The Gran Sasso mountain chain consists of rocks from different ages between the Triassic period and the Miocene period. The most representative areas are those of the wide Campo Imperatore upland and of the Calderone glacier, the southernmost glacier in Europe and the only one in the Apennines.
In the high altitudes there are most of the endemic flower and animal species, many of which are the so called "glacial relicts", including not only plants and insects, but also some vertebrates, such as the meadow Viper, the European snow vole, the common frog and the alpine newt. The summit areas are inhabited by well adapted bird species, such as the alpine chough, the red-billed chough, the alpine accentor, the wallcreeper, the white-winged snowfinch, the water pipit and the rock partridge.
The most significant species of the high altitudes is the Abruzzo chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata), which was also chosen as the symbol of the Park. It is an endemic animal species of the central Apennine which disappeared in 1892 and has been reintroduced since 1992.