The Mountain States (also known as the Mountain West and the Interior West) form one of the nine geographic divisions of the United States that are officially recognized by the United States Census Bureau. It is a subregion of the Western United States. The Mountain States are usually split up into two other regions known as the Northwest and Southwest. Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming are considered part of the Northwest, while Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah are considered part of the Southwest.
The division consists of eight states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. These eight states have the highest mean elevations of all 50 U.S. states. Together with the Pacific States of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, the Mountain States constitute the broader region of the West, one of the four regions the United States Census Bureau formally recognizes (the Northeast, South, and Midwest being the other three). The word "Mountain" refers to the Rocky Mountains, which run north-south through portions of the states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. Arizona and Nevada, as well as other parts of Utah and New Mexico, have other smaller mountain ranges and scattered mountains located in them as well.
Mountain Time is observed in nearly the entire division, except Nevada (all but the stateline city of West Wendover) and the Idaho Panhandle. Daylight saving time is not observed in Arizona, except for lands within the Navajo Nation (northeast corner of the state) which observe daylight saving time due to the Nation traversing state lines. For this reason, most of Arizona is one hour behind the rest of the Mountain Time Zone from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.
The Mountain West is one of the largest and most diverse regions in the United States. Most regional boundaries of the Mountain West are often looked at as the area from the High Plains to the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range. The southern and northern portions of the Mountain West are often split into two separate regions. The southern portion (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada) is often called the greater Southwest region, while the northern portion (Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana) is often called either the Northwest states or the Northern Mountain West region.
The terrain of the Mountain West is more diverse than any other region in the United States. Its physical geography ranges from some of the highest mountain peaks in the continental United States, to large desert lands, and rolling plains in the eastern portion of the region. The Mountain West states contain all of the major deserts found in North America. The Great Basin Desert is located in almost all of Nevada, western Utah, and southern Idaho. Wyoming also has a vast amount of desert land in the southwestern portion of the state, which is known as the Red Desert. Portions of the Mojave Desert are located in California, but over half of the desert is located in southern Nevada, in the Mountain West. Meanwhile, the Sonoran Desert is located in much of Arizona, and the Chihuahuan Desert is located in most of southwestern and southern New Mexico. Colorado also has scattered desert lands in the southern and northwestern portions of the state including the expansive San Luis Valley.
Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona have other smaller desert lands, part of the Great Sand Dunes National Park, Pueblo, the San Luis Valley, Cortez, Dove Creek, Delta, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, the Roan Plateau, Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado National Monument, and the Grand Mesa. The San Luis Valley is the largest high valley desert in the world.
In the far eastern portions of the Mountain West are the High Plains, a portion of the Great Plains. These plains mainly consist of flat rolling land, with scattered buttes, canyons, and forests located in these areas. The High Plains receive very little rainfall and sit at high elevations, usually about 3,000 to 6,000 feet (910 to 1,830 m). Many people view the High Plains as the point where one begins to enter the greater Mountain West region.
The Mountain West has some of the highest mountain peaks in America. Some of the more famous mountains in the Mountain West are Mount Elbert, Pikes Peak, Blanca Peak, Longs Peak, Kings Peak, Wind River Peak, Cloud Peak, Wheeler Peak, Truchas Peak, Granite Peak, Borah Peak, and Humphreys Peak.
The climate of the Mountain West is one of the more diverse climates in the United States. The entire region generally features a semi-arid to arid climate, with some alpine climates in the mountains of each state. Some parts of the tall mountains can receive very large amounts of snow and rain, while other parts of the region receive very little rain and virtually no snow at all. The High Plains in the eastern portion of the region receive moderate snowfalls, but virtually very little rain at all.
The states of Nevada and Arizona are generally filled with desert lands and scattered mountain ranges. Much of Nevada receives little to no snow in the southern portion of the state, while northern Nevada can receive large amounts of snow in and around the mountains, and even in the desert lands in Nevada. Arizona generally receives little rain or snow, but high elevations in and near mountains receive extremely large amounts of rain and snow. Northern and northeastern Arizona display characteristics of a "High Desert", where the summers are very hot and dry, while the winters can become very cold and it can snow as well.
Utah is also generally large desert lands with mountains as well. However, the desert lands in Utah receive significant snowfalls, and there are large snowfalls in and around the mountains. Colorado and New Mexico have very similar climates. Both states can receive significant snowfalls off the mountains, while the mountains in both states receive extremely large amounts of snow. However, southern and southwestern New Mexico generally does not receive much snow at all, similar to southern Nevada and southern Arizona. The desert lands found in northeastern Arizona, eastern Utah, northern New Mexico, and western and southern Colorado are generally referred to as the "High Desert" lands.
