When you imagine mountains, it is often jagged, snowy peaks that look indomitable and foreboding. Grand Teton is all that and more. To reach the 13,770 foot summit, mountaineers work their way through natural challenges like slippery rocks, sheets of ice, and deep snow. If skiing down a mountain from the peak is on your bucket list, you should definitely check out Grand Teton. Also, since the mountain is part of Grand Teton National Park, there are plenty of other outdoor recreational activities if you aren’t up for mountain climbing.
Located in the expansive Mount Rainier National Park, which is popular for picturesque landscapes and alpine flowers, is the majestic (and active) volcano known as Mount Rainier. Just east of Seattle, this stunning snow-capped mountain is a magnet for hikers looking to test their ice-climbing to reach the 14,410 foot tall summit. Fun fact: Mount Rainier is also on the Decade Volcano List, meaning it is one of the most potentially dangerous volcanoes in the world. Better read up on signs of eruption before you decide to visit!
The highest peak in North America, known as Denali, is park of Denali National Park and Preserve. Simply standing back and taking in the vastness of this mountain is enough to make your jaw drop. The icy jags look like something out of a fantasy world, and climbing it provides the same experience. The location of Denali also makes it the perfect location to practice climbing the Himalayan Mountains, due to extreme winter conditions. Only 58% of visiting climbers reach the top.
Despite being one of the highest points in the entire country at 14,505 feet, Mount Whitney looks redoubtable but is actually a pleasant climb. The round-trip trek from the bottom to the top of the mountain is 22 miles long and can usually be completed in a single day, unless you are having too much fun wandering the mountainous terrain and snapping photographs of the fantastic views. One of those views also includes the lowest point in America—Death Valley.
No, Arkansas is not just swaying fields of wheat and nothingness. Found in Mount Magazine State Park (park of the Ozark National Forest), the tallest mountain in Arkansas known as Magazine Mountain, is here to change your impression of what Arkansas is truly like. The mountain is actually a flat-topped plateau composed of sandstone and craggy cliffs. There are two peaks—Signal Hill and Mossback Ridge--to attempt reaching. Lush and green, Magazine Mountain rises 2,700 feet and is perfect for climbers of all ages.
Award for the tallest mountain in Colorado goes to the handsome Mount Elbert. At 14,440, Mount Elbert is actually the second highest mountain in the contiguous US right after Mount Whitney. The summit of this mountain is humongous and prone to harsh winds, so go prepared! As you tackle any of the three main routes up the mountain, you can see the source of many streams leaking to the Arkansas River on the slopes as well as sights of the Continental Divide.
Sure, the Appalachian Mountains might not be the largest in the United States, but they are the oldest and have much historical significance. The highest peak in this long chain would be Mount Mitchell, part of the Black Mountain Range in North Carolina. Unlike all the other mountains on this list, Mount Mitchell is named after Elijah Mitchell, a science professor from the University of North Carolina who fell to his death from the slopes in 1857. Learn from Professor Mitchell and go ready to tackle this challenging hike to reach the awe-inspiring views from the top.
Though Mount Katahdin is one of the shorter mountains on this list at 5,269 feet above level, it does have one unique feature. Every morning Mount Katahdin is the first point in the United States to receive sunlight. The surrounding areas are also extremely remote and don’t feel like Maine at all, so if you are looking to truly refresh mind and body, as well as see the first light of a new day, Mount Katahdin is recommended.
Within the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, Mount Washington boasts the highest peak in northeastern USA. Every year, millions of climbers work their way up to the summit while another million use the Mount Washington Cog Railway to get to the top. However you decide to reach the summit, you are in for an amazing adventure. The weather observatory at the peak has also recorded some of the strongest wind gusts in over 70 years, some topping 200 mph!
Though not as sprawling as the sister volcano, Mauna Loa, this volcano is one of the five active ones in Hawaii as well as the highest. Looking at the height of Mauna Kea for a technical perspective, the base of the mountain on the ocean floor to the peak rises 13,845 ft above sea level which means that Mauna Kea is taller than Mount Everest. At the top, you can visit one of the best sites for astronomical observations.