Humanities › Geography The Highest Peaks in the United States Share Flipboard Email Print ThoughtCo / Bailey Mariner Geography Physical Geography Basics Political Geography Population Country Information Key Figures & Milestones Maps Urban Geography By Amanda Briney Geography Expert M.A., Geography, California State University - East Bay B.A., English and Geography, California State University - Sacramento Amanda Briney, M.A., is a professional geographer. She holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from California State University. our editorial process Amanda Briney Updated July 23, 2019 When the United States’ Congress added Alaska as a state, the country grew cumulatively a lot taller, as the ten highest mountains in the country are all in the largest state. The highest point in the contiguous (lower) 48 states is Mt. Whitney in California, and that one doesn’t show up in the list until No. 12. Many of the elevations below are derived from the United States Geological Survey; differences among sources may be because listed elevations come from the point of a triangulation station or other benchmark. Denali’s elevation was surveyed most recently in 2015. 01 of 20 Denali C. Fredrickson Photography / Getty Images Denali Peak: 20,310 feet (6,190 m)State: AlaskaRange: Alaska Range The jewel of Denali National Park north of Anchorage, this peak might not be easy to get to, but you go because it’s there. In 2015, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park System, the name was changed to Denali from Mount McKinley. Back in 1916, naturalists were hoping the name of the park would be Denali National Park, but government officials went for consistency, naming it after the contemporaneous name of the mountain. 02 of 20 Mount Saint Elias Andrew Peacock / Getty Images Mount Saint Elias Peak: 18,008 feet (5,489 m)States: Alaska and the Yukon TerritoryRange: Saint Elias Mountains The second tallest peak in the United States sits on the Alaska/Canada border and was first ascended in 1897. In a 2009 documentary, three mountaineers tell the story of their attempt to summit and then ski down the mountain. 03 of 20 Mount Foraker John Elk / Getty Images Mount Foraker Peak: 17,400 feet (5,304 m)State: AlaskaRange: Alaska Range Mount Foraker is the second-highest peak in Denali National Park and was named for Senator Joseph B. Foraker. Its alternate name of Sultana means “woman” or “wife” (of Denali). 04 of 20 Mount Bona Wikimedia Commons Mount Bona Peak: 16,550 feet (5,044 m)State: AlaskaRange: Wrangell Mountains Alaska’s Mount Bona is the highest volcano in the United States. No need to worry about eruptions, however, as the volcano is dormant. 05 of 20 Mount Blackburn Andrew Peacock / Getty Images Mount Blackburn Peak: 16,390 feet (4,996 m)State: AlaskaRange: Wrangell Mountains Dormant volcano Mount Blackburn is also in the Wrangell–St. Elias National Park, the largest National Park in the United States, along with Mount Saint Elias and Mount Sanford. 06 of 20 Mount Sanford Tan Yilmaz / Getty Images Mount Sanford Peak: 16,237 feet (4,949 m)State: AlaskaRange: Wrangell Mountains Plumes were seen coming from dormant volcano Mount Sanford in 2010, but the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported that they likely weren’t a result of internal heat but warming of the face or rock or ice fall activity. 07 of 20 Mount Vancouver Mount Vancouver Peak: 15,979 feet (4,870 m)States: Alaska/Yukon TerritoryRange: Saint Elias Mountains Straddling national parks in both Alaska and Canada, Mount Vancouver’s highest peak was first reached in 1949, but it reportedly retains one peak that hasn’t been mastered, the highest unclimbed peak in Canada. 08 of 20 Mount Fairweather Gavriel Jecan / Getty Images Mount Fairweather Peak: 15,300 feet (4,671 m)States: Alaska and British ColumbiaRange: Saint Elias Mountains The highest summit in Glacier National Park and Preserve, Mount Fairweather belies its name. It can receive more than 100 inches of precipitation per year, and its unpredictable storms make it one of the least visited peaks of its size in North America. 