Geographically, Gannett Peak is the apex of the entire Central Rockies; the largely continuous group of the chain occupying the states of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. Named in 1906 for American geographer Henry Gannett, the peak is also the highpoint of the Wind River Range. The mountain slopes are located in both Bridger-Teton National Forest and Shoshone National Forest. Gannett is the highest peak within what is better known as the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The 896 acre (3.63 km²) Gannett Glacier, which is likely the largest single glacier in the Rocky Mountains of the U.S., flows down from the northern slopes of the mountain. Minor Glacier is situated in the western cirque of the peak while Dinwoody and Gooseneck Glaciers can be found on the southeast side of the mountain.
Gannett Peak is commonly climbed on a four to six day round-trip, and is considered amongst mountaineers as second only to Alaska's Denali in difficulty of state high points. However, many climbers rank Gannett Peak behind both Denali and Montana's Granite Peak, which, in 1923, was the last state high point climbed.