Guidebook

Highpointing the Most Mountainous States in the Lower 48

Climb to the highest point in the 11 states in the Western USA.

Greg Heil

Description

"Highpointing" is the pursuit of climbing to the top of the highest point above sea level in each of the 50 United States of America. In many ways, this is an entirely arbitrary goal, since many of the flat eastern states' highpoints consist of little more than low hills or elevated sections of prairie. But in some parts of the nation, to reign as a state's high point requires a vaulted summit soaring high into the sky, and it is precisely these lofty mountain peaks that inspire the imagination and encourage climbers to set their sights upon these distinguished summits.

This guidebook skips the ho-hum hills of the Midwest and instead shares the renowned and challenging summits of the Western USA. While Alaska and Hawaii do, of course, count as "west," this guidebook focuses on the highpoints in the most mountainous region of the Lower 48, specifically Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, and California.

Each and every one of the high points in these 11 states offers a beautiful, inspiring summit that is well worth the effort to climb. But be forewarned: some of these mountains are easy hikes, and others are challenging mountaineering excursions that have proved deadly on many occasions. Respect these mountains, and if you can't safely gain the summit, have the humility to turn around so that you can live to climb another day.

Mt. Elbert - Southeast Ridge
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mt. Elbert - Southeast Ridge

Salida
7 - 8 hrs
17.0 km
1,591 m
1,591 m
At 14,433', Mt. Elbert is the tallest mountain in Colorado, and second tallest in the lower 48 states, making its summit a much sought-after destination.
Severe
Private
Borah Peak
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Borah Peak

Sun Valley
12.2 km
1,607 m
At 12,662 feet ASL, Borah Peak reigns as Idaho's high point
Easy
Private
Henry's Fork to Kings Peak

Henry's Fork to Kings Peak

5 - 6 hrs
21.9 km
1,447 m
205 m
A popular route to the highest peak in Utah
Difficult
Private
Wheeler Peak via the Bull of the Woods trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Wheeler Peak via the Bull of the Woods trail

Taos
23.1 km
1,418 m
1,418 m
The best way to the highest point in New Mexico
Severe
Private
Boundary Peak
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Boundary Peak

5 - 6 hrs
12.7 km
1,082 m
1,082 m
Scale the tallest peak in Nevada!
Severe
Private
Mount Whitney via Whitney Portal
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Whitney via Whitney Portal

32.8 km
2,001 m
The famous day or overnight hike to stand atop the contiguous United States' highest summit.
Moderate
Private
Mount Rainier - Disappointment Cleaver

Mount Rainier - Disappointment Cleaver

Mount Rainier National Park
23.3 km
2,757 m
Classic route to Washington's highest summit
Moderate
Private
Granite Peak: Huckleberry Creek Route
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Granite Peak: Huckleberry Creek Route

33.4 km
2,389 m
One of the most technical state high points in the USA.
Difficult
Private
Humphreys Peak
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Humphreys Peak

Flagstaff
5 - 6 hrs
15.3 km
1,018 m
1,018 m
Hike to the highpoint of Arizona, over alpine tundra among a huge panorama that includes the Grand Canyon on the horizon.
Difficult
Private
Gannett Peak via Glacier Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Gannett Peak via Glacier Trail

Wind River Range
85.1 km
3,379 m
Wyoming’s highest peak via the Gooseneck Glacier route, approaching from the east via Glacier Trail.
Difficult
Private
Mount Hood: South Side - The Pearly Gates
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Hood: South Side - The Pearly Gates

Timberline Lodge
10.5 km
1,620 m
The classic mountaineering route to the summit of Mount Hood, featuring the famous walk along the Hogsback and passage through the Pearly Gates.
Moderate
Private