Some 60 million years ago, Colorado was a high plateau, arches of rolling hills at most, nothing but wrinkles in the ground running away from the horizon. Eras of wind, water, and ice turned this ancient playground of granite and schist rocks into the jagged peaks we know today: the Rocky Mountains.

Of the 100 highest peaks in this 3,000-mile mountain range, stretching from the northern reaches of British Columbia to the southern sands of New Mexico, 78 are in Colorado. Of the 30 highest peaks, all climb to the clouds just northwest of Denver, congregating together in mighty defiance, celebrating their supremacy. Nowhere in the Rockies is quite like right here.

In 1915, Rocky Mountain National Park became the United States’ 10th national park — and its highest. From 7,630 feet at Big Thompson River to 14,259 at Longs Peak, the park twists and turns from gentle meadows to snowy alpine peaks that scrape the sky. Trail Ridge Road, the highest continual highway in the country, winds above the treeline for 11 entire miles, keeping us closer to the stars than the sea.

That is to say, in Rocky, buckle up. With 415 square miles of adventure at your feet, 150 lakes, 29 waterfalls, 355 miles of trails, 450 miles of streams, and 100 peaks topping 11,000 feet, all you really have to do is get outside. Here’s how to do it.