09 of 20 Mount Hubbard Westend61 / Getty Images Mount Hubbard Peak: 14,950 feet (4,557 m)States: Alaska and the Yukon TerritoryRange: Saint Elias Mountains Mount Hubbard, another peak that straddles two countries’ national parks, was named for the founder and first president of the National Geographic Society, Gardiner G. Hubbard. 10 of 20 Mount Bear Mount Bear Peak: 14,831 feet (4,520 m)State: AlaskaRange: Saint Elias Mountains Mount Bear lies at the head of the Anderson Glacier and was named by Alaska and Canada boundary surveyors back in 1912–1913. It became the officially approved name in 1917. 11 of 20 Mount Hunter Mount Hunter Peak: 14,573 feet (4,442 m)State: AlaskaRange: Alaska Range Rounding out the Denali family is Mount Hunter, reportedly called Begguya, or “Denali’s child,” by the native population of the area. Some in Captain James Cook’s expedition in 1906 called it “Little McKinley,” though it was also called “Mount Roosevelt,” after Theodore Roosevelt, by prospectors. 12 of 20 Mount Alverstone Chlaus Lotscher / Getty Images Mount Alverstone Peak: 14,500 feet (4,420 m)States: Alaska and the Yukon TerritoryRange: Saint Elias Mountains Following controversy about whether Mount Alverstone was in Canada or Alaska, the mountain was named after the boundary commissioner who cast the deciding vote that it resided in the United States. 13 of 20 Mount Whitney Santi Visalli / Getty Images Mount Whitney Peak: 14,494 feet (4,417 m)State: CaliforniaRange: Sierra Nevada Mount Whitney is the highest elevation in California and thus in the lower 48 states and is on the eastern border of Sequoia National Park. 14 of 20 University Peak Mint Images / Frans Lanting / Getty Images University Peak: 14,470 feet (4,410 m)State: AlaskaRange: Saint Elias Mountains This peak, near Mount Bona, was named in honor of the University of Alaska by its president. In 1955 a University of Alaska team became the first to summit this peak. 15 of 20 Mount Elbert Lightvision, LLC / Getty Images Mount Elbert Peak: 14,433 feet (4,399 m)State: ColoradoRange: Sawatch Range The Rocky Mountains range finally makes a list with the highest peak in Colorado, Mount Elbert. It was named after Samuel Elbert, a former territorial governor of Colorado, Colorado State Supreme Court Justice and a conservationist. 16 of 20 Mount Massive Mount Massive Peak: 14,421 feet (4,385 m)State: ColoradoRange: Sawatch Range Mount Massive has five summits above 14,000 feet and is part of the Mount Massive Wilderness area. 17 of 20 Mount Harvard Mount Harvard Peak: 14,420 feet (4,391 m)State: ColoradoRange: Collegiate Peaks As you might have guessed, Mount Harvard was named for the school, so done by members of the Harvard Mining School in 1869. Can you believe they were inspecting the Collegiate Peaks at the time? 18 of 20 Mount Rainier Didier Marti / Getty Images Mount Rainier Peak: 14,410 feet (4,392 m)State: WashingtonRange: Cascade Range The highest peak in the Cascades and Washington state, Mount Rainier is a dormant volcano and among the most seismically active in the Cascades after Mount St. Helens, boasting around 20 small earthquakes a year. However, in September 2017, there was a couple of dozen in just a week. 19 of 20 Mount Williamson Galen Rowell / Getty Images Mount Williamson Peak: 14,370 feet (4,380 m)State: CaliforniaRange: Sierra Nevada Even though Mount Williamson isn’t the tallest in California, it's known for having a challenging ascent. 20 of 20 La Plata Peak Nan Palmero / Wikimedia Commons La Plata Peak: 14,361 feet (4,377 m)State: ColoradoRange: Collegiate Peaks La Plata Peak, part of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness area, means “silver” in Spanish, though presumably, that is just a reference to its color rather than any riches.