Hallett Peak from Emerald Lake, Colorado

September 09, 2015

Mountain pass

Photographer: Stephanie Schley
Summary AuthorsStephanie Schley; Stu Witmer

One of the most popular hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park takes you to Emerald Lake. From the lake, you’re treated to this fine view of Hallett Peak (left) and the rough pinnacles of Flattop Mountain (12,324 ft - 3,756 m). At 12,713 ft (3,875 m) Hallett sits on the Continental Divide in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Repeated uplift and erosion formed this area of the Rockies over hundreds of million years. The mountains as we see them today are the result of tectonic uplift about 70 million years ago. In turn, these mountains were eroded by several glacial episodes the most recent was the Pinedale Glaciation that began about 30,000 years ago.
All of today’s park glaciers have accumulated since the last ice age in shady places where wind-blown snow gathers in the ancient cirques and remains through the summers. Photo taken June 7, 2015.