The northern portion of the Mountain West tends to be a bit cooler than the southwestern areas. Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana all receive significant snowfalls off the mountains and very large snowfalls in the mountains. The High Desert also exists in the northern Mountain West. Southeastern Oregon, southern Idaho, and southwestern Wyoming have the Great Basin Desert lands located in them, which is part of the high desert.
|Rank||State||2010 pop||2000 pop||Change||Capital||Most populous city|
|3||Utah||align=right rowspan=1||align=right rowspan=1!B2147483647 2,233,169||!D0002147483647 +23.77%||Salt Lake City||Salt Lake City|
|4||Nevada||Carson City||Las Vegas|
|5||New Mexico||!B2147483647 2,059,179||!B2147483647 1,819,046||Santa Fe||Albuquerque|
|6||Idaho||!B2147483647 1,567,582||!B2147483647 1,293,953||!D0002147483647 +21.15%||Boise||Boise|
|7||Montana||!B2147483647 989,415||!B2147483647 902,195||!D0002147483647 +9.67%||Helena||Billings|
|8||Wyoming||!B2147483647 563,626||!B2147483647 493,782||!D0002147483647 +14.14%||Cheyenne||Cheyenne|
|Mountain States||!B2147483647 22,065,451||!B2147483647 18,172,295||!D0002147483647 +21.42%||Phoenix|
|Rank||State||Highest point||Highest elevation||Lowest point||Lowest elevation||Mean elevation||Elevation span|
!B2147483647 14,440 ft
|Arikaree River at Kansas border||
!B2147483647 6,800 ft
!B2147483647 11,123 ft
!B2147483647 13,809 ft
|Belle Fourche River at South Dakota border||
!B2147483647 3,099 ft
!B2147483647 6,700 ft
!B2147483647 10,710 ft
!B2147483647 13,518 ft
|Beaver Dam Wash at Arizona border||
!B2147483647 2,180 ft
!B2147483647 6,100 ft
!B2147483647 11,338 ft
|4||New Mexico||Wheeler Peak||
!B2147483647 13,167 ft
|Red Bluff Reservoir on Texas border||
!B2147483647 2,842 ft
!B2147483647 5,700 ft
!B2147483647 10,325 ft
!B2147483647 13,147 ft
|Colorado River at California border||
!B2147483647 479 ft
!B2147483647 5,500 ft
!B2147483647 12,668 ft
!B2147483647 12,668 ft
|Snake River at Washington border||
!B2147483647 710 ft
!B2147483647 5,000 ft
!B2147483647 11,958 ft
!B2147483647 12,637 ft
|Colorado River at Sonora border||
!B2147483647 70 ft
!B2147483647 4,100 ft
!B2147483647 12,567 ft
!B2147483647 12,807 ft
|Kootenai River at Idaho border||
!B2147483647 1,800 ft
!B2147483647 3,400 ft
!B2147483647 11,007 ft
|Mountain States||Mount Elbert||
!B2147483647 14,440 ft
|Colorado River at Sonora border||
!B2147483647 70 ft
!B2147483647 5,400 ft
!B2147483647 14,370 ft
|Rank||Municipality||State||2010 pop||2000 pop||Change|
|1||Phoenix||Arizona||!B2147483647 1,445,632||!B2147483647 1,321,045||!D0002147483647 +9.43%|
|2||Denver||Colorado||!B2147483647 600,158||!B2147483647 554,636||!D0002147483647 +8.21%|
|3||Las Vegas||Nevada||!B2147483647 583,756||!B2147483647 478,434||!D0002147483647 +22.01%|
|4||Albuquerque||New Mexico||!B2147483647 545,852||!B2147483647 448,607||!D0002147483647 +21.68%|
|5||Tucson||Arizona||!B2147483647 520,116||!B2147483647 486,699||!D0002147483647 +6.87%|
|6||Mesa||Arizona||!B2147483647 439,041||!B2147483647 396,375||!D0002147483647 +10.76%|
|7||Colorado Springs||Colorado||!B2147483647 416,427||!B2147483647 360,890||!D0002147483647 +15.39%|
|8||Aurora||Colorado||!B2147483647 325,078||!B2147483647 276,393||!D0002147483647 +17.61%|
|9||Henderson||Nevada||!B2147483647 257,729||!B2147483647 175,381||!D0002147483647 +46.95%|
|10||Chandler||Arizona||!B2147483647 236,123||!B2147483647 176,581||!D0002147483647 +33.72%|
|11||Glendale||Arizona||!B2147483647 226,721||!B2147483647 218,812||!D0002147483647 +3.61%|
|12||Reno||Nevada||!B2147483647 225,221||!B2147483647 180,480||!D0002147483647 +24.79%|
|13||Scottsdale||Arizona||!B2147483647 217,385||!B2147483647 202,705||!D0002147483647 +7.24%|
|14||North Las Vegas||Nevada||!B2147483647 216,961||!B2147483647 115,488||!D0001293738752 +87.86%|
|15||Gilbert||Arizona||!B2147483647 208,453||!B2147483647 109,697||!D0001050698581 +90.03%|
