There are ten plant communities within the park, transforming as the elevations change from 6200 to 13,063 feet.
The ten communities:
- Pinon Pine/Juniper
- Mixed Community (8,000 - 9,500)
- Mountain Mahogany
- Spruce/Limber Pine (Rocky Mountain White Pine) (9,000 - 10,500)
- Aspen Forest
- Bristlecone Pine
The fifth community, Mixed, is likely the most varied, and perhaps the single most interesting community. At any rate, it is the last community we can lay claim to, since we did not go beyond 9,500 foot in elevation. We can state, however, without doubt, that up through the Mixed Community, beauty unfolds each step of the way. We can only imagine the beauty upwards.
"Plants are nature’s alchemists, expert at transforming water, soil and sunlight into an array of precious substances, many of them beyond the ability of human beings to conceive, much less manufacture."
- Michael Pollan
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World