What Are the Tallest Mountains in the U.S.?

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View of the tallest mountain in the U.S., Denali.

If you love the views overlooking a mountain parkway, enjoy the thrill of mountaineering, or relish in the moment you finally hike to a summit, you might be interested in learning about the locations of the tallest mountains in the U.S. 

Whether you’re interested in taking a trip to Alaska to view its giants or would rather explore the mountains in the contiguous U.S., you’ll find towering peaks worthy of your attention. 

Let’s learn more!

What Is the Tallest Mountain in the World?

India, Nepal, Pakistan, and China have the 100 tallest peaks in the world. Mount Everest, located in the Himalayas between Nepal and Tibet, is the tallest mountain in terms of elevation. Its peak rises to 29,032 feet above sea level.

However, the definition of the “tallest” mountain in the world is a bit controversial. Are mountains ranked tallest by altitude or tallest from base to peak? If the second definition is adopted, Denali is the tallest mountain in the world from base to peak on land, measuring 18,000 feet.

What Is the Tallest Mountain in the U.S.?

The tallest mountain in the U.S. is Denali, formerly Mount McKinley, in Alaska. It’s roughly 3,000 feet taller than Mount Everest, which stands a little over 15,000 feet from base to peak. However, Denali stands 20,310 feet above sea level, a lower altitude than Mount Everest.

Denali sits in the Alaska Range and is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve. The Denali Visitor Center lies about 120 miles south of Fairbanks and 240 miles north of Anchorage.

The national park sits to the west of Highway 3. It’s the third-largest national park in the U.S. at over six million acres.

Keep in Mind: See what makes Denali National Park so popular!

View of the tallest mountain in the U.S., Denali.

The 10 Tallest Mountains in the U.S. Are in Alaska

After Denali, Alaska is also home to the next nine tallest mountains in the U.S. These peaks range from 14,573 to 20,310 feet above sea level. Mount Saint Elias is the second-tallest mountain, and Mount Bona is the fourth-tallest mountain.

Both are in the Saint Elias Mountains. Mount Foraker joins Denali in the Alaska Range as the third-tallest mountain in the U.S.

In the Wrangell Mountains, you have Mount Blackburn and Mount Sanford. Mount Fairweather, Mount Hubbard, and Mount Bear are also in the Saint Elias Mountains. Mount Hunter rounds out the top ten tallest mountains in the U.S. It’s part of the Alaska Range.

What Is the Tallest Mountain in the Continental U.S.?

Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the Lower 48, stands at 14,505 feet above sea level. It’s part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the east-central part of California.

The west slope sits in Sequoia National Park. Ironically, Mount Whitney is only about 85 miles northwest of Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park, the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level.

View of Mount Whitney, one of the tallest mountains.

What Is the Tallest Mountain East of the Mississippi?

Most of the biggest mountains in the U.S. are in the western half of the country. The Appalachian range, which runs from Georgia to Maine, doesn’t have the towering peaks like the Sierra Nevadas or Rockies.

Mount Mitchell in North Carolina is the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi. It’s about 19 miles northeast of Asheville and peaks at 6,684 feet above sea level.

Keep in Mind: Are you considering road tripping across the US? See how long it’ll take!

View of the tallest mountain east of Mississippi.

What Is the Largest Active Volcano In the U.S.?

The largest active volcano in the U.S. is also the largest in the world. But when measured by height from sea level, Mauna Loa doesn’t compare to Mount Everest or Denali.

This Hawaiian volcano rises 13,680 feet above sea level. But it’s what’s underneath the ocean waters that’s mind-blowing.

This active volcano continues another 16,400 feet to the ocean floor. That makes Mauno Loa over 30,000 feet tall! Mauna Loa has an estimated volume of 18,000 cubic miles and covers half of Hawaii Island. This massive volcano is part of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Have You Visited the Tallest Mountains in the U.S.?

To visit the biggest mountains in the U.S. requires a long road trip, a cruise vacation, or a flight to the Last Frontier. The peaks of the Lower 48 are dwarves compared to the towering ridgelines of the Alaskan mountains. But if you can’t make the long trip, there are still plenty of peaks in the contiguous U.S. that are worth visiting. 

Mount Whitney is the 11th tallest mountain in the country. Then the Sawatch Range in Colorado has the next tallest peaks in the Lower 48 — Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet tall, Mount Massive at 14,428 feet tall, and Mount Harvard at 14,421 feet tall. Then, head over to the Pacific Northwest to view Mount Rainer in all its splendor at 14,417 feet above sea level.

Which of these mountains in the U.S. would you like to visit?

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