17 Magnificent Mountains In The United States That Are Perfect For Your Next Adventure
There’s something about a mountain that’s truly sublime. Whether you’re standing in the shadows of a majestic mount or reveling in the panoramas atop a peak, mountains truly are Mother Nature’s most marvelous monoliths. While the United States might not lay claim to Kilimanjaro or Everest, our country is nevertheless home to some of the most magnificent mountains in the world. Here are 17 mountains in the U.S. to inspire and fuel your wanderlust, providing the most perfect playground for your next adventure.
Olympic Mountains - Washington
Olympic Mountains, Washington, USA
Olympic National Park encompasses 876,669 acres, and within this extraordinary expanse are its headlining peaks: the majestic Olympic Mountains. Formed over 30 million years ago after two plates in the Pacific Ocean collided, the Olympic Mountains are a true natural wonder. There are 60 named glaciers on the peaks of the Olympics -- and 200 that are yet to be named! -- making it a treasure trove for bucket-list discovery and adventure. In terms of superlatives, Mount Olympus is 7,979 feet tall, making it the tallest of the Olympics -- but it's obfusciated by other mountains to the west. As such, the best place to find a perfect panorama of this epic peak is from
, an immensely beautiful overlook.
Cascade Mountains - Washington, Oregon, and California
Mount Rainier, Washington 98304, USA
Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest
are immensely majestic and marvelous, with the North Cascade Mountain Range of Washington fondly referred to as the "Alps of America." This particular region spans from the border of British Columbia to the state of Washington, and it's truly one of the great wonders of the world. Snow-capped and pristine, it's not difficult to see why many make the comparison between these perfect peaks and those in Switzerland. Both ranges are simply staggering in natural beauty, but we have to say, our American Alps are truly unmatched.
Sierra Nevada Mountains - California
Sierra Nevada, California, USA
Sierra Nevada Mountains are one of Northern California's most striking landscapes
. Spanning approximately 400 miles north-to-south and 70 miles east-to-west, you could spend a lifetime exploring every inch of this fantastic region -- and still not discover all the wonders it holds. A treasure trove of beautiful biomes, this range is home to places such as the awe-inspiring
Yosemite National Park
, grand old-growth redwood forests, and the dazzling Lake Tahoe basin. This is a place that, quite simply, invites and inspires wanderlust.
California Coast Ranges - California
Coast Ranges, California 96048, USA
For those who can't choose between the mountains and the sea, there's the California Coast Ranges.
Encompassing nearly 600 miles
from the Northern California redwood coast to Southern California's Santa Barbara, this range is a magical place where the mountains meet the sea. These mountains are particularly known for their coast redwoods, which live within the range of the coastal fog, and are the tallest trees on Earth.
Sawtooth Mountains - Idaho
Sawtooth Range, Idaho 83637, USA
One of the country's
most photographed ranges
, the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho are a true treasure. The Sawtooths are a mountain range within the Rocky Mountains that stretch across 678 square miles. Named after their uniquely jagged peaks, the peaks have become an iconic symbol of Idaho, a state often underestimated and overlooked. There are a variety of ways to explore the Sawtooth Mountains and the encompassing Sawtooth Wilderness; the wilderness area is home to 40 trails that total over 350 miles. Used for day hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding, there's abundant adventures to be had in the Sawtooths.
Grand Tetons - Wyoming
Teton Range, Wyoming 83414, USA
While Yellowstone tends to steal the spotlight in Wyoming, the Grand Tetons are nothing short of extraordinary -- and
absolutely bucket-list worthy
. Grand Teton National Park is a Wyoming wonder; it's 310,000 acres of mountain and valley land and dozens of beautiful alpine lakes that sit in the foothills of the mountains, up in the canyons, and on the valley floor. The park's headliner, of course, is the Teton range; and to view these mountains there are myriad trails and accessible summits that don't require advanced hiking skills. However, in the interest of safety, it's best to tackle the Tetons with a guide; Exum Guides lead hikes and climbs in the park and can help you determine the best summit for your skill level and time constraints. And for advanced climbers, the adventure outfitter even offers a a climb of the legendary Grand Teton itself.
Uinta Mountains - Utah
Uinta Mountains, Utah, USA
Utah's peaks are most famous for skiing, but the Uinta Mountains truly are an amazing playground for year-round recreation. The Uinta Mountains are a high, pristine range in northeastern Utah popular for fishing, hiking, backpacking, horse packing, hunting, and myriad other outdoor activities. The
camping here is incredible
, with the alpine lakes and lush forests providing the most pristine and perfect place to pitch a tent. Washington Lake is a popular campsite; it sits at 10,000 feet, and the views from this mountainside campsite are incredible.
Rocky Mountains - Colorado
Maroon Bells, Colorado 81654, USA
The Rocky Mountains span 3,000 miles from British Columbia and Alberta in Canada through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, all the way down to New Mexico. This massive mountain range is known for its dramatic scenery and abundant wildlife, and nowhere is this more true than
. Part of the Elk Mountains, a sub-range of the Rockies, Maroon Bells is the ultimate nature postcard: a startlingly blue lake, abundant meadows, and two 14,000-foot peaks. The peaks reflect perfectly in the pristine waters for a panorama that's absolutely flawless. Photos simply don't do it justice; these peaks within the rugged Rockies are simply something that must be experienced in person.
