The Most Beautiful Mountains In The USA
Mountains are more than simple geologic features on the surface of the planet. They serve as reminders to the true and everlasting magnificence and beauty of Mother Earth. They dominate the Earth’s crust, towering above the highest clouds and looking down on the highest structures that man can ever build. They give us something peaceful to look at whenever life isn’t being fair. In their steely silence is the sense of tranquility and peace that we can always rely on for inspiration. And if you’re looking for the most beautiful mountains to draw your inspirations from, you don’t need to look any further than these 10 landforms right here in the US.
1. Grand Tetons
Mountaineers, trekkers, and adventurers call the Grand Teton the mecca of American mountaineering. Standing some 13,775 feet above sea level, this mountain is an important part of the Rocky Mountains that extends from Alaska all the way to New Mexico. The Grand Teton is one of the true gems of northwestern Wyoming.
Many tourists who visit the mountain for the first time can attest to the stunning beauty of the peaks. It is one of North America’s most beautiful and most popular subjects for nature photography. It features more than 200 miles of trails that allow for both viewing and exploration.
From a distance, the Grand Tetons may look small, but it has a presence that no other summit can project. Take your time to explore the many trails or take a gentle cruise on the river. There are endless opportunities for fantastic photographs, especially if you have a drone. Take a pair of water shoes with you and take your shots from the middle of the river. Such an experience can give you a very different view of the natural world. It is impossible not to get so immersed in the beauty of the place.
2. Mount Rainier
From the Mount Rainier National Park, you’ll get easy access to Washington’s tallest peak, Mount Rainier. This peak is an active stratovolcano some 95 miles from Seattle. It soars above the Washington skyline with its peaks in a blanket of white snow. It is one of North America’s isolated yet most prominent peaks. So if you plan on visiting it, make sure you wear your ski pants and ski jacket.
Part of Mount Rainier’s allure is its status as one of the planet’s most dangerous volcanoes. Its massive glacial ice can produce massive pyroclastic flows that can endanger the folks of Puyallup River valley. Yet it is this dangerous nature of Mount Rainier that gives it a sense of mysticism like the Roman Gods that play with fire on Mount Etna.
Marveling at the beauty of Mount Rainier doesn’t need you to trek all the way to its 14,411-foot summit. Flying to Seattle gives you the chance to marvel at the imposing size of this peak. The National Park provides an up-close-and-personal experience for everyone. Endless vantage points and hiking trails await those who want a different experience. For those who are masters of the ski, there’s nothing better than to marvel at the sight of the world from the summit of Mount Rainier.
3. Maroon Bells
Some 12 miles from the world-class ski resorts of Aspen, Colorado is the twin peaks of Maroon Bells. These two peaks are part of the rugged Elk Mountain range of the Rockies towering some 14,163 feet above sea level. The best vantage point to marvel at these peaks is at Maroon Lake. Its crystal-clear water can provide a stunning reflection of the Maroon Bells. It’s an Instagram-worthy sight that never fails to draw inspiration from those seeking some form of peace in this part of the United States.
Getting to Maroon Bells is never a problem in the summer as buses run the route from 8:30 in the morning until 5:30 in the afternoon. If you cannot take the bus, you may as well drive your car or your mountain bike, roller skates, or skateboard. The latter three offer a more fascinating experience as you get to enjoy the view from different vantage points.
Between mid-September and early October, leaf peepers have the rare opportunity to marvel at the world’s best foliage. The sea of Aspen trees transform into a magical blend of colors as this part of the world starts to greet the first drops of snowflakes.
4. Mount McKinley
Requiring no introduction, Mount McKinley is one of the nation’s most beautiful mountains. People call Mount McKinley the Denali which sits some 20,310 feet above sea level. Its upper two-thirds always have a blanket of snow so make sure you wear your winter jacket and winter boots. Thick clouds form a beautiful demarcation line with its bottom third in stunning earth colors. Smaller mountains provide a foreground that sets the stage for a fantastic view.
Denali is the planet’s third most isolated peak, following in the footsteps of Mount Everest and Aconcagua. This does not mean that it is unreachable. One has to be a veteran mountaineer and an expert climber if one wishes to reach the summit of the US’s highest peak. There’s no reason to despair if you cannot climb. The view of Mount McKinley from the ground is something that can still take your breath away in ways no other mountain can offer.
The best time to appreciate Mount McKinley is in the morning before clouds start to shroud its top. There are also close to 12,000 different glaciers and lakes in the Denali National Park, the perfect foreground to the majestic peak. If you won’t find peace looking at the mountain, you’ll find some in the pristine wilderness of the land.
5. Mount Whitney
At an elevation of 14,505 feet, Mount Whitney boasts of having the highest summit in the conterminous United States. It is also the most famous summit in the Sierra Nevada because of the fantastic views of its snowy range.
While Mount Whitney is a giant, climbing its slopes is never a toil. There’s a gentle route for beginning hikers and mountaineers that starts from Whitney Portal. It is a gentle climb, but one that requires perseverance since you’re going to trek more than 11 miles, so make sure you bring your trekking poles to help you along the way. For veteran climbers, the Mountaineers Route offers a more challenging Class 3 climb. There’s also a more technical climb on Mount Whitney’s eastern face, perfect for those who want to push themselves to the hilt.
