5 Great Mountains That Are Great For Exploring

Mountains hold a special place in everyone’s hearts – with their beautiful landscapes, mountains inspire creativity, imagination, a sense of vast spaces and times, as well as promote peace and calm. It is no wonder that mountains are some of the top places that people escape to when they are on vacation. Of course, not all mountains are created equal, and there a millions of them spread throughout the world. Here is a list of five great mountains celebrated for their ability to pull out the explorer in all of us.


Vail Mountain, Colorado


Vail Mountain
By Snow Snow under CC BY-ND 2.0


Vail Mountain rises over 8,100 feet from the Rocky Mountains, a famous mountain chain located in the Mid-West of the United States. Home to some of the greatest mountains in the USA, the Rocky Mountains are full of beauty and wilderness. Vail Mountain is especially attractive to skiers and snowboarders, as there are a multitude of ski resorts and lifts sprinkled throughout the area and on the mountain. Summer in Vail is also just as beautiful, and many people visit to enjoy wondrous wildflowers and hike beautiful mountain trails.


Mount Le Conte, Great Smokey Mountains National Park


Great Smoky Mountains
I, Brian Stansberry [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

There is a variety of sites and habitats throughout the Great Smokey Mountains – some of the more popular spots include the Chimney Tops, Clingman’s Dome, and Abram Falls (as well as countless other waterfalls). Mount LeCounte happens to be the third largest peak within the park. However, it is endless with all sorts of beautiful trails, wildlife, and falls. The hike to the summit is gorgeous, with a rewarding view from the peak of endless green valleys all around.


Mount Whitney, California


Mount Whitney
By Miguel Vieira under CC BY 2.0

The tallest mountain in the contiguous US at 14,505 feet, Mt. Whitney is a popular wilderness destination. Visitors can hike to the summit via three routes, depending on their ability and expertise. The most popular Cottonwood Route is by no means, easy. It is shorter, where much of the route is covered by car. The hardest route for true explorers would be the “mountaineering route”, which involves carrying enough water to last for a long day of hiking – plan on eight hours for the hike up, and at least five for the hike back down.


Galdhøpiggen Mountain, Norway


By Håvard Berland (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
By Håvard Berland (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Located in the mountainous Jotunheimen (which means “Land of the Giants” in Norse) region of Norway, Galdhøpiggen Mountain is Norway’s tallest alpine peak, reaching a height of 2, 469 meters above sea level. This area is prime for alpine explorers, who want to escape the crowds of the most popular mountains in the world, and get a taste of chilly wilderness and vast expanses lacking any sign of human habitation.


Mount Norquay, Banff National Park, Canada


Mount Norquay
By Andrew Bowden under CC BY-SA 2.0


Canada is home to some spectacular landscapes, and Banff National Park is the country’s oldest. There are many enigmatic animals to be seen, including moose, elk, grizzly and black bears, caribou, porcupine, beavers, wolves, and cougars. Mount Norquay is home to extensive lift access to some heady steep slopes, for the braver skiers and snowboarders.

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