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10 Beautiful Mountains in America

  • Duncan Images/Alamy

    Mount Whitney, California

    At 14,505 feet — the highest point in the Lower 48 — this granite beauty is surprisingly easy to climb. Hikers in good shape can make the 22-mile round-trip trek to the summit and back in a single (albeit long) day. The payoff is fantastic: views that include the lowest place in the United States, Death Valley.

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  • David Sucsy/Istockphoto

    Maroon Bells, Colorado

    With their almost vertical faces reflected in mirrorlike Maroon Lake, these three triangular peaks (14,163 feet at their highest point) near Aspen are probably more photographed than any other scene in Colorado. Visit the region for alpine wildflowers in summer and golden trees in fall. In winter, don snowshoes or cross-country skis to take in the quiet beauty of the landscape.

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    Mount Shasta, California

    From the flat plain of California's Upper Sacramento Valley soars this 14,179-foot behemoth, a perennially snowcapped volcano that last erupted in 1786. The mountain is a popular challenge for beginning climbers and a magnet for spiritual seekers (you can tap into the scene in the New Age-y town of Mount Shasta).

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  • Getty Images

    Mount Timpanogos, Utah

    Fondly referred to as "Timp" by locals, this 11,750-foot peak is Utah's second highest. The mountain's history is cloaked in Native American legends, including one that has the hearts of two ill-fated lovers bound into a single Great Heart — a large stalactite in one of the mountain's impressive limestone caves.

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  • Rene Frederick/Getty Images

    Mount Rainier, Washington

    East of Seattle, this enormous volcano hovers like a snowcapped totem. In summer, Mount Rainier National Park is popular for its alpine wildflowers, with aptly-named Paradise being one of the best spots for blooms. Mountaineers also take on the 14,410-foot peak, testing their ice-climbing skills on its glaciers.

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    Mount Katahdin, Maine

    This 5,269-foot mountain might not be the precise spot where the sun first hits the country in the morning, but it sure feels like it. The glaciated, granite peak — rising above a surrounding so remote it's sometimes referred to as the 51st state — is the perfect place to catch the day's first light.

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  • Ken Canning/Istockphoto

    Grand Teton, Wyoming

    Dramatic, unforgettable, wild — this snaggletoothed peak is everything a mountain should be. It's justly on the bucket list of many mountaineers, who must tackle rock, ice and snow to reach the 13,770-foot summit. Some even take on the ultimate challenge: hauling up skis so they can schuss their way back down.

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  • Bill Hatcher/National Geographic Creative/Getty Images

    Wheeler Peak, Nevada

    This wild and remote 13,065-foot jaw-dropper is the signature mountain in 125,000-acre Great Basin National Park. Wind your way into the clouds on the spectacular Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, a paved (thankfully) 12-mile route that corkscrews up to spots with unforgettable desert vistas.

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  • Ann Cecil/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

    Mauna Loa, Hawaii

    This Big Island beast of a mountain, the world's largest volcano, tops out at 13,677 feet. That's impressive enough, yet geologists estimate Mauna Loa's true height, measured from the depression its mass forms in the Earth's crust, is a staggering 56,000 feet total, or 5 miles taller than Mount Everest. And it's still growing, its crimson lava visible today within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

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  • Kerrick James/Corbis

    Mount McKinley, Alaska

    Whether you call it by its modern moniker or by its native Athabascan Indian name, Denali, meaning "Great One," this 20,320-foot geologic masterpiece, North America's tallest mountain, creates an unforgettable silhouette in the Alaskan sky. Protected as part of 6 million acres of national park, it's a land of snow and ice, braided glacial rivers and incredible wildlife.

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    Also of Interest

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