about 25 miles east to west, and about 45-50 miles north to south. It is bordered by mesa verde to the east and utah to the west, and the San Juan mtns/natl. forest to the north and new mexico to the south.

4. (Naturita, Nucla, Gateway)- The area surrounding the Uncompahgre National Forest receives only about 10-11 inches of rain per year and has a typical desert outlook. This area is also on the Colorado plateau. This desert area surrounds the forests of the uncompahgre plateau, and is bordered on the south by the san juan mtns/national forest area.

5. (Delta, Whitewater, Grand Junction, Fruita, Palisade, Clifton, Olathe, Orchard City)- This desert area sits on the colorado plateau as well and receives anywhere from 7 to 10 inches of rain per year. It has yucca, sagebursh, greasewood, etc. It is bordered by the unconpahgre national forest to the west, gunnison national forest and grand mesa national forest to the east, the montrose non-desert areas to the south, and the roan plateau desert areas to the north.

6. (De Beque, Parachute, Battlement Mesa, Rangely, Dinosaur, Roan Plateau)- This area across the massive roan plateau in northwestern colorado receives only anywhere from 9 to 11 inches of rain per year, and has many sagebursh and yucca areas, typical of desert lands. This area is basically bordered by utah to the west, wyoming to the north, Grand mesa national forest and grand junction desert areas to the south, and the routt national forest and arapahoe national forest mountain areas to the east. Genreally once you go west of rifle and meeker, and north and west of craig, you hit the roan plateau and northwest colorado desert areas. This area of scattered desert land is pretty large. It is roughly 60 miles east to west, and about 100 miles north to south across the roan plateau.

So yes, Colorado does have desert areas. They are not areas of desert like the mojave, sonoran, and chihuahuan deserts. They are more similar to the great basin desert lands in northern Nevada and western Utah, and other neighboring areas on the Colorado plateau lke northwestern new mexico, northeast arizona, and eastern utah.

Thoughts?
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Old 03-21-2011, 03:09 AM
 
Location: The Big CO
198 posts, read 600,207 times
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If people could post pictures on here of each desert area in CO that listed, it would be greatly appreciated.

Specifically, pictures of each city that lies within these desert lands in colorado. Or even pictures of the national monuments, parks, recreation areas, natural wonders in these areas. If its pictures of the cities that you upload, try your best to include a picture where you can see some sort of terrain of the city. Thanks!!!
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:05 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,462 posts, read 14,030,416 times
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Yucca is found in abundance throughout the high plains, including right in Denver, on areas that are on hills or slopes-- not just the "desert" areas you named above.

For examples, here's a photo tour I did of the Pawnee Buttes: Pawnee Buttes.

I see a noticeable change in the landscape driving on I-25 south, when you go just south of Fountain heading towards Pueblo you see tons of cholla. Unfortunately I don't have a good picture.

My Pueblo area photo tour has some good pictures of the pinon-juniper country north and west of Pueblo:

Pueblo area photo tour

All of these desert and semi-desert areas in Colorado are all COLD deserts though and don't have the exotic range of plant life like when you hit St George, UT (northern stretch of the Mohave desert-- Joshua trees) or Albuquerque, NM (northern stretches of the Chihuahuan desert-- HUGE juicy looking cactus and yucca palms), not to mention the lush green Sonoran jungle desert of Tucson, AZ.

Last edited by vegaspilgrim; 03-21-2011 at 07:14 AM..
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:53 AM
 
Location: The Big CO
198 posts, read 600,207 times
Reputation: 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
Yucca is found in abundance throughout the high plains, including right in Denver, on areas that are on hills or slopes-- not just the "desert" areas you named above.

For examples, here's a photo tour I did of the Pawnee Buttes: Pawnee Buttes.

I see a noticeable change in the landscape driving on I-25 south, when you go just south of Fountain heading towards Pueblo you see tons of cholla. Unfortunately I don't have a good picture.

My Pueblo area photo tour has some good pictures of the pinon-juniper country north and west of Pueblo:

Pueblo area photo tour

All of these desert and semi-desert areas in Colorado are all COLD deserts though and don't have the exotic range of plant life like when you hit St George, UT (northern stretch of the Mohave desert-- Joshua trees) or Albuquerque, NM (northern stretches of the Chihuahuan desert-- HUGE juicy looking cactus and yucca palms), not to mention the lush green Sonoran jungle desert of Tucson, AZ.
Well isn't ABQ pretty close to cold desert terrain as well? I know that many of the desert areas on the colorado plateau are cold desert areas, with hot summers and colder winters. The great basin desert is a cold desert right? But i was just wondering if anyone could pictures of these desert areas in Colorado.
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:01 AM
 
Location: The Big CO
198 posts, read 600,207 times
Reputation: 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
Yucca is found in abundance throughout the high plains, including right in Denver, on areas that are on hills or slopes-- not just the "desert" areas you named above.

For examples, here's a photo tour I did of the Pawnee Buttes: Pawnee Buttes.