Mount Whitney looks like a bell that comes with jagged ridges forming the sides. There is not much wildlife you can expect to see on the alpine environment of the mountain. Its biggest draw is the spectacular landscape of the Owens Valley. At a certain vantage point, you can also have a different view of the country’s lowest point – Death Valley.
6. Mount Shasta
The stunning beauty of this mountain continues to attract the attention of presidents, authors, poets, and others. Dominating the landscape of northern California’s Cascade Range, Mount Shasta is one of the nation’s most beautiful peaks. At 14,179 feet, it is also one of the country’s highest mountains.
Mount Shasta is the subject of many tales about Skell, the Spirit of the Above-World. Klamath Tribesmen say Skell continues to fight Llao, the Spirit of the Below-World, by throwing lava and hot rocks. Whether or not you believe in such tales, you should know that Mount Shasta is an active volcano. Together with Mount Mazama, they produce volcanic eruptions every 600 to 800 years. Don’t worry though as the next volcanic activity of Mount Shasta is not going to happen for the next 400 years.
You can always hike on the gentle slopes of Mount Shasta or ski down its alpine paradise, so keep those ski boots handy. Hiking paths are easy and these often take you through meadows full of wildflowers. There are rivers that snake through the alpine forests with occasional streams and waterfalls here and there. It’s a beautiful sight and one that is perfect for disconnecting from modern life.
7. Mount Baker
This peak boasts of being one of the most stunning mountains in North America. Not only that. It also happens to be one of the planet’s best ski resorts. Getting to the top is easy with the network of chairlifts that go up and down the slope. You can always take a ride up to the summit and take a bird’s eye view of the North Cascades. Ski down its slopes and you’ll see a different world opening up before you.
Mount Baker is perfect for skiing enthusiasts. This alpine ski resort boasts of having the highest annual snowfall in the world. On the average, Mount Baker receives 641 inches of snow every year. If you think this is not much, try comparing this with the average snowfall at the Aspen Snowmass. This region is one of the world’s best ski resorts yet it only averages 300 inches every year. In the 1998 to 1999 winter season, the ski area of Mount Baker received a whopping 1,140 inches of snow.
More than being a paradise for skiers, Mount Baker also happens to be very pleasing to the eyes.
8. Mount Elbert
From the shores of Turquoise Lake, Mount Elbert stands proud as it reaches for the blue Colorado sky. It is the state’s highest peak and the highest summit in the Rockies. Standing 14,440 feet above sea level, Mount Elbert is a gentle giant when compared to the other peaks that make up the Rocky Mountain range.
Despite being the Rocky Mountain’s highest peak, Mount Elbert is gentle on hikers and trekkers. Its slopes provide a comfortable climb to the summit where a stunning view of the San Isabel National Forest awaits. As long as you can put one foot ahead of the other, you can be sure to reach the top. The climb itself is very rewarding as you’ll have the best views any mountain can offer.
The alpine environment of Mount Elbert is home to a vast species of flora and fauna. Spruce, fir, aspen, and lodgepole pine trees line the gentle ascent. Every now and then you will spot a mule deer or a marmot doing their thing in the bushes. Halfway to the peak, you’ll also be meeting bighorn sheep.
9. Great Smoky Mountains
This beautiful mountain range boasts of one of the country’s best hiking trails. The range saddles both North Carolina and Tennessee with Clingmans Dome being its highest elevation at 6,643 feet. It pales in comparison to the other mountains we’ve listed here, but its beauty is nonetheless mesmerizing.
As the sun sets in the west giving an orange glow in the horizon, the Great Smoky Mountains take on a mystical look. It’s a scene that is popular among nature photographers and one that is Instagrammable.
There are numerous trails in the Smoky Mountains that cater to every climbing ability and age. Waterfalls, old-growth forests, and great views greet hikers making their way to the different hiking destinations. Endless adventures await those who want to marvel at the beauty of this mountain range.
10. Sawtooth Mountains
Sawtooth is not a single peak, but a range of mountains that form the central Idaho section of the Rocky Mountains. Its highest summit is Thompson Peak at 10,751 feet above sea level. The Sawtooth Mountains is home to more than 400 different lakes that provide a stunning element to its idyllic landscape.
One can always stand in awe of the jagged peaks of the mountain range where every peak seems to align itself with the rest. It’s a magical feeling and one that solidifies the belief in a being far greater than man.
These jagged peaks form a remarkable backdrop to the many recreational facilities of the Sawtooth Wilderness. The best way to enjoy the raw beauty of the place is by going on horseback. You can also go for a day hike through more than 40 trails in the area. No matter how you wish to explore the range, you can always expect to see fascinating views.
The United States features many breathtaking mountains from the West Coast to the East. Each has its own natural beauty to boast of and adventures to offer. Best of all, they’re waiting for you to marvel at their elegance.
- 12 Most Beautiful Mountains in the US, American Expedition
- 7 Scenic US Summits, Reserve America
- Top 10 Most Beautiful Mountains to Visit in the USA, Attractions of America