Top 20 Most Beautiful Mountains to Visit in the USA

Last Updated on March 04, 2023 by Nikki Jain

Just like the rest of America, the mountain ranges are diversified and coveted by hikers and mountain climbers from around the globe.

Some people seek to tackle icy cliffs in preparation for bigger, more challenging slopes abroad while others simply bask in the beauty of these natural wonders from their base camps.

Whether you are a beginning hiker or a seasoned K-2 climber, these top 20 beautiful mountains in the USA will give you a serious case of wanderlust.

Also Read: Top 25 Most Visited National Parks in the USA

Most Beautiful Mountain Ranges in the US

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1: Grand Teton, Wyoming

Grand Teton, Wyoming

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.

Height: 13,775 ft (4198.7 m)

Address: Grand Teton National Park, WY

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2: Mount Rainier, Washington

Mount Rainier, Washington

Located in the expansive Mount Rainier National Park, famous 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!

Height: 14,417 ft (4394 m)

Address: Mount Rainier National Park, WA 98304

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3: Denali (Mount McKinley), Alaska

Denali (Mount McKinley), Alaska
Flickr/Nic McPhee

The highest peak in North America, known as Denali, is part 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 them provides the same experience.

The location of Denali also makes it the perfect place to practice climbing the Himalayan Mountains due to extreme winter conditions. Only 58% of visiting climbers reach the top.

Height: 20,310 ft (6190.5 m)

Address: Denali National Park, Alaska

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Also Read: Top 10 Things To Do In Denali National Park

4: Mount Whitney, California

Mount Whitney, California
Flickr/Don Graham

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.

It can usually be completed in a single day unless you have 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.

Height: 14,505 ft (4421 m)

Address: Lone Pine, CA 93545

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5: Magazine Mountain, Arkansas

Magazine Mountain, Arkansas
Wikimedia/Jason Ronza

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 a flat-topped plateau composed of sandstone and jagged 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.

Height: 2,753 ft (839 m)

Address: 16878 Highway 309 South, Paris, AR 72855

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6: Mount Elbert, Colorado

Mount Elbert, Colorado
Flickr/David Herrera

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.

Height: 14,440 ft (4401.2 m)

Address: Mt Elbert, Leadville, CO

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7: Mount Mitchell, North Carolina

Mount Mitchell, North Carolina
Flickr/Kolin Toney

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 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.

Height: 6,684 ft (2037 m)

Address: Mt Mitchell, South Toe, NC 28714

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8: Mount Katahdin, Maine

Mount Katahdin, Maine

Though Mount Katahdin is one of the shorter mountains on this list at 5,269 feet above level, it does have one unique feature. Mount Katahdin is the first point in the United States to receive sunlight every morning.

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.

Height: 5,269 ft (1,606 m)

Address: Mt Katahdin, Northeast Piscataquis, ME 04462

9: Mount Washington, New Hampshire

Mount Washington, New Hampshire
Flickr/Ben Ferenchak

Within the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, Mount Washington boasts the highest peak in the 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 a fantastic adventure. The weather observatory at the peak has also recorded some of the strongest wind gusts in over 70 years, some topping 200 mph.

Height: 6,288 ft (1917 m)

Address: Mt Washington, Sargent's Purchase, NH 03846

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10: Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Mauna Kea, Hawaii
Wikimedia/Alan L

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 from 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.

Height: 13,803 ft (4207.3 m)

Address: Mauna Kea Access Rd, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720

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11: Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Ridge Mountains
Dreamstime/Sean Pavone

Spanning several states as part of the Appalachian Mountain range, the Blue Ridge Mountains are a must-visit if you're in any of the following states:

  • Maryland
  • West Virginia
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Georgia

With distinct physiographic regions in each state, the mountain gets its distinctive name from the bluish color of the peaks when viewed from a distance.

The blue hue of the mountain is derived from the isoprene the trees release into the atmosphere.

The Roanoke River divides the northern and southern regions, and near the Blue Ridge Mountains lies the Great Appalachian Valley.

If you’re in the northern region, it’s definitely worth checking out the Shenandoah National Park.

For those in the south, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has some world-class views and beautiful forests.

