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U.S. National Forest High Points

Public Land in New Reorganized Forest Units

RankLand NamePeak Elev-M StateAscent Date
1.Inyo National ForestMount Whitney4418California 
2.Pike and San Isabel National ForestMount Elbert4399Colorado 
3.Rio Grande National ForestBlanca Peak4372Colorado 
4.Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison National ForestUncompahgre Peak4361Colorado 
5.Arapaho and Roosevelt National ForestGrays Peak4349Colorado 
5.White River National ForestGrays Peak4349Colorado 
7.San Juan National ForestMount Wilson4342Colorado 
8.Shasta-Trinity National ForestMount Shasta4317California 
9.Sierra National ForestMount Humphreys4263California 
10.Bridger-Teton National ForestGannett Peak4207Wyoming 
10.Shoshone National ForestGannett Peak4207Wyoming 
12.Ashley National ForestKings Peak4123Utah 
13.Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National ForestGilbert Peak4097Utah 
14.Chugach National ForestMount Marcus Baker4016Alaska 
15.Bighorn National ForestCloud Peak4013Wyoming 
16.Carson National ForestWheeler Peak4011New Mexico 
17.Santa Fe National ForestTruchas Peak3993New Mexico 
18.Medicine Bow-Routt National ForestMount Richthofen3944Colorado 
19.Custer National ForestGranite Peak3901Montana 
19.Gallatin National ForestGranite Peak3901Montana 
21.Manti-Lasal National ForestMount Peale3877Utah 
22.Salmon-Challis National ForestBorah Peak3859Idaho 
23.Coconino National ForestHumphreys Peak3851Arizona 
24.Sequoia National ForestFlorence Peak3789California 
25.Humboldt-Toiyabe National ForestDunderberg Peak3772California 
26.Gifford Pinchot National ForestMount Adams3742Washington 
27.Caribou-Targhee National ForestDiamond Peak3718Idaho 
28.Fishlake National ForestDelano Peak3709Utah 
29.Sawtooth National ForestHyndman Peak3660Idaho 
30.Lincoln National ForestLookout Mountain3530New Mexico 
31.Stanislaus National ForestLeavitt Peak3526California 
32.San Bernardino National ForestSan Gorgonio Mountain3505California 
33.Apache-Sitgreaves National ForestMount Baldy-North Peak3475Arizona 
34.Beaverhead-Deerlodge National ForestHilgard Peak3449Montana 
35.Dixie National ForestBrian Head3446Utah 
36.Cibola National ForestMount Taylor3445New Mexico 
37.Mount Hood National ForestMount Hood3426Oregon 
38.Gila National ForestWhitewater Baldy3321New Mexico 
39.Lake Tahoe Basin Management UnitFreel Peak3317California 
40.Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National ForestMount Baker3286Washington 
41.Coronado National ForestMount Graham3267Arizona 
42.Willamette National ForestMount Jefferson3199Oregon 
43.Kaibab National ForestKendrick Peak3175Arizona 
44.Eldorado National ForestRound Top3164California 
45.Deschutes National ForestSouth Sister3157Oregon 
46.Bitterroot National ForestTrapper Peak3096Montana 
47.Angeles National ForestMount San Antonio3068California 
48.Tongass National ForestKates Needle3053British Columbia/Alaska 
49.Modoc National ForestEagle Peak3015California 
50.Wallowa-Whitman National ForestSacajawea Peak2999Oregon 
51.Boise National ForestSteel Mountain2966Idaho 
52.Payette National ForestMormon Mountain2909Idaho 
53.Okanogan-Wenatchee National ForestBonanza Peak2899Washington 
54.Rogue River-Siskiyou National ForestMount McLoughlin2894Oregon 
55.Helena National ForestMount Edith2890Montana 
56.Nez Perce National ForestShe Devil2865Idaho 
57.Lewis and Clark National ForestRocky Mountain2863Montana 
58.Flathead National ForestLowary Peak2856Montana 
59.Lolo National ForestScapegoat Mountain2805Montana 
60.Fremont-Winema National ForestMount Thielsen2799Oregon 
60.Umpqua National ForestMount Thielsen2799Oregon 
62.Tahoe National ForestMount Lola2788California 
63.Malheur National ForestStrawberry Mountain2755Oregon 
64.Klamath National ForestCaesar Peak2719California 
65.Los Padres National ForestMount Pinos2692California 
66.Clearwater National ForestRanger Peak2687Idaho 
67.Kootenai National ForestSnowshoe Peak2663Montana 
68.Lassen National ForestCrater Peak2647California 
69.Plumas National ForestMount Ingalls2552California 
70.Mendocino National ForestSouth Yolla Bolly Mountain2467California 
71.Prescott National ForestMount Union2432Arizona 
72.Tonto National ForestMyrtle Point2426Arizona 
73.Umatilla National ForestVinegar Hill Northeast2416Oregon 
74.Idaho Panhandle National ForestSouth Selkirk Crest2350Idaho 
75.Colville National ForestGypsy Peak2231Washington 
76.Black Hills National ForestHarney Peak2207South Dakota 
77.Olympic National ForestMount Fricaba2176Washington 
78.Six Rivers National ForestSalmon Mountain2120California 
79.Ochoco National ForestLookout Mountain2111Oregon 
80.National Forests in North CarolinaBalsam Cone2012North Carolina 
81.Cleveland National ForestMount Laguna1920California 
82.Cherokee National ForestRoan High Knob1916North Carolina/Tennessee 
83.White Mountain National ForestWhite Mountain National Forest High Point1872New Hampshire 
84.George Washington-Jefferson National ForestMount Rogers1746Virginia 
85.Monongahela National ForestSpruce Knob1482West Virginia 
86.Chattahoochee-Oconee National ForestsBrasstown Bald1458Georgia 
87.Nebraska National ForestSoldier Creek Wilderness High Point1445Nebraska 
88.Siuslaw National ForestMarys Peak1249Oregon 
89.Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National ForestsMount Ellen1244Vermont 
90.El Bosque Nacional del YunqueEl Toro1077  
91.Francis Marion-Sumter National ForestFork Mountain1004South Carolina 
92.Daniel Boone National ForestPine Mountain-Harlan 2 Benchmark866Kentucky 
93.Ozark-St. Francis National ForestMagazine Mountain839Arkansas 
94.Ouachita National ForestRich Mountain817Arkansas 
95.Allegheny National ForestAllegheny National Forest High Point719Pennsylvania 
96.Superior National ForestEagle Mountain701Minnesota 
97.National Forests in AlabamaHernandez Peak-South Slope683Alabama 
98.Ottawa National ForestMarquette County High Point589Michigan 
99.Chequamegon-Nicolet National ForestVilas County High Point579Wisconsin 
100.Huron-Manistee National ForestBriar Hill520Michigan 
101.Mark Twain National ForestBell Mountain519Missouri 
102.Chippewa National ForestCass-Chippewa High Point497Minnesota 
103.Wayne National ForestWayne National Forest High Point402Ohio 
104.National Forests in TexasBall Knob Hill360Texas 
105.Hiawatha National ForestHiawatha National Forest High Point339Michigan 
106.Shawnee National ForestWilliams Hill324Illinois 
107.Hoosier National ForestHoosier National Forest High Point290Indiana 
108.National Forests in MississippiHolly Springs National Forest High Point219Mississippi 
109.Kisatchie National ForestWebster Parish High Point146Louisiana 
110.National Forests in FloridaOsceola National Forest High Point59Florida 

