North America

Range TypeContinent
Highest PointMount McKinley (20,320 ft/6194 m)
Area8,992,817 sq mi / 23,291,395 sq km
Area may include lowland areas
Extent18,144 mi / 29,200 km North-South
16,664 mi / 26,819 km East-West
Center Lat/Long40° 42' N; 111° 52' W
Map LinkMicrosoft Bing Map

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North America has an incredibly wide variety of mountains, including ice-covered giants worthy of the Himalaya, huge ranges of craggy rock pinnacles, gentle, rolling, forest-covered hills, and exotic volcanoes on small tropical islands. Among the continents, only Asia has more mountains, mountain ranges, and variety of peaks.

The bulk of North America's mountains lie in a massive "cordilleran system" of nearly continuous ranges that run down the western edge of the continent, from Alaska to Panama. Here are the world-class mountaineering destinations of the Alaksa and Saint Elias ranges, plus many other ranges it would take more than a lifetime to thoroughly explore: the Brooks Range, The Coast Ranges, the Rockies, the Cascade Range, the Sierra Nevada, the Sierra Madre ranges of Mexico, and the long volcanic chain of Central America. In the entire world, perhaps only the Central Asia complex of the Himalaya/Karakoram/Tien Shan/Pamir/Tibet/Central China has more pure mountain volume.

Outside of the western Cordilleras, North America still boasts the icy crags of the Arctic islands, the sprawling forested ridges of the Appalachians, and the emerald ranges and volcanoes of the Caribbean.

Although there is a huge expanse of relatively flat land stretching from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico, across the Canadian Shield and Great Plains, the majority of North America remains an excellent place for lovers of mountains.

Map of North America
Click on neighboring ranges to navigate to them.

Note: Range borders shown on map are an approximation and are not authoritative.

Other Ranges: To go to pages for other ranges either click on the map above, or on range names in the hierarchy snapshot below, which show the parent, siblings, and children of the North America.
The WorldLevel 0 (Parent)
         North AmericaLevel 1
                 Alaska-Yukon RangesLevel 2 (Child)
                 North America Arctic IslandsLevel 2 (Child)
                 Pacific RangesLevel 2 (Child)
                 Intermountain WestLevel 2 (Child)
                 Rocky MountainsLevel 2 (Child)
                 North America PlainsLevel 2 (Child)
                 Appalachian MountainsLevel 2 (Child)
                 Central Mexican RangesLevel 2 (Child)
                 Central America RangesLevel 2 (Child)
                 Caribbean AreaLevel 2 (Child)
         South AmericaLevel 1 (Sibling)
         EuropeLevel 1 (Sibling)
         AsiaLevel 1 (Sibling)
         AfricaLevel 1 (Sibling)
         Australia-OceaniaLevel 1 (Sibling)
         AntarcticaLevel 1 (Sibling)

Major Peaks of the North America

Ten Highest Peaks
RankPeak NameftmRange2
1.Mount McKinley20,3206194Alaska-Yukon Ranges
2.Mount Logan19,5415956Alaska-Yukon Ranges
3.Pico de Orizaba18,4915636Central Mexican Ranges
4.Mount Saint Elias18,0085489Alaska-Yukon Ranges
5.Volcán Popocatépetl17,717+5400+Central Mexican Ranges
6.Mount Foraker17,4005304Alaska-Yukon Ranges
7.Mount Lucania17,192+5240+Alaska-Yukon Ranges
8.Volcán Iztaccíhuatl17,126+5220+Central Mexican Ranges
9.King Peak16,9725173Alaska-Yukon Ranges
10.Mount Bona16,500+5029+Alaska-Yukon Ranges
Sub-peaks are excluded from this list. List may not be complete, since only summits in the PBC Database are included.
Child Range High Points
RankPeak NameftmRange2
1.Mount McKinley20,3206194Alaska-Yukon Ranges
2.Pico de Orizaba18,4915636Central Mexican Ranges
3.Mount Whitney14,4954418Pacific Ranges
4.Mount Elbert14,4334399Rocky Mountains
5.White Mountain Peak14,2464342Intermountain West
6.Volcán Tajumulco13,8454220Central America Ranges
7.Gunnbjørn Fjeld12,1183694North America Arctic Islands
8.Pico Duarte10,1643098Caribbean Area
9.Fishers Peak96272934North America Plains
10.Mount Mitchell66842037Appalachian Mountains

Photos of Peaks in the North America

Mount McKinley

Climbers make their way along the very summit ridge of the South Peak of Mount McKinley, nearing the 20,320' top of North America (1997-05-27).
Pico de Orizaba
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Pico de Orizaba from the Piedra Grande Hut (2012-03-02). Photo by Craig Barlow.
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Volcán Popocatépetl

The white snows of Popo rise above Tlamacas Lodge, in this picture from before the recent eruptive cycle began in 1994 (1993-01).
Mount Foraker

Mount Foraker from the West Buttress of Mount McKinley (1997-05).
Volcán Iztaccíhuatl
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
The summit area of Iztaccíhuatl holds a large, flat snowfield at 5200 meters elevation (2012-01-13).
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Nevado de Toluca
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The summit ridge of Nevado de Toluca provides the most challenging scrambing on a Mexican volcano "ruta normal" (2012-01-07).
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Mount Fairweather
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Mount Fairweather and its west peak from the landing spot on the Grand Plateau Glacier (2008-06-11).
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Volcán La Malinche
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Malinche volcano in Mexico with a light cap of recent winter snow (2012-01-09).
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Mount Whitney

Mount Whitney is the flat-topped feature to the left and behind the much more spectacular-looking Keeler Needle in this picture taken from the final section of the Mount Whitney trail (1989-06-13).
Mount Elbert

Mount Elbert, covered with spring snowfields, from south summit (1989-04-25).

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