Alaska-Yukon Ranges

Range TypeBogus mountain grouping for this site
Highest PointMount McKinley (20,320 ft/6194 m)
CountriesUnited States (67%), Canada (33%)
(numbers are approximate percentage of range area)
Area828,730 sq mi / 2,146,409 sq km
Area may include lowland areas
Extent1,390 mi / 2,236 km North-South
11,911 mi / 19,168 km East-West
Center Lat/Long63° 4' N; 144° 40' W
Map LinkMicrosoft Bing Map

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The Alaska-Yukon Ranges are a bogus grab-bag of a range, created to hold together the disparate and spectacular ranges of the far northwestern reaches of North America. The individual ranges of the area--the Alaska Range, the St. Elias Mountains, the Mackenzie Mountains, the Aleutain Range, and others--all seemed too small in extent to stand alone as Range2s, so they were combined into this artifical grouping.

The Alaska-Yukon Ranges have a obvious eastern border in the great Mackenzie River, and a less distinct southeastern border that very roughly follows the Liard River and the Yukon-B.C. border to White Pass and Skagway. This vast area includes all of Alaska outside the Southeast panhandle, virtually all of the Yukon Territory, and adjacent areas of the Northwest Territories. It even extents west to the Commander Islands, outliers of the Aleutians that are politically part of Russia.

The Alaska-Yukon Ranges are right up there with the Himalaya-Central Asia mountain complex and the Andes of South America as one of the three premier mountain areas on earth. The altitude, the terrain, the glaciers, and the variety of the peaks here are simply astounding, and the nothern latitude adds a dimension of cold and winter darkness that no other high mountains on the planet can match. Reaching a significant summit anywhere here is a major mountaineering undertaking made hazardous by extreme cold, daunting glaciers, and a high degree of remoteness from civilization.

Since this area is a grab-bag, there is little more to be said about the Alaska-Yukon ranges a whole. Descriptions of individual sub-ranges provide more information about these awesome mountains.

A brief summary of some of the principal ranges:

The Alaska Range, featuring Mount McKinley (Denali) and a strong supporting cast of high, difficult, and remote peaks, arcs its way across south-central Alaska.

The Saint Elias Mountains straddle the Alaska-Yukon boundary as the highest coastal mountains in the world. Mount Logan (19,541'/5956 m) is only slightly lower than McKinley, and the other high peaks include those of the Fairweather subrange into northwest British Columbia.

The Wrangell Mountains, between the Alaska and Saint Elias ranges, rise to 16,390 feet at Mount Blackburn. By world standards they are impressive in almost any context, but, between two higher and more famouns mountain masses, they tend to be overlooked.

The Brooks Range is a low (to only 9,000') but alluringly remote range in barren northern Alaska, above the Arctic Circle.

The Chugach Mountains are a wet and snowy wilderness along the southern edge of Alaska. Mount Marcus Baker at 13,176' is the high point.

Map of Alaska-Yukon Ranges
Click on neighboring ranges to navigate to them.
North America Arctic Islands Polynesia Pacific Ranges Pacific Ranges Intermountain West Rocky Mountains North America Plains North America Plains Eastern Siberia
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 Alaska-Yukon Ranges.
North AmericaLevel 1 (Parent)
         Alaska-Yukon RangesLevel 2
                 Brooks RangeLevel 3 (Child)
                 Alaska Intermountain RangesLevel 3 (Child)
                 Alaska RangeLevel 3 (Child)
                 Aleutian RangesLevel 3 (Child)
                 South-Central AlaskaLevel 3 (Child)
                 Saint Elias MountainsLevel 3 (Child)
                 Yukon Intermountain RangesLevel 3 (Child)
                 Mackenzie MountainsLevel 3 (Child)
         North America Arctic IslandsLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Pacific RangesLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Intermountain WestLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Rocky MountainsLevel 2 (Sibling)
         North America PlainsLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Appalachian MountainsLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Central Mexican RangesLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Central America RangesLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Caribbean AreaLevel 2 (Sibling)

Major Peaks of the Alaska-Yukon Ranges

Ten Highest Peaks
RankPeak NameftmRange3
1.Mount McKinley20,3206194Alaska Range
2.Mount Logan19,5415956Saint Elias Mountains
3.Mount Saint Elias18,0085489Saint Elias Mountains
4.Mount Foraker17,4005304Alaska Range
5.Mount Lucania17,192+5240+Saint Elias Mountains
6.King Peak16,9725173Saint Elias Mountains
7.Mount Bona16,500+5029+Saint Elias Mountains
8.Mount Steele16,404+5000+Saint Elias Mountains
9.Mount Blackburn16,3904996South-Central Alaska
10.Mount Sanford16,2374949South-Central Alaska
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 NameftmRange3
1.Mount McKinley20,3206194Alaska Range
2.Mount Logan19,5415956Saint Elias Mountains
3.Mount Blackburn16,3904996South-Central Alaska
4.Redoubt Volcano10,1973108Aleutian Ranges
5.Keele Peak96852952Mackenzie Mountains
6.Mount Isto90602761Brooks Range
7.Fox Mountain78872404Yukon Intermountain Ranges
8.Mount Harper65431994Alaska Intermountain Ranges

Photos of Peaks in the Alaska-Yukon Ranges

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).
Mount Foraker

Mount Foraker from the West Buttress of Mount McKinley (1997-05).
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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Mount Torbert
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A DeHaviland Beaver plane lands below the northern sub-peak of Mount Torbert, Alaska (2013-05-26).
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Redoubt Volcano
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Mount Redoubt is a gigantic cone of cliffs, icefalls, and seracs (2013-05-25).
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Sovereign Mountain
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Sovereign Mountain from the 7750' pass to the west (2012-03-16). Photo by Ben Still.
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Awesome Peak
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North face of Awesome Peak (2014-05-17). Photo by Ben Still.
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Bashful Peak
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Mount Bashful's summit lives up to its name, hiding behind a cloud (2014-08-14).
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Mount Decoeli
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Mount Decoeli, seen from the Bear Creek approach. The scrambling route goes up slopes just hidden by the left-hand ridge and up the summit pyramid (2015-07-19). Photo by Jan Triska.
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Mount Emmerich
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Mount Emmerich rises above a low cloud layer from the summit of Peak 4800 (2010-07-18). Photo by Ben Still.
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