Mountains are some of the most majestic natural features around. We call a group of mountains a range, and there are several mountain ranges throughout the United States that are worth visiting. Here’s some more information about mountains and the mountain ranges in the U.S.
The Appalachian Mountains run parallel to the East Coast of the U.S. from Alabama to Maine. This range is roughly 1,500 miles and includes several subranges, such as the Great Smoky Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Berkshires. The Appalachians are teeming with wildlife like deer, wolves, beavers, black bears, squirrels, hawks, and rabbits. These mountains are known for their dense forests and beautiful vistas, and visitors from all over the country travel to them to hike and explore.
The Appalachian Mountains held an important role in the early history of the U.S. Initially, the new nation reached an agreement with the British not to explore west of the Appalachians, so they served as the first westward barrier to expansion by settlers. Once pioneers crossed this range, Americans began to explore further. Parts of the Appalachians are also known for their distinctive culture.
With a reach of 3,000 miles from New Mexico northward to Canada, the Rockies are the largest mountain range in North America. The dramatic, jagged peaks that often don’t have trees on them near the top give the Rocky Mountains its name. The Continental Divide, the point that determines where American rivers and streams flow toward the Atlantic Ocean or Pacific Ocean, rests along the peaks of the Rockies as well.
The Rockies are famous for their numerous types of wildlife ― animals like grizzly bears, black bears, coyotes, elk, sheep, and deer. Several national parks are located in and around the Rockies as well, and the scenery and natural beauty make this range a popular tourist destination.
Sierra Nevada Mountains
The Sierra Nevada Mountain range runs parallel to the West Coast for about 400 miles. It’s located mostly in California, although some of the Sierra Nevadas reach into the state of Nevada. Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the continental U.S., is part of the Sierra Nevadas, and it reached a height of 14,505 feet.
Some of the most striking scenery in the western part of the U.S. lies in the Sierra Nevadas, including the world’s tallest trees. Giant Sequoia trees can grow as tall as 270 feet and have a diameter of 25 feet. Other famous landmarks like Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park are part of the Sierra Nevadas, and this range draws tourists throughout the year.
Other American Mountain Ranges
The U.S. has several smaller mountain ranges. The Adirondacks are located in update New York, and they include the largest state park in the nation. You’ll find the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest, and this range stretches for more than 700 miles into Canada. The Cascades are volcanic mountains, and they’re part of the Ring of Fire, the Pacific Ocean’s volcanoes.
The Alaska Range is obviously in Alaska, and it’s the tallest mountain range in the U.S. Mount McKinley, or Denali, is the highest point in North America at 20,237 feet above sea level, and it’s part of the Alaska Range. The Brooks Range is also located in Alaska. The Ozarks are located in Missouri and Arkansas, and they’re the largest mountain range located between the Appalachians and the Rockies.
Types of Mountains
There are several types of mountains, and you can find examples of them in the U.S. Fold mountains are the most common types of mountains in the world, and they formed when the tectonic plates of the Earth’s crust collided. The resulting crumples of Earth became fold mountains. The Rockies are a prime example of American fold mountains, and the Appalachians are fold mountains as well, but eons of erosion have smoothed off the jagged peaks. Dome mountains occurred when volcanic magma pushed rock up above the surface of the Earth. The Adirondacks are examples of dome mountains in the U.S.
Fault-block mountains were formed by faults in the Earth’s crust, forcing rock upward above the surface of the land. The Sierra Nevadas are good examples of fault-block mountains that you can find in the U.S. Volcanic mountains are ancient or current eruptions of magma through the Earth’s crust and above the surface. The Cascades are volcanic mountains, and although many of those mountains aren’t active volcanoes, there are some active volcanoes in the U.S., including Mount Kilauea in Hawaii.