North America's Summits

In summer, many of us yearn to escape to the high country, where the air is cool and where spectacular vistas stir the soul. What better time to consider the mountainous topography of North America and ponder the summits of our Continent?

Our highest summit, with an elevation of 20,320 feet, is Denali (also known as Mt. McKinley) in the Alaska Range; other prominent ranges in that State and their summits (in feet) include the Brooks Range (Mt. Isto, 9050), the Chugach Mountains (Mt. Marcus Baker, 13,176), the St. Elias Mountains (Mt. St. Elias, 18,008) and the Wrangell Mountains (Mt. Blackburn, 16,930). The Coast Range of British Columbia tops out at Mt. Waddington (13,176) while Mt. Robson (12,972) is the highest point in the Canadian Rockies. Mt. Ranier (14,411) is the tallest peak in the Cascades and Mt. Whitney (14,505), west of Death Valley, is the highest summit in the Sierra Nevada (and the tallest mountain in the lower 48 States). Mt. Elbert (14,433), in Colorado, is the highest peak in the Southern Rockies.

Harney Peak (7242) tops the Black Hills of South Dakota while Guadelupe Peak (8749) is the summit of the Guadelupe Mountains of west Texas. Several summits in the Boston Mountains of northern Arkansas approach 2600 feet, representing the highest topography of the Ozarks, and Mt. Magazine (2753), in western Arkansas, is the tallest peak in the Ouachitas of Arkansas-Oklahoma. Summit Peak (1958) rises above the Porcupine Mountains of Upper Michigan while Mt. Marcy (5343) is the highest mountain in the Adirondacks of New York. Mt. Mitchell (6684), in North Carolina, forms the summit of the Southern Appalachians while Mt. Washington (6288), of New Hampshire, is the tallest peak in the Northern Appalachians. The highest mountain in eastern Canada is Mt. Caubvick (5420), on Newfoundland, and Pico de Orizaba (18,491), in the Cordillera Neovolcanica, is the tallest summit in Mexico and the third highest mountain in North America.