I see a noticeable change in the landscape driving on I-25 south, when you go just south of Fountain heading towards Pueblo you see tons of cholla. Unfortunately I don't have a good picture.

My Pueblo area photo tour has some good pictures of the pinon-juniper country north and west of Pueblo:

Pueblo area photo tour

All of these desert and semi-desert areas in Colorado are all COLD deserts though and don't have the exotic range of plant life like when you hit St George, UT (northern stretch of the Mohave desert-- Joshua trees) or Albuquerque, NM (northern stretches of the Chihuahuan desert-- HUGE juicy looking cactus and yucca palms), not to mention the lush green Sonoran jungle desert of Tucson, AZ.
I liked the pictures of the pawnee buttes, its one of the few areas on the high plains in colorado that i enjoy. the high plains are the only parts of colorado and new mexico that i do not enjoy too much. I know areas in Colorado that are desert are most definitely cold desert, not the hot desert where its warm year round like the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan. They are more similar terrain wise with the great basin desert in northern nevada and western utah, as well as the other desert areas in northwest and west new mexico, northeast arizona and eastern utah.

I love the pictures of Pueblo, and its definitely my favorite desert area in colorado. Good pics!

Even though they are cold deserts in colorado, i still love the desert areas in CO much more than the high plains and extremely mountainous areas.
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Old 03-21-2011, 02:21 PM
 
2,182 posts, read 3,405,380 times
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Wink If barren

The most desolate place that comes to mind in Colorado is the far southwestern corner, as one approaches Four Corners.

Lots of dirt, little vegetation in evidence. Extremes of hot and cold, with some snow in winter.

But then, not far north up the state line lies Hovenweep National Monument, basically west of Cortez, CO. Still desert, but the land more interesting and fecund. Beautiful canyons, with the old Anasazi ruins here and there, and any number of juniper. The Chuska Mountains, not far southwest of Four Corners, is another world altogether with more precipitation and pine forests.

Potentially a lot of variety in relatively short distances.
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Old 03-21-2011, 04:29 PM
 
Location: The Big CO
198 posts, read 600,207 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post
The most desolate place that comes to mind in Colorado is the far southwestern corner, as one approaches Four Corners.

Lots of dirt, little vegetation in evidence. Extremes of hot and cold, with some snow in winter.

But then, not far north up the state line lies Hovenweep National Monument, basically west of Cortez, CO. Still desert, but the land more interesting and fecund. Beautiful canyons, with the old Anasazi ruins here and there, and any number of juniper. The Chuska Mountains, not far southwest of Four Corners, is another world altogether with more precipitation and pine forests.

Potentially a lot of variety in relatively short distances.
Any pictures of ths cortez/dove creek/southwest colorado desert land?
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:05 PM
 
Location: The Big CO
198 posts, read 600,207 times
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Battlement Mesa, CO- More desert land near the roan plateau, approaching the GJ desert area.

Rangely, CO-On the roan plateau, clear desert terrain on the plateau in northwest colorado

Dinosaur, CO-Clear desert land across the roan plateau

Parachute, CO desert area near roian plateau

Fruita, CO- Desert terrain near Fruita
http://otefruita.com/ignite/content/files/image/westernrim.jpg (broken link)
Delta, CO- Desert terrain in Delta

Desert area in Grand Junction, winter time picture.

Olathe, CO-Desert landscape of Olathe, just before you leave the desert in Montrose.
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Durango, CO
924 posts, read 744,247 times
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Just about anywhere from just south of Durango thru Ignacio down into New Mexico could be considered high desert. Mostly scrub, yucca, some cactus. I own land on the Florida Mesa and it's nearly all scrub as the non-irrigated areas on the mesa seem to be. Altitude there is 6'686'.
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:40 PM
 
Location: The Big CO
198 posts, read 600,207 times
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Whitewater, CO-Hilly desert land found in Whitewater.

Gateway, CO-Typical desert land in Gateway, just west of the Uncompahgre National Forest.

Naturita, CO-Desert landscape in and around Naturita.

Nucla, CO- Naturita-Nucla desert lands.

Cortez, CO-Typical southwestern colorado desert land in and around Cortez
http://www.prudentialtriples.com/images/bannerCortez.jpg (broken link)
Dove Creek, CO-Desert lands in and around Dove Creek, in southwest CO

Pueblo, CO-The Pueblo desert, typical desert lands in Pueblo area
http://www.tcasnm.org/Past_Events_files/P1010044-leveled.jpg (broken link)
Florence, CO-AVX Florence Supermax Prison. Shows the desert terrain in and around Florence, with the Sangre de cristo mtns. in the back drop

Canon City, CO-More of the typical southern CO desert areas. Canon City and Royal Gorge desert lands

San Luis Valley, CO-The desert land in the San Luis Valley, between the San Juan and Sangre de cristo mtns.

San Luis Valley, CO- Desert road in the massive San Luis High Valley desert

San Luis Valley, CO- Typical greasewood (chico brush) found in the San Luis Valley desert




Well, those pictures cover most of the major desert areas in CO. These areas are in northwest, west, southwest, and southern Colorado.
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