Guadalupe Mountains - Texas
Guadalupe Peak, Texas 79847, USA
one of the most underrated national parks in the country
, the Guadalupe Mountains of Texas are a true American treasure. Often overlooked, Guadalupe Mountains National Park is home to the world's most extensive Permian fossil reef, incredibly diverse wildlife and wildflower populations, and the four highest peaks in Texas. Over 80 miles of trails encompass the largest wilderness area in Texas. There's something for every skill level, from short-and-sweet nature walks to the strenuous, 8.5-mile trek to the eponymous Guadalupe Peak, commonly referred to as the "Top of Texas." Reaching the incredible Guadalupe Peak is quite an arduous journey, as the trail climbs 3,000 feet through a lush conifer forest. Once you get to the summit, you'll enjoy unparalleled views to the West and South - and et to sign your name in the legendary book to commemorate such an awesome accomplishment.
Ouachita Mountains - Oklahoma and Arkansas
Ouachita Mountains, Oklahoma 74957, USA
Nestled in the heart of the country, the
are quite possibly one of America's most marvelous hidden gems. The Ouachita Mountains are unique in that they run east to west, rather than the north to south direction of the well-known Appalachian and Rocky Mountains. The mountains are characterized by their folded ridges and valleys composed of Paleozoic sandstone and shale, making them a range that's truly and wonderfully one-of-a-kind.
Ozark Mountains - Arkansas and Missouri
The Ozark Mountains are another Midwest treasure; this resplendent range encompasses the Boston Mountains of Arkansas and the St. Francois Mountains of Missouri. Adventures abound in the Ozarks, from hiking and camping to kayaking and birding. If you want to sit back and let the grandeur of the Ozarks wash over you,
the Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway is an immensely scenic trip
that showcases some of the most spectacular scenery this region has to offer.
The Blue Ridge Mountains - The Eastern Seaboard from Pennsylvania to Georgia
Blue Ridge Mountains, United States
The Blue Ridge Mountains are one of the most beautiful places in the world; an incredible expanse of mountains and valleys that stretches from Pennsylvania to Georgia. Part of the acclaimed Appalachian Mountains, this aptly-named range does, in fact, appear blue from a distance. There are numerous ways to revel in the splendor of these marvelous mountains; Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway are spectacularly scenic road trips that
belong on any explorer's bucket list
Great Smoky Mountains - Tennessee and North Carolina
Great Smoky Mountains, United States
The Smoky Mountains are an American icon. Every year more than 12 million tourists make their way to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park,
making it the most-visited national park in the country
. Revered for their misty, beguiling beauty, the Great Smoky Mountains are truly a wonderland for outdoor recreation of all varieties. Most people know the park as a partial home to the famed Appalachian Trail, but hiking routes abound throughout the park, offering views of sprawling meadows, ancient forests, and blooming wildflowers throughout the year. The highest point in the park is Clingmans Dome, and Cades Cove offers myriad of historic buildings and educational opportunities, too. Come and ogle the hazy, harrowing beauty of the Smokies, an ancient mountain range shrouded in misty, mysterious, marvelous magic.
Appalachian Mountains via the Appalachian Trail - Maine to Georgia
Main Street, Main St, Maine, USA
Spanning nearly 2,000 miles and encompassing 737,000 square miles across the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. and the providences of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, the Appalachians aren't so much a range as they are an entire world. Naturalists believe the mountains formed over 480 million years ago, and once reached heights comparable to the Alps or the Rockies. Today, adventurers come from all over the globe to experience this resplendent range; most notably, along the eponymous Appalachian Trail. A
bucket-list adventure for many
, the Appalachian Trail spans 2,200 magnificent miles and offers an immersive experience of this iconic American range.
Adirondack Mountains - New York
Adirondack Mountains, Adirondack Mountains
Surrounded by unbelievable landscapes and full of attractions that you won’t find in other areas of the Empire State,
the Adirondack Mountains
are a place of beguiling beauty. The region is flush with pristine lakes, glorious waterfalls, and scenic splendor, and there are numerous
charming mountain towns
that make a perfect base camp for your Adirondack adventures. However, we wouldn't blame you if you simply wanted to stretch out in the region's iconic chair and drink in all the delicious views.
Alaska Range - Alaska
Alaska Range, Alaska, USA
Not only is Alaska the largest state in the nation, but it is also home to the largest mountain in North America, the incomparable Denali. In total, Alaska is home to 14 stunningly beautiful mountain ranges, though we're partial to the
eponymous Alaska Range
. The Alaska Range is a 600-mile long series of mountains that stretches from the Alaska-Canada border all the way to the Alaska Peninsula. Shaped like a crescent moon, it's a place of cosmic beauty teeming with glaciers, lakes, and boreal forests. A place of rugged, untouched beauty, the Alaska Range is a bucket-list-worthy destination where you'll marvel at some of the most amazing spectacles on the planet, including -- if you're lucky -- the elusive northern lights.
Ko'olau Range - Hawaii
Ko?olau Range, Hawaii 96782, USA
Mountains are an integral part of the Hawaiian landscape; from the verdant peaks of Kauai to the commanding volcanic landscapes of Hawaii Island, there is little more awe-inspiring than Hawaii’s towering mountains. And while they are
worth exploring, the
truly is above and beyond. Serving as a backdrop to Oahu’s stunning windward coast, these lush mountains rise more than 3,000 feet above sea level. The Ko’olau Mountains are not a mountain range in the traditional sense; rather, they are what remains of the island's eastern shield volcano, which is believed to have once towered 10,000 above the sea. The volcano became dormant approximately 1.7 million years ago, and steady erosion resulted in the mountains as we know them today: tall, rugged, and majestic monoliths that keep an omnipotent eye on the Hawaiian landscape.
These mountains are truly some of the world’s greatest wonders, and they’re right here in the United States, beckoning adventurers, naturalists, wanderers, romantics, and trailblazers. The only question is: will you heed their call?
Of course, if you’re more of an
apres ski kind of adventurer, here are some truly amazing mountain towns with world-class resorts, incredible attractions, and spectacular scenery.
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