The Western States in the USA soar to staggering heights! To reach their respective highpoints, you'll have to climb a beautiful array of mountain peaks. This guidebook rounds up all of the highpoints for the western states in the Lower 48.Less
At 14,505 feet above sea level, the top of Mount Whitney is the highest point in the contiguous United States. In the Sierra Nevada, the chain of huge granitic peaks stretching through California, Whitney happens to be the tallest, but it's not actually that formidable to summit. Though technical climbing routes do exist, the Mount Whitney Trail allows passage for fit hikers of average ability.
At 14,433', Mt. Elbert is the tallest mountain in Colorado, and the second tallest in the lower 48 states, making its summit a much sought-after destination. Despite the vaulted height, the climb to the summit is a very achievable endeavor for experienced hikers.
Borah Peak soars to a height of 12,662 feet above sea level, claiming for itself the crown as Idaho’s highest point. As the tallest peak in the state, Borah attracts 3,000 to 5,000 climbers per year looking to bag the high point. Also known as Mount Borah, with over 5,000 feet of vertical prominence over the surrounding landscape, Borah is also ranked as one of the continent's ultra-prominent peaks.
Kings Peak, Utah's highpoint at 13,528 feet above sea level, is an extremely isolated mountain and relatively difficult to climb. Located deep in the Uintan range, most of the routes to the summit require a 2-3 day backpacking excursion.
Wheeler Peak is the crown of New Mexico, soaring to a height of 13,161 feet above sea level. As the state's highpoint, and since it is a non-technical climb, Wheeler receives a significant amount of peak climbing traffic. To score a spot in the parking lot (and to get off the mountain before the afternoon thunderstorms begin), it's advisable to get to the trailhead before dawn, even during the middle of the week.
Boundary Peak is only ranked as the highest peak in Nevada due to a very fine distinction of the California state border that runs between it and its twin, Montgomery Peak. Montgomery Peak is located just across the border in California and is 200 feet higher. Nevertheless, many people still want to bag the highest summit in Nevada as they check off all 50 state high points.
The tallest mountain in Washington state, and one of the most glaciated peaks in the Cascade range, Mount Rainier dominates the western Washington skyline, dwarfing any surrounding mountains with its splendor. Naturally, this makes it a popular climbing destination, with thousands of climbers attempting to reach its summit. Roughly half of those attempts are successfully, with the remainder turned back by weather or fatigue.
Granite Peak reigns as the highest point in the state of Montana, and it's also renowned as one of the most difficult of the state high points to climb. Along with class 3-4 climbing, the peak is notorious for brutal thunderstorms. You'll also have to brave a dangerous ridge of snow and some extreme exposure on one of the final pitches. All sources warn that this mountain is not recommended for novice climbers: Granite Peak has proved deadly several times over.
Humphreys Peak is the highest point on a mountain called the San Francisco Peaks in Northern Arizona. This ancient volcano makes the highpoint of the state, rising to 12,637 feet above sea level. Known locally as “The Peaks,” the mountain has several lesser summits, but Humphreys is the only one with a trail reaching the top. This trail is within a wilderness area of Coconino National Forest and begins at the Arizona Snowbowl ski area.
Gannett Peak is the tallest summit anywhere in the Rocky Mountains outside of Colorado, and thus makes the state highpoint of Wyoming. It’s among the toughest of all US state highpoints to climb, surpassed definitively by Denali only. Gannett Peak via Gooseneck Glacier route involves almost 3,000 feet of moderately technical glacier, snow, and rock climbing. However, the approach to this route is a large factor in the overall difficulty as well.