Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, Colorado – Point of Geological Interest G6
Spectacular 14,000-foot-high peaks and glacier-carved valleys are the primary features of interest in Rocky Mountain National Park. Moraine Park Museum has an exciting geology exhibit, many scenic road pull-offs along Trail Ridge Road* have interpretive signs, and several trails and roads have self-guiding interpretive pamphlets or booklets. There is an extensive summer schedule of guided hikes and campfire programs, many of which focus on the Park’s geology. Geology-related seminars take place in the Park each year.
“Why are there mountains here? How does a glacier move? How do people affect the land? The answers are found in the landscape itself ……” So begins the self-guided tour, “The Making of a Landscape,” at Rocky Mountain National Park’s Moraine Park Visitor Center. The focus is on Moraine Park, a broad, beautiful, mountain valley that provides a textbook example of the after effects of glaciation. In telling the story of Moraine Park, the exhibit goes deep into geologic time. Colorful paintings and dioramas, working models, and hands-on specimens are used in a series of displays that discuss such topics as mountain building, rock types and the rock cycle, faults, folds, canyon carving, the erosion cycle, glacier movement, the ice ages, ice-age humans and animals, glaciers and climate, and precious metals.
Kids get a kick out of turning cranks to watch rock models break and bend (faults and folds), mountains rise, and glaciers move down valleys. Two large 3-D models depict what Moraine Park may have looked like before and during glaciation. To see the valley after glaciation, one only needs to walk a few steps to the glass-fronted porch, where bentwood rocking chairs and a scenic view of the real thing await! The museum is open seasonally, typically from late April to early October.