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Even if you are not an Earth science student, it is undoubtedly fascinating to learn about mountains.
In North America, particularly in the United States, several mountain ranges with exceptionally tall peaks exist, making them great to learn about and visit. Interestingly, the top 10 highest mountain peaks in the United States are all located in Alaska.
While the mountains in Alaska have similar ecological characteristics, each range still has its own signature feature that makes it stand out. Additionally, since most of these ranges are part of various national parks, visitors often get a chance to catch glimpses of exotic wild animals, endemic animals, and even Endangered animals.
A variety of thrilling activities are also provided in these locations that only help to make the experience better. The Sierra Nevada is also exceptionally famous for having multiple tourist attractions and some of the most beautiful summits outside of Alaska. In comparison to Alaska, Sierra has a much milder climate. Summits like Mount Whitney, Mount Bear, and Mount Lucania should be on the top of your list for places to visit the next time you plan a trip!
To learn more about the biggest mountain in America, keep reading! You can also check out American Indians facts and the American invention list.
Belonging to South Central Alaska, the Alaska Range is one of the most popular mountain ranges in both the United States and North America.
It even extends towards British Columbia in Canada. Alaska Range is often compared to the Andes and Himalayan ranges for its exceptional height. The Alaska range extends in an east-west manner in the country and is narrow compared to many other mountain ranges. In its east-west extension, it covers an area of 400 mi (643.7 km).
The highest point in this mountain range is known as the Denali, which was formerly called Mount Mckinley. This mountain has an elevation of 20,310 ft (6190.4 m), making it the highest peak in North America. Mount Mckinley is located in the central parts of the Alaska Range, within the Denali National Park and Preserve, where the range has gained Protected status. It is also the third most prominent, as whenever the weather is a bit clear, this mountain is visible from nearly 200 mi (322 km) away.
The second highest peak right after Mount Mckinley is Mount Foraker. Located near Mckinley, on its southwest side, the peak of Mount Foraker is 17,400 ft (5303.5 m) above sea level. In the United States, Mount Foraker is notable for having the third highest peak.
The ecology of the Alaska Range, due to the severe height of this range, does not have many trees, and much of the land remains barren. However, at the lower elevation points, there is the presence of vegetation, which includes birch, willow, and alder.
The wildlife population is also quite intriguing as several animals, including the gray wolves, brown bears, and wolverine, call the Alaskan Range their home. Many of these animals can be found living within various national parks in the region, including the Denali National Park and Reserve, which is also the home to the tallest mountain of the range.
The presence of both these spectacular mountain peaks in the Alaska Range, along with some other noteworthy mountains like Mount Hunter, Mount Silverthrone, and Mount Crosson, make it a hotspot for tourists and mountain climbers. Mount Hunter is found within the famous Denali National Park and Preserve and is the third tallest mountain in the entire range.
The Saint Elias mountains are part of both the United States and Canada. In the former, they are limited to Alaska, while in the latter, they are present in the Yukon Territory. The Saint Elias range is a part of the Pacific Coast Ranges and is the highest coastal mountain range.
This mountain range covers an area of 43,000 mi2 (111369.5 km2), with its second-highest summit having an elevation of 18,009 ft (5,489 m). This second tallest peak is known as Mount Saint Elias, after which the entire mountain range was named. However, the highest peak in this range, and second only to Mount Mckinley all over North America, is Mount Logan, which is present 19,551 ft (5,959 m) above sea level. Several other major peaks are also present in this range, making it one of the most well-known ranges in North America.
Mount Bona, with an elevation of 16,421 ft (5,005 m), is present in Eastern Alaska and has the fifth-highest elevation in the country. However, did you know that Mount Bona is more famous for another fascinating reason? Mount Bona is the highest volcano in the country! However, the last time it erupted was 847 AD. So, it is safe to assume that the mountain is either dormant or extinct.
Another notable peak, known as Mount Lucania, is the third highest in Canada for having a height of 17,147 ft (5,226 m). Mount Bear, Mount Hubbard, Mount Fairweather, and Mount Alverstone are also considered some of the highest significant summits in this range. Mount Bear has an elevation of 14,831 ft (4,520 m), while Mount Hubbard fairs slightly better at 15,015 ft (4,577 m).
