Travellers that love being adventurous and spending time outside are certainly always looking for a new spot they can visit to enjoy the great outdoors. A good option for an active holiday is travelling to a mountain range, as they offer various activities such as hiking, cycling, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, fishing, and so much more.
Regardless of whether you are travelling on your own or going with friends, here are some picturesque mountain ranges for you to consider if you’re trying to explore every single corner of the US.
The Alaska Range Mountains
If you want to visit the highest mountain in North America – Denali, you need to go to the Alaska Range. While a bit more remote, this area has some of the most incredible peaks that the US has to offer. Besides Denali that is 20,310 feet high, the skyline is also dominated by Mount Foraker and Mount Hunter.
You can get on a trail and see the gorgeous nature up-close but you can also opt for a helicopter ride or a day cruise. From Anchorage, you can reach the Denali National Park by renting a car, taking an air taxi, or getting on a train or bus. In terms of accommodation, you can camp or find lodging in one of the nearby communities.
The Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachians run from Newfoundland all the way to Central Alabama. Over 1,500 miles long, it’s only normal that this huge range is divided into smaller sections. The highest point is Mount Mitchell, in North Carolina. Seeing as how the Appalachians are so large, there is a wide array of activities you can do once you visit it.
For instance, pitching a tent on Roan Mountain will give you a gorgeous view of the Blue Ridge Mountains at sunrise. Speaking of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you will surely be left speechless by their unique blue colour. Other activities include caving in Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park and white water rafting in West Virginia.
The Great Smoky Mountains
A subrange of the Appalachian Mountains and a part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains are home to the most visited national park in the United States. These mountains, located on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, got their name thanks to the fog that typically hovers around the peaks and creates a smoky effect.
From paddling Fontana Lake to exploring some of the hundred-plus waterfalls all the way to walking the Appalachian Trail, there are many activities that travelers can opt for. Luckily, lodging options in the vicinity are plenty.
The Rocky Mountains
You are surely aware of the Rocky Mountains but did you know that they actually include over 100 distinct ranges? Three of the four subdivisions are located in the US and no matter if you choose the Middle Rockies, the Southern Rockies, or the Colorado Plateau, you will have a great time. For example, if you find yourself in Wyoming, you can see the highest peak of the Middle Rocky Mountains – Grand Teton.
On the other hand, if you travel to Utah, you can visit the Wasatch Mountains and their highest point, Mount Nebo, or the Uinta Mountains. Finally, if you’re looking for some fun in Colorado, the Elk Mountains might be just what you need. There are six peaks that are over 13,000 feet high, which makes this the perfect destination for recreational alpinism.
The Olympic Mountains
Travelling to the state of Washington is a great opportunity to reconnect with nature. Located on the Olympic Peninsula, the Olympic Mountains and their peak Mount Olympus was named after the mythical Greek mountain that is home to the gods. As they are not very high, they provide visitors with a chance to do some mountain biking.
If you and your travelling buddies are fans of this activity, don’t forget to bring your quality mountain bikes and make the most of your trip to the Pacific Northwest. You can also go boating on the beautiful Lake Crescent and walk around to explore the local picture-perfect beaches.
The Sierra Nevada
Located in California and Nevada, the Sierra Nevada mountain range offers many stunning vistas to its visitors. The range includes three national parks, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, and Kings Canyon National Park, which are all full of wildlife sightings and one-of-a-kind experiences.
Some of the unique features that the Sierra Nevada boasts include Lake Tahoe, North America’s largest alpine lake, General Sherman, the world’s largest living single-stem tree, and Yosemite Valley that has many high waterfalls. If you’re looking to save some money while travelling, you can look into the camping options or rent a lodge with your friends.
The Adirondack Mountains
On the other hand, if you’d rather explore the northeast, you can go to the Adirondack Mountains in New York. The mountains of this range form a somewhat circular dome that is around 160 miles in diameter.
You might also be glad to hear that, in addition to hundreds of mountain peaks, there are over 200 lakes in this area, including Lake Placid, Lake George, and the source of the Hudson River – Lake Tear of the Clouds.
From forests full of pine, spruce, and deciduous trees to wetlands like swamps, marshes, and bogs, the Adirondack Mountains are teeming with wildlife that you can easily spot.
The Cascade Mountain Range
The Cascade Range or simply the Cascades are situated in western North America and they extend from British Columbia to Northern California. Mount Rainier is the range’s highest peak, at 14,411 feet. What’s interesting about this range is that it includes both volcanoes and non-volcanic mountains and is part of the Ring of Fire – the region on the rim of the Pacific Ocean that frequently experiences earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
In fact, Mount Saint Helens last erupted in 2018. The North Cascades National Park is a true paradise for hikers and backpackers with its many trails, emerald green slopes, and rugged mountain peaks.
The Arbuckle Mountains
When you find yourself visiting Oklahoma, you don’t want to skip the gorgeous scenery of the Arbuckle Mountains. This ancient range that dates back to some 1.4 billion years ago is located in south-central Oklahoma.
There are several campgrounds that you can use to truly discover everything that this stunning place has to offer, from Turner Falls Park where you can swim in a natural swimming pool and explore caves to Chickasaw National Recreation Area where you and your family can swim, fish, and have a picnic, among many other activities.
California Coast Ranges
Finally, for the last range we will mention, we are going back west to the Coast Ranges of California. Spanning from Del Norte County to Santa Barbara County, this range covers 400 miles and includes some of the most scenic parts of California.
For example, this area is home to Big Sur, a rugged section of the Californian coast that is often considered to be a national treasure. Even though hiking options abound, you can also drive along the Pacific Coast Highway and take in all the breathtaking vistas that way.
If you are passionate about exploring the mountain ranges of the United States, you’re certainly glad to hear that there are so many out there. Only the Rockies require plenty of time to cover so make sure you plan your trip properly and do research to know how to get to certain locations and find accommodation.