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Alaska
20,310
California
14,494
Colorado
14,440
Washington
14,411
Wyoming
13,804
Hawaii
13,803
Utah
13,528
New Mexico
13,161
Nevada
13,140
Montana
12,807
Idaho
12,662
Arizona
12,637
Oregon
11,249
Texas
8,751
South Dakota
7,244
North Carolina
6,684
Tennessee
6,643
New Hampshire
6,288
Virginia
5,729
Nebraska
5,429
New York
5,344
Maine
5,268
Oklahoma
4,973
West Virginia
4,863
Georgia
4,784
Vermont
4,395
Kentucky
4,145
Kansas
4,039
South Carolina
3,554
North Dakota
3,506
Massachusetts
3,491
Maryland
3,360
Pennsylvania
3,213
Arkansas
2,753
Alabama
2,413
Connecticut
2,379
Minnesota
2,301
Michigan
1,979
Wisconsin
1,951
New Jersey
1,803
Missouri
1,772
Iowa
1,670
Ohio
1,549
Indiana
1,257
Illinois
1,235
Rhode Island
811
Mississippi
806
Louisiana
535
Delaware
447
District of Columbia
409
Florida
345

Most Mountainous States

Most Mountainous States

Mountains are massive landforms that rise about the surrounding land with steep slopes and a summit point (peak).

Some of the world's great mountain ranges include the following. The Himalayas: The Himalayas are 1,491 miles long, running through central Asia from Afghanistan to Pakistan. The Himalayas are home to the tallest mountain globally, Mt. Everest, whose peak is 29,029 feet. The Andes: The Andes stretch over 4,300 miles through South America, making it the world's longest mountain range. Mt. Aconcagua is the tallest mountain in the Andes, reaching 22,841 feet at its peak. The Alps: Located in central Europe, the Alps are known for their skiing and winter sports. The tallest mountain in the Alps is Mont Blanc, located on the French-Italian border, which sits at 15,782 feet.

The great mountain ranges of the United States are the following. The Rockies: The Rocky Mountains are primarily located in the western United States, stretching from Canada to New Mexico. The Rockies' highest summit is Mount Elbert, which sits at 14,440 feet in Colorado. Sierra Nevada: The Sierra Nevada Mountain Range runs parallel to the Rockies to its west. The Sierra Nevadas are home to the tallest mountain in the contiguous U.S.: Mt. Whitney at 14,505 feet. The Appalachians: The Appalachian Mountains are located in the eastern U.S. and run parallel to the Atlantic Ocean.

How Mountains are Formed

Mountains are formed through tectonic forces when two of Earth's tectonic plates collide. The result of this action is slabs of rock being pushed up into the air forming mountains. Some mountains are also formed through volcanic activity. When one tectonic plate is pushed below another, magma below the Earth's crust is pushed to the surface. Magma below the surface can also be pushed up by volcanic activity below Earth's crust. When magma reaches the surface, it cools and forms hard rock, resulting in dome mountains. Lastly, mountains are also formed by erosion, although the process is extremely slow. On plateaus, rivers and streams can wear away stone and create deep channels. After millions of years, mountains are carved out with river valleys. The most mountainous states in the U.S. are, unsurprisingly, called the Mountain States. There are eight mountain states, all of which are located in the Mountain Time Zone, except for Nevada.

Most Mountainous States

State
Highest Elevation
Alaska20,310
California14,494
Colorado14,440
Washington14,411
Wyoming13,804
Hawaii13,803
Utah13,528
New Mexico13,161
Nevada13,140
Montana12,807

Colorado

Colorado has the highest mean elevation of any U.S. state at 6,800 feet (2,070 meters). Colorado is known for its ski resorts and many peaks above 14,000 feet. The state is also home to 30 of the Rockies' tallest peaks, including the 14,440-foot high Mt. Elbert. Colorado's lowest point is at the Arikaree River at the Kansas border, which is still 3,317 feet (1,011 meters) above sea level.

Wyoming

Wyoming has the second-highest average elevation at 6,700 feet (2,040 meters). The Rockies covers most of Wyoming's western part. Wyoming's highest point is Gannett Peak, which sits at 13,804 feet. The lowest point of elevation is 3,125 feet (952 meters) at Bella Fourche.

