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U.S. National Forest High Points

Public Land in New Reorganized Forest Units

RankLand NamePeak Elev-Ft StateAscents
1.Inyo National ForestMount Whitney14,498California2750
2.Pike and San Isabel National ForestMount Elbert14,433Colorado1469
3.Rio Grande National ForestBlanca Peak14,345Colorado310
4.Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison National ForestUncompahgre Peak14,309Colorado338
5.Arapaho and Roosevelt National ForestGrays Peak14,270Colorado997
5.White River National ForestGrays Peak14,270Colorado997
7.San Juan National ForestMount Wilson14,246Colorado177
8.Shasta-Trinity National ForestMount Shasta14,162California1163
9.Sierra National ForestMount Humphreys13,986California158
10.Bridger-Teton National ForestGannett Peak13,804Wyoming276
10.Shoshone National ForestGannett Peak13,804Wyoming276
12.Ashley National ForestKings Peak13,528Utah620
13.Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National ForestGilbert Peak13,442Utah106
14.Chugach National ForestMount Marcus Baker13,176Alaska7
15.Bighorn National ForestCloud Peak13,167Wyoming112
16.Carson National ForestWheeler Peak13,161New Mexico808
17.Santa Fe National ForestTruchas Peak13,102New Mexico80
18.Medicine Bow-Routt National ForestMount Richthofen12,940Colorado26
19.Custer National ForestGranite Peak12,799Montana275
19.Gallatin National ForestGranite Peak12,799Montana275
21.Manti-Lasal National ForestMount Peale12,721Utah223
22.Salmon-Challis National ForestBorah Peak12,662Idaho561
23.Coconino National ForestHumphreys Peak12,633Arizona1096
24.Sequoia National ForestFlorence Peak12,432California116
25.Humboldt-Toiyabe National ForestDunderberg Peak12,374California137
26.Gifford Pinchot National ForestMount Adams12,276Washington1599
27.Caribou-Targhee National ForestDiamond Peak12,197Idaho88
28.Fishlake National ForestDelano Peak12,169Utah224
29.Sawtooth National ForestHyndman Peak12,009Idaho107
30.Lincoln National ForestLookout Mountain11,580New Mexico117
31.Stanislaus National ForestLeavitt Peak11,569California223
32.San Bernardino National ForestSan Gorgonio Mountain11,499California1408
33.Apache-Sitgreaves National ForestMount Baldy-North Peak11,400Arizona79
34.Beaverhead-Deerlodge National ForestHilgard Peak11,316Montana23
35.Dixie National ForestBrian Head11,307Utah249
36.Cibola National ForestMount Taylor11,301New Mexico182
37.Mount Hood National ForestMount Hood11,239Oregon1531
38.Gila National ForestWhitewater Baldy10,895New Mexico49
39.Lake Tahoe Basin Management UnitFreel Peak10,881California397
40.Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National ForestMount Baker10,781Washington1340
41.Coronado National ForestMount Graham10,720Arizona166
42.Willamette National ForestMount Jefferson10,497Oregon174
43.Kaibab National ForestKendrick Peak10,418Arizona145
44.Eldorado National ForestRound Top10,381California317
45.Deschutes National ForestSouth Sister10,358Oregon717
46.Bitterroot National ForestTrapper Peak10,157Montana102
47.Angeles National ForestMount San Antonio10,064California3416
48.Tongass National ForestKates Needle10,016Alaska/British Columbia1
49.Modoc National ForestEagle Peak9892California119
50.Wallowa-Whitman National ForestSacajawea Peak9838Oregon151
51.Boise National ForestSteel Mountain9730Idaho13
52.Payette National ForestMormon Mountain9545Idaho2
53.Okanogan-Wenatchee National ForestBonanza Peak9511Washington121
54.Rogue River-Siskiyou National ForestMount McLoughlin9495Oregon315
55.Helena National ForestMount Edith9480Montana62
56.Nez Perce National ForestShe Devil9400Idaho85
