Pikes Peak is the huge mountain you see across the valley. On a clear day, you can see two distinct areas on the mountain—a darker band of forest and a lighter colored treeless area. These different layers called "life zones" are a reflection of local climate variations due to elevation. Elevation changes affect temperature and moisture levels that result in different plant and animal communities.
Fossil evidence indicates that there may have been different life zones in the Eocene, too. The ancient valley was warmer and wetter, whereas nearby slopes just above the valley were drier and supported shrubs and low trees, such as pine, oak, and mountain mahogany. The highest slopes supported fir, spruce, pine, and hemlock trees.
[Photo, looking toward Pikes Peak, delineates life zones]
The cold and windswept zone of bare rocks, tundra, and meadows is above tree line. Marmots, pikas, and ptarmigan are some of the animals found at this elevation.
This zone of evergreen forests lies in between the alpine zone and the montane zone. These cool, moist forests receive large amounts of snow
The montane life zone is drier and warmer than the subalpine and is dominated by ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, aspen, and mountain meadows. Abert's squirrels, coyotes, and mule deer are common at this elevation.
You are standing in the montane life zone. Along the Ponderosa Loop, you will also discover localized habitats within this zone.
Erected by National Park Service.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Environment • Paleontology • Parks & Recreational Areas.
Location. 38° 54.84′ N, 105° 17.237′ W. Marker is near Florissant, Colorado, in Teller County. Marker is along the Ponderosa Loop Trail at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, about 600 feet WNW of the Visitor Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 15807 County Road 1, Florissant CO 80816, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Valley Through Time (within shouting distance of this marker); Changes Within Habitats (within shouting distance of this marker); The Role of Fire (within shouting distance of this marker); Just One Piece at a Time (about 300 feet
Also see . . . Florissant Fossil Beds. National Park Service; National Monument Colorado entry (Submitted on October 23, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 14, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 23, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 37 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 23, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.