|16||Boise||Idaho||!B2147483647 205,671||!B2147483647 185,787||!D0002147483647 +10.70%|
|17||Salt Lake City||Utah||!B2147483647 186,440||!B2147483647 181,743||!D0002147483647 +2.58%|
|18||Tempe||Arizona||!B2147483647 161,719||!B2147483647 158,625||!D0002147483647 +1.95%|
|19||Peoria||Arizona||!B2147483647 154,065||!B2147483647 108,364||!D0002147483647 +42.17%|
|20||Fort Collins||Colorado||!B2147483647 143,986||!B2147483647 118,652||!D0002147483647 +21.35%|
|21||Lakewood||Colorado||!B2147483647 142,980||!B2147483647 144,126||!H2147483647 −0.80%|
|22||West Valley City||Utah||!B2147483647 129,480||!B2147483647 108,896||!D0002147483647 +18.90%|
|23||Thornton||Colorado||!B2147483647 118,772||!B2147483647 82,384||!D0002147483647 +44.17%|
|24||Surprise||Arizona||!B2147483647 117,517||!B2147483647 30,848||!B2147483647 +280.96%|
|25||Provo||Utah||!B2147483647 112,488||!B2147483647 105,166||!D0002147483647 +6.96%|
|26||Pueblo||Colorado||!B2147483647 106,595||!B2147483647 102,121||!D0002147483647 +4.38%|
|27||Arvada||Colorado||!B2147483647 106,433||!B2147483647 102,153||!D0002147483647 +4.19%|
|28||Westminster||Colorado||!B2147483647 106,114||!B2147483647 100,940||!D0002147483647 +5.13%|
|29||Billings||Montana||!B2147483647 104,170||!B2147483647 89,847||!D0002147483647 +15.94%|
|30||West Jordan||Utah||!B2147483647 103,712||!B2147483647 68,336||!D0002147483647 +51.77%|
|Rank||CBSA||2010 pop||2000 pop||Change|
|1||Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ MSA||!B2147483647 4,192,887||!B2147483647 3,251,876||!D0002147483647 +28.94%|
|2||Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO MSA||!B2147483647 2,543,482||!B2147483647 2,179,240||!D0002147483647 +16.71%|
|3||Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA||!B2147483647 1,951,269||!B2147483647 1,375,765||!D0002147483647 +41.83%|
|4||Salt Lake City, UT MSA||!B2147483647 1,124,197||!B2147483647 968,858||!D0002147483647 +16.03%|
|5||Tucson, AZ MSA||!B2147483647 980,263||!B2147483647 843,746||!D0002147483647 +16.18%|
|6||Albuquerque, NM MSA||!B2147483647 887,077||!B2147483647 729,649||!D0002147483647 +21.58%|
|7||Colorado Springs, CO MSA||!B2147483647 645,613||!B2147483647 537,484||!D0002147483647 +20.12%|
|8||Boise City-Nampa, ID MSA||!B2147483647 616,561||!B2147483647 464,840||!D0002147483647 +32.64%|
|9||Ogden-Clearfield, UT MSA||!B2147483647 547,184||!B2147483647 442,656||!D0002147483647 +23.61%|
|10||Provo-Orem, UT MSA||!B2147483647 526,810||!B2147483647 376,774||!D0002147483647 +39.82%|
|11||Reno-Sparks, NV MSA||!B2147483647 425,417||!B2147483647 342,885||!D0002147483647 +24.07%|
|12||Fort Collins-Loveland, CO MSA||!B2147483647 299,630||!B2147483647 251,494||!D0002147483647 +19.14%|
|13||Boulder, CO MSA||!B2147483647 294,567||!B2147483647 269,814||!D0002147483647 +9.17%|
|14||Greeley, CO MSA||!B2147483647 252,825||!B2147483647 180,926||!D0002147483647 +39.74%|
|15||Prescott, AZ MSA||!B2147483647 211,033||!B2147483647 167,517||!D0002147483647 +25.98%|
|16||Las Cruces, NM MSA||!B2147483647 209,233||!B2147483647 174,682||!D0002147483647 +19.78%|
|17||Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ MSA||!B2147483647 200,186||!B2147483647 155,032||!D0002147483647 +29.13%|
|18||Yuma, AZ MSA||!B2147483647 195,751||!B2147483647 160,026||!D0002147483647 +22.32%|
|19||Pueblo, CO MSA||!B2147483647 159,063||!B2147483647 141,472||!D0002147483647 +12.43%|
|20||Billings, MT MSA||!B2147483647 158,050||!B2147483647 138,904||!D0002147483647 +13.78%|
|21||Grand Junction, CO MSA||!B2147483647 146,723||!B2147483647 116,255||!D0002147483647 +26.21%|
|22||Santa Fe, NM MSA||!B2147483647 144,170||!B2147483647 129,292||!D0002147483647 +11.51%|
|23||Coeur d'Alene, ID MSA||!B2147483647 138,494||!B2147483647 108,685||!D0002147483647 +27.43%|
|24||Saint George, UT MSA||!B2147483647 138,115||!B2147483647 90,354||!D0002147483647 +52.86%|