You can also find the following forests nearby:

  • George Washington
  • Jefferson
  • Cherokee
  • Pisgah
  • Nantahala
  • Chattahoochee

If you prefer to appreciate the beauty of the mountains from the air-conditioned comfort of your car, then the Blue Ridge Parkway is just the way to see the sights, spanning over 450 miles of highway, connecting the two parks and running along the ridge crest-lines.

The Appalachian Trail is also a must-see spot for hikers, extending a whopping 2200 miles, starting from Springer Mountain in Georgia all the way to Mount Katahdin in Maine, going through a total of 14 states along the journey.

With so much to explore, the Blue Ridge Mountains are some of the most beautiful mountains in the US.

Height: 6,684 ft (2,037 m)

12: Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee

The Great Smoky Mountains, affectionately called the Smokies, boast gorgeous landscapes and diverse scenery along the Tennessee and North Carolina border.

For example, the range in the Smokies has well over 180,000 acres of old forest.

With spruce-fir forests galore and a dense black bear population, the Smokies are a place you have to see to believe.

If you’re visiting, you must check out the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where you can enjoy wildlife viewings, historic sightings, and camping out in the wilderness.

Height: 6,643 ft (2,025 m)

13: El Capitan, Idaho

El Capitan, Idaho

A glorious mountain in the western United States, El Capitan certainly looks imposing, rising above the eastern end of Alice Lake and sitting nearly 10,000 feet above sea level.

Found in the southeastern Sawtooth Range, El Cap certainly sees its fair share of excited mountaineers and climbers.

If you’re a climbing enthusiast, then conquering El Cap is the experience of a lifetime.

There are three routes to tackle El Capitan: The East Ridge, the Northeast Ridge, and the North Face.

While you’re up there, keep your eye out for the fabled White Mountain Goats.

The goats have been in decline for nearly half a century, with current predictions estimating that there are 2200 to 2500 mountain goats left in Idaho.

Height: 9,901 ft (3,018 m)

Address: Sawtooth Range, ID

14: Mount Shasta, California

Mount Shasta, California

Put on your hard hats for this one—Mount Shasta is a potentially active volcano sitting over 14,000 feet above sea level.

The second-highest peak in the Cascades, Mount Shasta, is a truly imposing sight on the landscape.

Local Klamath Tribe lore holds that the mountain is dwelled by Skell, the Spirit of the Above-World, who descended and fought with Llao, the Spirit of the Below-World.

In keeping with the mountain's hidden secrets, many believe a city is hidden among its peaks.

A truly mystical place, Mount Shasta also boasts the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, the largest in California, encompassing more than 2 million acres.

You can hike, fish, camp, ski, snowmobile, and enjoy the gorgeous surroundings in this spiritual oasis.

Height: 14,179 ft (4321.8 m)

Address: Mt Shasta, CA

15: Half Dome, California

Half Dome, California
Dreamstime/Richard J Thompson

Found on the eastern side of Yosemite Valley, this majestic rock formation is unlike any other in the world.

One side of its face is a sheer cliff, while the other three are smooth and rounded, making it appear like a half-dome.

The crest of this grandiose granite rises nearly 5000 feet above the valley floor, making a stark contrast against the surrounding landscapes.

If you want to put the proverbial feather in your cap and climb the imposing Half Dome, then you may not want to take the path of George G. Anderson, the first to reach the summit, who forged his own path by drilling and putting iron eye bolts into the sheer face of the granite to ascend.

Today, you can ascend Half Dome by following the 8.5-mile trail that starts on the valley floor.

After tackling the challenging 2-mile climb featuring hundreds of granite stairs, you'll follow the final pitch around the east face.

The view from the top is well worth the climb since the smooth top of Half Dome gives you a great view of Yosemite Valley.

Height: 8846 ft (2696 m)

Address: Yosemite National Park, CA

16: Adirondack Mountains, New York

Adirondack Mountains, New York

Located on the tip of northeastern New York, the Adirondack Mountains are a sight to behold, with the 5000-square-mile mountain range forming a circular dome with a diameter of 160 miles.

If climbing is your forte, you'll appreciate the hundreds of mountains you can climb, up to 5000 feet in height.

