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U.S. National Forest High Points

Public Land in New Reorganized Forest Units

RankLand NamePeak Elev-M State
1.Inyo National ForestMount Whitney4418California
2.Pike and San Isabel National ForestMount Elbert4399Colorado
3.Rio Grande National ForestBlanca Peak4372Colorado
4.Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison National ForestUncompahgre Peak4361Colorado
5.Arapaho and Roosevelt National ForestGrays Peak4349Colorado
5.White River National ForestGrays Peak4349Colorado
7.San Juan National ForestMount Wilson4342Colorado
8.Shasta-Trinity National ForestMount Shasta4317California
9.Sierra National ForestMount Humphreys4263California
10.Bridger-Teton National ForestGannett Peak4207Wyoming
10.Shoshone National ForestGannett Peak4207Wyoming
12.Ashley National ForestKings Peak4123Utah
13.Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National ForestGilbert Peak4097Utah
14.Chugach National ForestMount Marcus Baker4016Alaska
15.Bighorn National ForestCloud Peak4013Wyoming
16.Carson National ForestWheeler Peak4011New Mexico
17.Santa Fe National ForestTruchas Peak3993New Mexico
18.Medicine Bow-Routt National ForestMount Richthofen3944Colorado
19.Custer National ForestGranite Peak3901Montana
19.Gallatin National ForestGranite Peak3901Montana
21.Manti-Lasal National ForestMount Peale3877Utah
22.Salmon-Challis National ForestBorah Peak3859Idaho
23.Coconino National ForestHumphreys Peak3851Arizona
24.Sequoia National ForestFlorence Peak3789California
25.Humboldt-Toiyabe National ForestDunderberg Peak3772California
26.Gifford Pinchot National ForestMount Adams3742Washington
27.Caribou-Targhee National ForestDiamond Peak3718Idaho
28.Fishlake National ForestDelano Peak3709Utah
29.Sawtooth National ForestHyndman Peak3660Idaho
30.Lincoln National ForestLookout Mountain3530New Mexico
31.Stanislaus National ForestLeavitt Peak3526California
32.San Bernardino National ForestSan Gorgonio Mountain3505California
33.Apache-Sitgreaves National ForestMount Baldy-North Peak3475Arizona
34.Beaverhead-Deerlodge National ForestHilgard Peak3449Montana
35.Dixie National ForestBrian Head3446Utah
36.Cibola National ForestMount Taylor3445New Mexico
37.Mount Hood National ForestMount Hood3426Oregon
38.Gila National ForestWhitewater Baldy3321New Mexico
39.Lake Tahoe Basin Management UnitFreel Peak3317California
40.Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National ForestMount Baker3286Washington
41.Coronado National ForestMount Graham3267Arizona
42.Willamette National ForestMount Jefferson3199Oregon
43.Kaibab National ForestKendrick Peak3175Arizona
44.Eldorado National ForestRound Top3164California
45.Deschutes National ForestSouth Sister3157Oregon
46.Bitterroot National ForestTrapper Peak3096Montana
47.Angeles National ForestMount San Antonio3068California
48.Tongass National ForestKates Needle3053British Columbia/Alaska
49.Modoc National ForestEagle Peak3015California
50.Wallowa-Whitman National ForestSacajawea Peak2999Oregon
51.Boise National ForestSteel Mountain2966Idaho
52.Payette National ForestMormon Mountain2909Idaho
53.Okanogan-Wenatchee National ForestBonanza Peak2899Washington
54.Rogue River-Siskiyou National ForestMount McLoughlin2894Oregon
55.Helena National ForestMount Edith2890Montana
56.Nez Perce National ForestShe Devil2865Idaho
57.Lewis and Clark National ForestRocky Mountain2863Montana
58.Flathead National ForestLowary Peak2856Montana
59.Lolo National ForestScapegoat Mountain2805Montana
60.Fremont-Winema National ForestMount Thielsen2799Oregon
60.Umpqua National ForestMount Thielsen2799Oregon
62.Tahoe National ForestMount Lola2788California
63.Malheur National ForestStrawberry Mountain2755Oregon
64.Klamath National ForestCaesar Peak2719California
65.Los Padres National ForestMount Pinos2692California
66.Clearwater National ForestRanger Peak2687Idaho
67.Kootenai National ForestSnowshoe Peak2663Montana
68.Lassen National ForestCrater Peak2647California
69.Plumas National ForestMount Ingalls2552California
70.Mendocino National ForestSouth Yolla Bolly Mountain2467California
71.Prescott National ForestMount Union2432Arizona
72.Tonto National ForestMyrtle Point2426Arizona
73.Umatilla National ForestVinegar Hill Northeast2416Oregon
74.Idaho Panhandle National ForestSouth Selkirk Crest2350Idaho
75.Colville National ForestGypsy Peak2231Washington
76.Black Hills National ForestHarney Peak2207South Dakota
77.Olympic National ForestMount Fricaba2176Washington
78.Six Rivers National ForestSalmon Mountain2120California
79.Ochoco National ForestLookout Mountain2111Oregon
80.National Forests in North CarolinaBalsam Cone2012North Carolina
81.Cleveland National ForestMount Laguna1920California
82.Cherokee National ForestRoan High Knob1916North Carolina/Tennessee
83.White Mountain National ForestWhite Mountain National Forest High Point1872New Hampshire
84.George Washington-Jefferson National ForestMount Rogers1746Virginia
85.Monongahela National ForestSpruce Knob1482West Virginia
86.Chattahoochee-Oconee National ForestsBrasstown Bald1458Georgia
87.Nebraska National ForestSoldier Creek Wilderness High Point1445Nebraska
88.Siuslaw National ForestMarys Peak1249Oregon
89.Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National ForestsMount Ellen1244Vermont
90.El Bosque Nacional del YunqueEl Toro1077 
91.Francis Marion-Sumter National ForestFork Mountain1004South Carolina
92.Daniel Boone National ForestPine Mountain-Harlan 2 Benchmark866Kentucky
93.Ozark-St. Francis National ForestMagazine Mountain839Arkansas
94.Ouachita National ForestRich Mountain817Arkansas
95.Allegheny National ForestAllegheny National Forest High Point719Pennsylvania
96.Superior National ForestEagle Mountain701Minnesota
97.National Forests in AlabamaHernandez Peak-South Slope683Alabama
98.Ottawa National ForestMarquette County High Point589Michigan
99.Chequamegon-Nicolet National ForestVilas County High Point579Wisconsin
100.Huron-Manistee National ForestBriar Hill520Michigan
101.Mark Twain National ForestBell Mountain519Missouri
102.Chippewa National ForestCass-Chippewa High Point497Minnesota
103.Wayne National ForestWayne National Forest High Point402Ohio
104.National Forests in TexasBall Knob Hill360Texas
105.Hiawatha National ForestHiawatha National Forest High Point339Michigan
106.Shawnee National ForestWilliams Hill324Illinois
107.Hoosier National ForestHoosier National Forest High Point290Indiana
108.National Forests in MississippiHolly Springs National Forest High Point219Mississippi
109.Kisatchie National ForestWebster Parish High Point146Louisiana
110.National Forests in FloridaOsceola National Forest High Point59Florida

