Everest is epic. K2 is A-OK. But Americans don’t have to get out their passports, nor break the bank, to experience some of the world’s most incredible mountains. Let’s take a trip around the U.S. and see what America the Beautiful has in her folds.
If you’re going for straight elevation, then Alaska is likely where you’ll want to go, as it is home to all ten of the United States’ highest summits, which range between 20,310 feet (Denali) and 14,573 (Mount Hunter). But then there is Colorado, which may not be in the top ten in highest altitude, but is home to the most summits (88) of the top 200 highest summits in the United States.
It’s not all about height, though, is it?
Out West, you may want to journey to the highest point in Oregon, known as Mount Hood, to ascend the celestial peak that looms over Portland like a rising full moon. At 11,240 feet, it is perfect for climbers just beginning the art of mountaineering.
Then you can head north to Seattle, Washington to ascend the 14,410-foot Mount Rainier. Not only is it over 3,000 feet higher than Mount Hood, also upping the stakes is the fact that Mount Rainier is an active volcano (whereas Mount Hood is dormant).
But maybe it’s time to get farther away from the city. You would probably love to check off Colorado’s legendary Pikes Peak. This behemoth rises to 14,115 feet and stands as one of the most technically challenging climbs of Colorado’s many formidable summits.
How about out East—any good climbing on the right side?
Yes! In the Black Mountain Range of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, Mount Mitchell stands at 6,684 feet, the highest peak East of the Mississippi River. And you won’t have to travel far to encounter other challenging trails, as the Black Mountains are home to six of the ten highest peaks in the eastern United States.
While there’s plenty more to explore nearby in the Great Smoky Mountains, for those in the Northeast, it may be more convenient to visit Mount Washington in New Hampshire, or the 5,269-foot Mount Katahdin in Maine. You’ll notice a fascinating change in topography here, as these mountains have deeply-hollowed valleys formed by glacial erosion.
From sea to shining sea, America is laden with a host of epic peaks. Which one will you conquer next?