Utah

Colorado's neighbor Utah has the third-highest mean elevation in the country. Utah’s mean elevation is 6,100 feet (1,860 meters). Utah is also known for its skiing and winter sports, as well as other landscapes like its famous salt flats. The highest point in Utah is Kings Peak, at 13,528 feet, while its lowest point in Utah is at the Beaver Dam Wash at 2,180 feet.

New Mexico

New Mexico receives the bottom part of the Rocky Mountains. Its average elevation is 5,700 feet (1,740 meters). The state's landscape includes snow-covered mountain peaks as well as deserts and mesas. New Mexico's highest peak is Wheeler Peak, sitting at an elevation of 13,161 feet, while its lowest point of elevation is 2,844 at Red Bluff Reservoir.

Nevada

Nevada might come as a surprise to some people because they usually associate the state with deserts. However, Nevada is one of the most mountainous states in the U.S., with an average election of 5,500 feet (1,680 meters). Nevada's highest peak is Boundary Peak sitting at 13,147 feet. Nevada's lowest elevation is found at its southernmost border with California along the Colorado River, sitting at 481 feet.

Idaho

Idaho's average elevation is 5,000 feet (1,520 meters), with its highest peak located at Borah Peak at 12,668 feet. The state is home to several sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains and, along with Montana, helps connect the Rockies to Canada. Idaho's lowest elevation is located at the state's western border at the Snake River, with an elevation of 713 feet.

Arizona

Because Arizona is often associated with deserts, it might also be a surprise to know it's one of the most mountainous states in the U.S. Arizona's highest point is Humphreys Peak at 12,637 feet. The state's average elevation is 4,100 feet (1,250 meters). Flagstaff has an elevation of 6,910 feet, making it the highest city in the state. Arizona's lowest elevation is the Colorado River at 70 feet.

Montana

Montana is the final Mountain state and boasts the eighth-highest average elevation in the United States at 3,400 feet (1,040 meters). The Rockies run through Montana and Idaho to Canada. Montana's tallest point is Granite Peak, at 12,807 feet, and the lowest point is 1,804 feet above sea level.

The table below has each state's highest peak, lowest point, and average elevation. If the lowest point is zero, that means the state's lowest point is at sea level.

Most Mountainous States

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State
Location
Highest Elevation (ft)
AlaskaDenali20,310
CaliforniaMount Whitney14,494
ColoradoMt. Elbert14,440
WashingtonMount Rainier14,411
WyomingGannett Peak13,804
HawaiiPu'u Wekiu, Mauna Kea13,803
UtahKings Peak13,528
New MexicoWheeler Peak13,161
NevadaBoundary Peak13,140
MontanaGranite Peak12,807
IdahoBorah Peak12,662
ArizonaHumphreys Peak12,637
OregonMount Hood11,249
TexasGuadalupe Peak8,751
South DakotaBlack Elk Peak7,244
North CarolinaMount Mitchel6,684
TennesseeClingmans Dome6,643
New HampshireMount Washington6,288
VirginiaMount Rogers5,729
NebraskaPanorama Point5,429
New YorkMount Marcy5,344
MaineMount Katahdin5,268
OklahomaBlack Mesa4,973
West VirginiaSpruce Knob4,863
GeorgiaBrasstown Bald4,784
VermontMount Mansfield4,395
KentuckyBlack Mountain4,145
KansasMount Sunflower4,039
South CarolinaSassafras Mountain3,554
North DakotaWhite Butte3,506
MassachusettsMount Greylock3,491
MarylandHoye-Crest3,360
PennsylvaniaMount Davis3,213
ArkansasMagazine Mountain2,753
AlabamaMount Cheaha2,413
ConnecticutMt. Frissell2,379
MinnesotaEagle Mountain2,301
MichiganMount Arvon1,979
WisconsinTimms Hill1,951
New JerseyHigh Point1,803
MissouriTaum Sauk Mountain1,772
IowaHawkeye Point1,670
OhioCampbell Hill1,549
IndianaHoosier Hill1,257
IllinoisCharles Mound1,235
Rhode IslandJerimoth Hill811
MississippiWoodall Mountain806
LouisianaDriskill Mountain535
DelawareEbright Road447
District of ColumbiaFort Reno Park409
FloridaBritton Hill345
United States6,050
showing: 51 rows

Most Mountainous States