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List Description

National Forests and National Grasslands are publically-owned lands in the United States managed by the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The 300,000 square miles of Forest Service land is managed for logging, grazing, habitat protection, and outdoor recreation. Sometimes confused with National Parks, National Forests are quite different—Forests are bigger, generally less popular, don’t charge entry fees, and allow managed resource extraction in addition to tourist activities.

There are about 155 named National Forests and 20 National Grasslands. However, this list of National Forest high points is based on a new reorganized list of 109 USFS-managed entities. It also only considers publicly-owned USFS land and no private or public inholdings.

Forest Reorganization

Over the past couple decades the Forest Service has been streamlining and consolidating their operations, and the actual management of their lands is now done by 112 new “combined forests”. Essentially, the USFS saw no distinctions between National Forests and National Grasslands, and no reason to honor traditional National Forest boundaries, so they re-organized their holdings as they saw fit to best manage their land.

Some traditional National Forests survived the re-org intact (for example, the Gifford-Pinchot NF, the White Mountain NF), but others were combined, sometimes into entities with bureaucratic names (for example, “National Forests in Texas”, “Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit”). Most of the former National Grasslands were merged into these new combined National Forests. The old National Forest names may still appear on signs and maps, but organizationally they don’t really exist anymore.

The high point list shown here uses 110 of these new National Forest entities, including the one in Puerto Rico. The only 2 excluded are a new USFS unit entirely composed of former National Grasslands (the Dakota Prairie Grasslands) and the relatively new Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, both of which never had any traditional National Forest land in them.

One advantage of using this new, smaller list of National Forest high points is that many uninspiring peaks in lowlands areas are no longer on the list. For example, the new “National Forests in Mississippi” entity used to be six forests (Holly Springs, Bienville, DeSoto, Delta, Tombigee, Homochitto). In this case, the USFS desire for organizational efficiency aligns nicely with the interests of peakbaggers who prefer “real” mountains.

Inholdings

National Forests tend to have extremely convoluted boundaries. Many of them have a “proclaimed boundary” that may be somewhat regular, but only portions of the land within the proclaimed boundary are actually owned by the USFS. Much of this private land is on the edges of National Forests, but there are also many private inholdings surrounded by public land. There are also cases where an important mountain summit (Mount Washington, NH and Mount Mitchell, NC, for example) are within inholdings that are State Parks and not USFS land. The government is engaged in a long-term effort to purchase inholdings from willing sellers, but this is a very slow process.

This list only shows highpoints located on public Forest Service land. Higher land located on private property within the proclaimed boundary is ignored. Please e-mail the webmaster if you see any errors where a high point on private land is listed.

Acknowledgments

Thanks to Roy Schweiker and David Olson, who did much original research on a preliminary list (see link below).

Links

     Preliminary National Forest High Points

 


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