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Central Mexican Ranges

Range TypeBogus mountain grouping for this site
Highest PointPico de Orizaba (5636 m/18,491 ft)
CountriesMexico
Area1,420,550 sq km / 548,475 sq mi
Area may include lowland areas
Extent1,793 km / 1,114 mi North-South
1,695 km / 1,053 mi East-West
Center Lat/Long23° 43' N; 102° 31' W
Map LinkMicrosoft Bing Map

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The Central Mexican Ranges are essentially the various Sierra Madre ranges of Mexico, the high central volcanoes, and the high plateaus they surround. Most of the borders of this area are distinct and natural: The Gulf Of Mexico, the low ithmus of Tehuantepec, the Pacific Ocan and the Sea of Cortez, and the Rio Grande. The only unclear border is to the northwest, where the Basin and Range country of the U.S. Southwest meets the Sierra Madre Occidental in the state of Sonora.

The parts of Mexico excluded from this grouping are Baja California, the basin and range country of Sonora, and, in the southeast of Mexico, Chiapas (topographically part of Central America) and the Yucatan.

Within this area are the three Sierra Madres: Occidental, Oriental, and Sur. Running east-west, below the Sierra Madres Occidental and Oriental and north of the Sierra Madre del Sur, is the very loosely bounded Cordillera Neovolcanica, the row of volcanoes running from Colima to Orizaba. In the north, between the Occidental and Oriental Sirra Madres, is a large indistinct meseta or plateau.

These ranges are high, with 3000m/10,000' peaks relatively common in most areas. But due to either low latitude or low rainfall, there is little snow and no glaciation outside of the three highest volcanoes of the Neovolcanica.

Map of Central Mexican Ranges
Click on red triangle icons for links to other ranges.


Note: Range borders shown on map are an approximation and are not authoritative.
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Other Ranges: To go to pages for other ranges either click on the map above, or on range names in the hierarchy snapshot below, which show the parent, siblings, and children of the Central Mexican Ranges.
North AmericaLevel 1 (Parent)
         Alaska-Yukon RangesLevel 2 (Sibling)
         North America Arctic IslandsLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Pacific RangesLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Intermountain WestLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Rocky MountainsLevel 2 (Sibling)
         North America PlainsLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Appalachian MountainsLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Central Mexican RangesLevel 2
                 Sierra Madre OccidentalLevel 3 (Child)
                 Mexican PlateauLevel 3 (Child)
                 Sierra Madre OrientalLevel 3 (Child)
                 Mexican West Coast RangesLevel 3 (Child)
                 Cordillera NeovolcanicaLevel 3 (Child)
                 Sierra Madre del SurLevel 3 (Child)
         Central America RangesLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Caribbean AreaLevel 2 (Sibling)



Major Peaks of the Central Mexican Ranges

Ten Highest Peaks
RankPeak NamemftRange3
1.Pico de Orizaba563618,491Cordillera Neovolcanica
2.Volcán Popocatépetl5400+17,717+Cordillera Neovolcanica
3.Volcán Iztaccíhuatl5220+17,126+Cordillera Neovolcanica
4.Nevado de Toluca4680+15,354+Cordillera Neovolcanica
5.Izta Norte4660+15,289+Cordillera Neovolcanica
6.Volcán La Malinche4420+14,501+Cordillera Neovolcanica
7.Cerro del Ombugo4320+14,173+Cordillera Neovolcanica
8.Nevado de Colima4260+13,976+Cordillera Neovolcanica
9.Cofre de Perote4200+13,780+Cordillera Neovolcanica
10.Cerro Tláloc415813,642Cordillera Neovolcanica
Sub-peaks are excluded from this list. List may not be complete, since only summits in the PBC Database are included.
Child Range High Points
RankPeak NamemftRange3
1.Pico de Orizaba563618,491Cordillera Neovolcanica
2.Cerro el Potosí372012,205Sierra Madre Oriental
3.Cerro el Nacimiento3700+12,139+Sierra Madre del Sur
4.Cerro El Jabalín3440+11,286+Mexican Plateau
5.Cerro Gordo3352+10,997+Sierra Madre Occidental
6.Cerro Viejo2960+9711+Mexican West Coast Ranges



Photos of Peaks in the Central Mexican Ranges

Pico de Orizaba
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Pico de Orizaba from the Piedra Grande Hut (2012-03-02). Photo by Craig Barlow.
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Volcán Popocatépetl

The white snows of Popo rise above Tlamacas Lodge, in this picture from before the recent eruptive cycle began in 1994 (1993-01).
Volcán Iztaccíhuatl
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The summit area of Iztaccíhuatl holds a large, flat snowfield at 5200 meters elevation (2012-01-13).
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Nevado de Toluca
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Nevado de Toluca and a light mantle of snow (2012-01-07).
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Volcán La Malinche
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Malinche volcano in Mexico with a light cap of recent winter snow (2012-01-09).
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Nevado de Colima
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Nevado de Colima on the left and the active Volcan de Colima on the right. Taken from the southwest on the Sierra Manantlan Plateau (2010-01-24). Photo by Ben Lostracco.
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Volcán de Colima
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Nevado de Colima on the left and the active Volcan de Colima on the right. Taken from the southwest on the Sierra Manantlan Plateau (2010-01-24). Photo by Ben Lostracco.
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Cerro La Peña de Tepozán
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Cerro La Peñuela can be seen slightly left of center from the summit of Cerro La Peña de Tepozán. One of these two peaks is the Hidalgo State high point (2014-02-09). Photo by James Barlow.
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Cerro La Peñuela
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Cerro La Peñuela can be seen slightly left of center from the summit of Cerro La Peña de Tepozán. One of these two peaks is the Hidalgo State high point (2014-02-09). Photo by James Barlow.
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Cerro Majada de la Huerta
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An array of Guatemalan volcanoes from the summit of Tajumulco at sunrise (2011-12-29). Photo by Ken Jones.
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