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List Description

National Forests and National Grasslands are publically-owned lands in the United States managed by the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The 300,000 square miles of Forest Service land is managed for logging, grazing, habitat protection, and outdoor recreation. Sometimes confused with National Parks, National Forests are quite different—Forests are bigger, generally less popular, don’t charge entry fees, and allow managed resource extraction in addition to tourist activities.

There are about 155 named National Forests and 20 National Grasslands. However, this list of National Forest high points is based on a new reorganized list of 109 USFS-managed entities. It also only considers publicly-owned USFS land and no private or public inholdings.

Forest Reorganization

Over the past couple decades the Forest Service has been streamlining and consolidating their operations, and the actual management of their lands is now done by 112 new “combined forests”. Essentially, the USFS saw no distinctions between National Forests and National Grasslands, and no reason to honor traditional National Forest boundaries, so they re-organized their holdings as they saw fit to best manage their land.

Some traditional National Forests survived the re-org intact (for example, the Gifford-Pinchot NF, the White Mountain NF), but others were combined, sometimes into entities with bureaucratic names (for example, “National Forests in Texas”, “Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit”). Most of the former National Grasslands were merged into these new combined National Forests. The old National Forest names may still appear on signs and maps, but organizationally they don’t really exist anymore.

The high point list shown here uses 110 of these new National Forest entities, including the one in Puerto Rico. The only 2 excluded are a new USFS unit entirely composed of former National Grasslands (the Dakota Prairie Grasslands) and the relatively new Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, both of which never had any traditional National Forest land in them.

One advantage of using this new, smaller list of National Forest high points is that many uninspiring peaks in lowlands areas are no longer on the list. For example, the new “National Forests in Mississippi” entity used to be six forests (Holly Springs, Bienville, DeSoto, Delta, Tombigee, Homochitto). In this case, the USFS desire for organizational efficiency aligns nicely with the interests of peakbaggers who prefer “real” mountains.

Inholdings

National Forests tend to have extremely convoluted boundaries. Many of them have a “proclaimed boundary” that may be somewhat regular, but only portions of the land within the proclaimed boundary are actually owned by the USFS. Much of this private land is on the edges of National Forests, but there are also many private inholdings surrounded by public land. There are also cases where an important mountain summit (Mount Washington, NH and Mount Mitchell, NC, for example) are within inholdings that are State Parks and not USFS land. The government is engaged in a long-term effort to purchase inholdings from willing sellers, but this is a very slow process.

This list only shows highpoints located on public Forest Service land. Higher land located on private property within the proclaimed boundary is ignored. Please e-mail the webmaster if you see any errors where a high point on private land is listed.

Acknowledgments

Thanks to Roy Schweiker and David Olson, who did much original research on a preliminary list (see link below).

Links

     Preliminary National Forest High Points

 


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