57.Lewis and Clark National ForestRocky Mountain9392Montana38
58.Flathead National ForestLowary Peak9369Montana11
59.Lolo National ForestScapegoat Mountain9202Montana5
60.Fremont-Winema National ForestMount Thielsen9182Oregon324
60.Umpqua National ForestMount Thielsen9182Oregon324
62.Tahoe National ForestMount Lola9148California276
63.Malheur National ForestStrawberry Mountain9040Oregon144
64.Klamath National ForestCaesar Peak8920California2
65.Los Padres National ForestMount Pinos8831California658
66.Clearwater National ForestRanger Peak8817Idaho/Montana1
67.Kootenai National ForestSnowshoe Peak8738Montana61
68.Lassen National ForestCrater Peak8683California50
69.Plumas National ForestMount Ingalls8372California140
70.Mendocino National ForestSouth Yolla Bolly Mountain8094California88
71.Prescott National ForestMount Union7979Arizona168
72.Umatilla National ForestVinegar Hill Northeast7926Oregon6
73.Tonto National ForestMyrtle Point7920Arizona113
74.Idaho Panhandle National ForestSouth Selkirk Crest7709Idaho37
75.Colville National ForestGypsy Peak7320Washington41
76.Black Hills National ForestBlack Elk Peak7231South Dakota803
77.Olympic National ForestMount Fricaba7139Washington30
78.Six Rivers National ForestSalmon Mountain6956California77
79.Ochoco National ForestLookout Mountain6926Oregon88
80.National Forests in North CarolinaBalsam Cone6600North Carolina219
81.Cleveland National ForestMount Laguna6299California48
82.Cherokee National ForestRoan High Knob6285North Carolina/Tennessee303
83.White Mountain National ForestWhite Mountain National Forest High Point6142New Hampshire184
84.George Washington-Jefferson National ForestMount Rogers5729Virginia903
85.Monongahela National ForestSpruce Knob4861West Virginia828
86.Chattahoochee-Oconee National ForestsBrasstown Bald4784Georgia963
87.Nebraska National ForestSoldier Creek Wilderness High Point4740Nebraska4
88.Siuslaw National ForestMarys Peak4097Oregon268
89.Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National ForestsMount Ellen4083Vermont587
90.El Bosque Nacional del YunqueEl Toro3524Las Piedras/Río Grande4
91.Francis Marion-Sumter National ForestFork Mountain3294South Carolina25
92.Daniel Boone National ForestPine Mountain-Harlan 2 Benchmark2840Kentucky1
93.Ozark-St. Francis National ForestMagazine Mountain2753Arkansas624
94.Ouachita National ForestRich Mountain2681Arkansas60
95.Allegheny National ForestAllegheny National Forest High Point2360Pennsylvania4
96.Superior National ForestEagle Mountain2301Minnesota445
97.National Forests in AlabamaHernandez Peak-South Slope2240Alabama25
98.Ottawa National ForestMarquette County High Point1932Michigan7
99.Chequamegon-Nicolet National ForestVilas County High Point1900Wisconsin21
100.Huron-Manistee National ForestBriar Hill1706Michigan33
101.Mark Twain National ForestBell Mountain1702Missouri18
102.Chippewa National ForestCass-Chippewa High Point1630Minnesota5
103.Wayne National ForestWayne National Forest High Point1320Ohio3
104.National Forests in TexasBall Knob Hill1180Texas2
105.Hiawatha National ForestHiawatha National Forest High Point1112Michigan3
106.Shawnee National ForestWilliams Hill1064Illinois46
107.Hoosier National ForestBald Knobs-South Slope950Indiana6
108.National Forests in MississippiHolly Springs National Forest High Point720Mississippi4
109.Kisatchie National ForestWebster Parish High Point480Louisiana31
110.National Forests in FloridaOsceola National Forest High Point195Florida13

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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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