With lots of great winter activities, a thriving cultural landscape, and gorgeous rocky formations for hikers and climbers of all experience levels, the Adirondack mountains are some of the best mountains to visit in the USA.

Height: 5,343 ft (1628.57 m)

Address: Adirondacks, NY

17: Cadillac Mountain, Maine

Cadillac Mountain, Maine
Dreamstime/Mary Katherine Wynn

Located on Mount Desert Island, Cadillac Mountain is a beautiful sight to see if you're visiting Maine.

Romantically described as the first place to see the sunrise, you're certainly in for a treat if you're early to rise.

The most popular time of day for Cadillac visitors is sunrise, and the short Cadillac Summit Loop trail is a great option for beginners.

Cadillac Mountain has beautiful views of the glaciated coast and island scenery.

A paved 3.5-mile walk makes it a great choice for some brisk exercise to be rewarded with a beautiful view.

Height: 1,530 ft (466 m)

Address: Acadia National Park, ME

18: Camelback Mountain, Arizona

Camelback Mountain, Arizona

Located in Phoenix, Camelback Mountain gets its name from the resemblance to a kneeling camel.

The mountain has no shortage of adventures, with hiking and rock-climbing adventurers returning to the mountain year after year.

Both trails are challenging, with steep grades and some handrail-assisted sections, but the view is truly incredible.

Even just seeing the mountain from afar on Camelback Road is a magnificent spectacle.

Height: 2,706 ft (825 m)

Address: Camelback Mountain, Phoenix, AZ

19: Mount Hood, Oregon

Mount Hood, Oregon

Mount Hood, located on the border of Clackamas and Hood River counties, sits aloft above the landscape, surrounded by lush greenery that contrasts with its snow-white peaks.

Home to several glaciers and snowfields, Mount Hood, is the only North American mountain that has year-round skiing serviced by lifts.

Technically, Mount Hood is a potentially active stratovolcano, which just makes this must-see mountain even more of an adventure.

If you’re visiting Mount Hood, make sure to check out the Mount Hood National Forest, which consists of over 1 million acres of land, including 4 wilderness zones and 1200 miles of hiking trails.

If you prefer a tamer adventure, there are always scenic driving tours that will give you a beautiful view of Mount Hood as it towers above the surrounding area.

Height: 11,249 ft (3,429 m)

Address: Mount Hood, OR

20: Mount Mansfield, Vermont

Mount Mansfield, Vermont
Dreamstime/Caleb Foster

The tallest in Vermont, Mount Mansfield, peaks at 4400 feet above sea level.

If you're visiting this mountain, it's best viewed from the east, where the side profile has the distinct features of a human face—forehead, nose, chin, lips, and Adam's apple all included.

If you want to see a relic of history, you can see true alpine tundra found on the summit of Mount Mansfield.

There are several trails for adventurers looking to tackle this mountain, including the Long Trail or a hike from the Stowe Base Lodge past The Nose and to The Chin.

Height: 4393 ft (1339 m)

Address: Mt. Mansfield, Stowe, VT

Final Thoughts on the Most Beautiful Mountains in the USA

There are many beautiful mountains to visit in the USA. Some are more popular than others, but all offer stunning views and an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Each mountain range has its own unique features and offers different opportunities for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. So whether you're looking for a challenging hike or a relaxing weekend in nature, there's a mountain destination for you in the USA.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1: Where are the most beautiful mountains in the USA?

The most beautiful mountains in the USA are found in the northeastern region, with the magnificent Smoky Mountains and Appalachian Mountains considered some of the best mountains in the US.

2: What is the most photographed mountain in the US?

The Maroon Bells are the most photographed mountains in the country, with thousands of visitors enjoying the gorgeous peaks, pristine forests, and mirror-like lakes, making it among the prettiest mountains in the US.

3: What is the most visited mountain in the US?

The Rocky Mountains, spanning over 3000 miles of splendid trails and beautiful forests, are the most visited mountains in the United States.

4. What is the most famous mountain in the US?

Mount Rushmore is the most famous mountain in the US, featuring four US Presidents carved into the rock face.

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