|25||Flagstaff, AZ MSA||!B2147483647 134,421||!B2147483647 116,320||!D0002147483647 +15.56%|
|26||Sierra Vista-Douglas, AZ μSA||!B2147483647 131,346||!B2147483647 117,755||!D0002147483647 +11.54%|
|27||Idaho Falls, ID MSA||!B2147483647 130,374||!B2147483647 101,677||!D0002147483647 +28.22%|
|28||Farmington, NM MSA||!B2147483647 130,044||!B2147483647 113,801||!D0002147483647 +14.27%|
|29||Logan, UT-ID MSA||!B2147483647 125,442||!B2147483647 102,720||!D0002147483647 +22.12%|
|30||Missoula, MT MSA||!B2147483647 109,299||!B2147483647 95,802||!D0002147483647 +14.09%|
|31||Show Low, AZ μSA||!B2147483647 107,449||!B2147483647 97,470||!D0002147483647 +10.24%|
|CSA||2010 pop||2000 pop||Change||Component CBSAs|
|Denver-Aurora-Boulder, CO CSA||!B2147483647 3,090,874||!B2147483647 2,629,980||!D0002147483647 +17.52%||
Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO MSA
Boulder, CO MSA
Greeley, CO MSA
|Las Vegas-Paradise-Pahrump, NV CSA||!B2147483647 1,995,215||!B2147483647 1,408,250||!D0002147483647 +41.68%||
Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA
Pahrump, NV µSA
|Salt Lake City-Ogden-Clearfield, UT CSA||!B2147483647 1,744,886||!B2147483647 1,469,474||!D0002147483647 +18.74%||
Salt Lake City, UT MSA
Ogden-Clearfield, UT MSA
Brigham City, UT µSA
Heber, UT µSA
|Reno-Sparks-Fernley, NV CSA||!B2147483647 477,397||!B2147483647 377,386||!D0002147483647 +26.50%||
Reno-Sparks, NV MSA
Fernley, NV µSA
|Santa Fe-Espanola, NM CSA||!B2147483647 184,416||!B2147483647 170,482||!D0002147483647 +8.17%||
Santa Fe, NM MSA
Espanola, NM µSA
|Clovis-Portales, NM CSA||!B2147483647 68,222||!B2147483647 63,062||!D0002147483647 +8.18%||
Clovis, NM µSA
Portales, NM µSA
Sunset in Saguaro National Park in Arizona
The rugged San Juan Mountains in Colorado
Redfish Lake in Idaho
Feral horses in the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range in Montana
Stella Lake in Great Basin National Park in Nevada
The Nevada shore of Lake Tahoe
Downtown Reno, Nevada
Moonrise at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico
The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah
Zion National Park in Utah
Old Faithful geyser erupts in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
Politics of the Mountain States
- Bold denotes election winner.
- Mountain Time Zone
- Rocky Mountains
- List of Combined Statistical Areas
- List of Core Based Statistical Areas
- U.S. state
- Western United States
- Infoplease: Daylight Saving Time, A trip around the world reveals that time isn't a synchronized science
- The Shifting Terrain of the Mountain West. Research.allacademic.com (2013-05-07). Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
- Welcome - High Plains Regional Climate Center. Hprcc.unl.edu (2013-06-13). Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
- Private Tutor. Infoplease.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
- North American Deserts. DesertUSA. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
- "The American FactFinder". 2010 United States Census.
- See the List of U.S. states by elevation.
- "Mount Elbert". NGS data sheet.
- "Kings Peak Target". NGS data sheet.
- "Wheeler". NGS data sheet.
- "Boundary". NGS data sheet.
- "Beauty Reset". NGS data sheet.
- "Frisco". NGS data sheet.
- "Granite Peak". NGS data sheet.
- "OMB Bulletin No. 10-02: Update of Statistical Area Definitions and Guidance on Their Uses".
- The Sacramento—Arden-Arcade—Yuba City, CA-NV Combined Statistical Area includes the Gardnerville Ranchos, NV Micropolitan Statistical Area, but is located primarily in California.
United States government
- Arizona state government
- Colorado state government
- Idaho state government
- Montana state government
- Nevada state government
- New Mexico state government
- Utah state government
- Wyoming state government
- Western Governors Association