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Great Basin Ranges

Range TypeMiscellaneous physical or political Feature
Highest PointWhite Mountain Peak (14,246 ft/4342 m)
CountriesUnited States
States/ProvincesNevada (50%), California (18%), Utah (13%), Oregon (12%), Idaho (6%)
(numbers are approximate percentage of range area)
Area219,696 sq mi / 569,013 sq km
Area may include lowland areas
Extent740 mi / 1,191 km North-South
550 mi / 885 km East-West
Center Lat/Long38° 45' N; 116° 54' W
Map LinkMicrosoft Bing Map

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The Great Basin is the vast dry region in the middle of the American west that does not drain to the ocean. Hydrographically, it has a precise definition in the same way as the drainage basins of rivers. But for the purposes of classifying mountain ranges, it can be thought of as the huge expanse bounded by the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades to the west, the Snake River plains to the north, the Wasatch Range of the Rockies and the Colorado Plateau to the south, and Mojave Desert and the Colorado River to the south.

This area includes 95% of Nevada, the entire western half of Utah, large chunks of Idaho and Oregon, plus pieces of California and Arizona. Nevada remains the heart of the Great Basin, though--no other large state is so dominated by one physiographic province and landform type.

The Great Basin is basin-and-range country par excellence, with literally hundreds and hundreds of relatively small parallel mountain ranges rising out of flat, parched sagebrush plains. Most ranges run north-south, and most are short fault block ranges.

Curiously, there is one Great Basin range rising above 14,000 feet, the White Mountains of California (14,246' at White Mountain Peak); one more rising above 13,000 feet, the Snake Range of Nevada (13,063' at Wheeler Peak); and one more rising above 12,000 feet, the Deep Creek Mountains of Utah (12,101' at Ibapah Peak). After those three, there are over 12 major ranges with summits in the 11,000 to 12,000 zone, including the Toquima Range, the Toyiabe Range, the Spring Mountains, the Schell Creek Range, and the Ruby Range. This site has a peak list showing the highest major ranges of the Great Basin that shows most of the important ranges, ordered by elevation.

Map of Great Basin Ranges
Click on red triangle icons for links to other ranges.


Note: Range borders shown on map are an approximation and are not authoritative.
Click Here for a Full Screen Map

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 Great Basin Ranges.
Intermountain WestLevel 2 (Parent)
         British Columbia InteriorLevel 3 (Sibling)
         Columbia MountainsLevel 3 (Sibling)
         Columbia PlateauLevel 3 (Sibling)
         Great Basin RangesLevel 3
                 Northwest Great Basin RangesLevel 4 (Child)
                 North Great Basin RangesLevel 4 (Child)
                 West Central Nevada RangesLevel 4 (Child)
                 East Central Great Basin RangesLevel 4 (Child)
                 East Great Basin RangesLevel 4 (Child)
                 West Great Basin RangesLevel 4 (Child)
                 South Great Basin RangesLevel 4 (Child)
                 Mojave Desert RangesLevel 4 (Child)
         Colorado PlateauLevel 3 (Sibling)
         Southwest Basins and RangesLevel 3 (Sibling)



Major Peaks of the Great Basin Ranges

Ten Highest Peaks
RankPeak NameftmRange4
1.White Mountain Peak14,2464342West Great Basin Ranges
2.White Mountains Peak 1390813,9084239West Great Basin Ranges
3.White Mountains Peak 1361513,6154150West Great Basin Ranges
4.Mount Dubois13,5594133West Great Basin Ranges
5.The Jumpoff13,480+4109+West Great Basin Ranges
6.Montgomery Peak13,4414097West Great Basin Ranges
7.Boundary Peak13,1404005West Great Basin Ranges
8.Wheeler Peak13,0633982East Central Great Basin Ranges
9.Mount Barcroft13,0403975West Great Basin Ranges
10.Jeff Davis Peak12,7713893East Central Great Basin 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 NameftmRange4
1.White Mountain Peak14,2464342West Great Basin Ranges
2.Wheeler Peak13,0633982East Central Great Basin Ranges
3.Mount Jefferson11,9413640West Central Nevada Ranges
4.Charleston Peak11,9163632South Great Basin Ranges
5.Deseret Peak11,0313362East Great Basin Ranges
6.Matterhorn10,8383303North Great Basin Ranges
7.Eagle Peak98923015Northwest Great Basin Ranges
8.Clark Mountain7907+2410+Mojave Desert Ranges



Photos of Peaks in the Great Basin Ranges

White Mountain Peak
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Bicycles can be used to approach White Mountain Peak, a major California fourteener (2011-09-10).
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Montgomery Peak

From Boundary Peak in Nevada, craggy Mount Montgomery rises higher, just across the California border to the south (1989-06-10).
Boundary Peak

Boundary Peak in the White Mountains lives up to the name of its range as late as June in some years, although the snow is rarely very deep in the driest high mountains in the United States (1989-06-10).
Wheeler Peak

The dark, craggy silhouette of Wheeler Peak (1992-08).
Mount Barcroft
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Mount Barcroft as seen from the road leading to White Mountain summit. View looking south (2014-07-19). Photo by Dan Baxter.
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Jeff Davis Peak
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Jeff Davis from Wheeler Peak (2014-04-03). Photo by Josh Lingbloom.
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Charleston Peak
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Mt. Charleston from top of Lee Canyon Route (2013-04-13). Photo by Mark McCormick.
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Arc Dome
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Arc Dome ascent with MB & folks from Desert Peak Section (2013-06-01). Photo by Gretchen Nelson.
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Mount Patterson
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Mount Patterson Summit (2014-07-08). Photo by Gretchen Nelson.
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Red Mountain
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Red Mountain in the Deep Creeks (1999-05-22). Photo by James Barlow.
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