While dwarfed by the peaks in snowy Alaska, and lower as a state than nearby Colorado, California still boasts the highest peak in the contiguous United States – Mount Whitney (4,421 m/ 14,505 ft).
An American icon, Mount Whitney rises above the world’s tallest trees in its surrounding national park. To the west, the mighty Sequoia’s grow in the national park of their own name.
Mount Whitney is the high point of the Sierra Nevada, a chain of mountains that sweeps along two-thirds of California’s east. This range also includes the state’s 2nd and 4th highest mountains, although North Palisade is barely a metre off 3rd spot, (see below).
- Read our Introduction to Mount Whitney
- Browse a list of books and guidebooks on the Sierra Nevada Mountains
- Browse a list of books an guidebooks on Yosemite
As part of the Sierra Nevada batholith, Mount Whitney has a typical Sierra Nevada shape: one gentle sloping side and one sudden drop. This dramatic East Face is a favourite of adventurous climbers, while the east flank os popular with hikers.
Mount Whitney is the 11th highest peak in the whole of the United States, when Alaska is included. California as a whole has seven different entries into the top 50, again including Alaskan mountains.
The five highest peaks in California are:
• Mount Whitney – 4,421 m (14,505 ft), in the Sierra Nevada.
• Mount Williamson – 4,383 m (14,279 ft), in the Sierra Nevada.
• White Mountain Peak – 4,344 m (14,252 ft), in the White Mountains.
• North Palisade – 4343 m (14,248 ft), in the Sierra Nevada.
• Mount Shasta – 4322 m (14,179 ft), in the Cascade Range.
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