Between the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the Great Basin lies a land of remarkable presence: the province we know as the Colorado Plateau.
Encompassing 150,000 square miles of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, the Colorado Plateau is home to one million people…one quarter of them Native American.
Fifty-five percent of the Plateau is public land, including twenty-seven units of the National Park Service, seventeen national forests, one national wildlife refuge, twenty-six wilderness areas, and millions of acres of land under the stewardship of the Bureau of Land Management.
The name Colorado Plateau came into use around 1860, and was likely coined by members of Lt. Joseph Ives’ expedition to the area in 1857 and 1858.
Characterized by deeply etched plateaus and table lands that lie at an elevation above 5,000 feet, this diverse land is punctuated by volcanic peaks and igneous-cored mountains that rise as high as 14,000 feet above sea level.
Mapmakers draw the boundaries of the Colorado Plateau on the south at the Mogollon Rim, on the west along major faults on the Basin and Range province, and to the east at the western edge of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The northern limits of the province are drawn east of the Wasatch Mountains and south of the Uinta Mountains.