Mount Fairweather is known for being the tallest in British Columbia, with a height of 15,325 ft (4,671 m). Mount Alverstone, a summit present in Alaska and Yukon, measures about 14,565 ft (4,439 m). Mount Kennedy belonging to this range, has an elevation of nearly 14,000 ft (4,267 m) and is remembered mainly for being a memorial for president John F. Kennedy. Mount Kennedy is located 67 mi (108 km) away from Mount Saint Elias, the second tallest mountain in the whole range.
The entire Saint Elias range is a part of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Reserve. It is also included within Kluane National Park and Reserve and the Glacier Bay National Park. In the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Reserve, a diverse range of flora and fauna, also exist, with the Steller sea lion, an Endangered species, inhabiting the waterbodies in the National Park. Interestingly, this park has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for being home to diverse wildlife and the largest national park and preserve managed by the National Park Service.
Located on the east side of Alaska, the Wrangell Mountains are a part of the Pacific Coast Range.
This mountain range was named in honor of a Russian explorer by the name of Ferdinand P. Wrangel. The United States Geological Survey has estimated that this entire mountain range extends for nearly 100 mi (161 km).
The two highest peaks in the Wrangell Mountains are Mount Blackburn and Mount Sanford. The former has a height of 16,390 ft (4,996 m), making it the highest mountain within the range, while Mount Sanford comes in close at the second position with a height of 16,237 ft (4,949 m).
Both these mountains are considered to be the fifth and sixth highest peaks in the United States, respectively. Some of the famous first climbers of Mount Blackburn were Hans Gmoser, Leon Blumer, and Bruce Gilbert. They climbed the summit in 1958 without knowing they were the first to do so.
Interestingly, both Mount Sanford and Mount Blackburn are volcanoes, although they are now considered dormant or extinct. Mount Wrangell, which is a part of this range and has the third-highest point, is still active, and occasional plumes of steam are visible coming from it on clear days.
Tourists are offered a variety of activities in this mountain range. There isn't a shortage of activities for tourists who would like to visit here from fishing to camping. However, one of the dangers of exploring the Wrangell range is the chance of a sudden appearance of a bear. The wild bears tend to get aggressive in case they feel threatened. So, it is best to be alert to the surroundings.
Present in the western region of the United States, the Sierra Nevada Mountains are one of the iconic ranges of the country.
The Sierra Nevada is a part of the American Cordillera, which consists of an almost uninterrupted system of various mountain ranges and peaks that occupy the western parts of North, South, and Central America. Often, this system is referred to as the backbone of these three regions.
Most of the different peaks in this range have varying heights between 11,000-14,000 ft (3,353-4267 m). However, the highest mountain in this range, known as Mount Whitney, has an astonishing height of 14,494 ft (4,418 m). While the top 10 tallest mountains all belong to Alaska, Mount Whitney holds the position for having the tallest peak outside of Alaska.
The biodiversity in the Sierra provides a perfect example of the beauty of the natural world. Compared to other mountain ranges, with a relatively mild climate, this mountain system offers lush evergreen forests on its western side. These forests consist of trees like firs, cedars, and pines. The eastern side is comparatively drier and consists of juniper and aspen trees. Several wild animals like bobcats, northern flying squirrels, and grizzly bears are also commonly found here.
Out of the several reasons for this mountain system becoming so popular, one essential reason is the Sequoia National Park. This park is the site for the largest tree (by volume) in the world, known as General Sherman. Additionally, the tallest mountain of the range, Mount Whitney, is also present within the boundaries of this park.
Sierra also consists of the famous Lake Tahoe, designated as the largest lake of alpine nature in North America. The total surface area of this lake is 200 mi2 (518 km2), while its maximum depth has been measured to be 1,640 ft (41.6 m). This region is also home to one of the highest falls in the world, known as the Yosemite Falls, which drops from a height of 2,425 ft (739 m).
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created many interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for the biggest mountain in America, then why not take a look at what do native Americans eat or what do native Americans wear.
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