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U.S. National Forest High Points

Public Land in New Reorganized Forest Units

RankLand NamePeak Elev-Ft StateAscents
1.Angeles National ForestMount San Antonio10,064California4426
2.Inyo National ForestMount Whitney14,498California3384
3.Gifford Pinchot National ForestMount Adams12,276Washington2096
4.Mount Hood National ForestMount Hood11,239Oregon1986
5.Pike and San Isabel National ForestMount Elbert14,433Colorado1869
6.San Bernardino National ForestSan Gorgonio Mountain11,499California1797
7.Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National ForestMount Baker10,781Washington1791
8.Shasta-Trinity National ForestMount Shasta14,162California1438
9.Coconino National ForestHumphreys Peak12,633Arizona1434
10.Arapaho and Roosevelt National ForestGrays Peak14,270Colorado1295
10.White River National ForestGrays Peak14,270Colorado1295
12.Chattahoochee-Oconee National ForestsBrasstown Bald4784Georgia1158
13.George Washington-Jefferson National ForestMount Rogers5729Virginia1102
14.Carson National ForestWheeler Peak13,161New Mexico1023
15.Black Hills National ForestBlack Elk Peak7231South Dakota1005
16.Monongahela National ForestSpruce Knob4861West Virginia989
17.Deschutes National ForestSouth Sister10,358Oregon928
18.Los Padres National ForestMount Pinos8831California856
19.Ashley National ForestKings Peak13,528Utah811
20.Ozark-St. Francis National ForestMagazine Mountain2753Arkansas772
21.Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National ForestsMount Ellen4083Vermont751
22.Salmon-Challis National ForestBorah Peak12,662Idaho723
23.Superior National ForestEagle Mountain2301Minnesota537
24.Lake Tahoe Basin Management UnitFreel Peak10,881California498
25.Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison National ForestUncompahgre Peak14,309Colorado435
26.Eldorado National ForestRound Top10,381California413
27.Cherokee National ForestRoan High Knob6285North Carolina/Tennessee401
28.Rio Grande National ForestBlanca Peak14,345Colorado400
29.Rogue River-Siskiyou National ForestMount McLoughlin9495Oregon397
30.Fremont-Winema National ForestMount Thielsen9182Oregon396
30.Umpqua National ForestMount Thielsen9182Oregon396
32.Tahoe National ForestMount Lola9148California355
33.Bridger-Teton National ForestGannett Peak13,804Wyoming347
33.Shoshone National ForestGannett Peak13,804Wyoming347
35.Custer National ForestGranite Peak12,799Montana337
35.Gallatin National ForestGranite Peak12,799Montana337
35.Siuslaw National ForestMarys Peak4097Oregon337
38.Dixie National ForestBrian Head11,307Utah318
39.Stanislaus National ForestLeavitt Peak11,569California296
40.Fishlake National ForestDelano Peak12,169Utah287
41.National Forests in North CarolinaBalsam Cone6600North Carolina280
42.Manti-Lasal National ForestMount Peale12,721Utah275
43.Cibola National ForestMount Taylor11,301New Mexico247
44.San Juan National ForestMount Wilson14,246Colorado246
45.White Mountain National ForestWhite Mountain National Forest High Point6142New Hampshire219
46.Coronado National ForestMount Graham10,720Arizona215
47.Wallowa-Whitman National ForestSacajawea Peak9838Oregon206
48.Prescott National ForestMount Union7979Arizona205
49.Sierra National ForestMount Humphreys13,986California200
50.Willamette National ForestMount Jefferson10,497Oregon198
51.Kaibab National ForestKendrick Peak10,418Arizona181
52.Malheur National ForestStrawberry Mountain9040Oregon179
53.Humboldt-Toiyabe National ForestDunderberg Peak12,374California177
54.Plumas National ForestMount Ingalls8372California159
55.Lincoln National ForestLookout Mountain11,580New Mexico158
56.Sawtooth National ForestHyndman Peak12,009Idaho156
56.Bitterroot National ForestTrapper Peak10,157Montana156
58.Bighorn National ForestCloud Peak13,167Wyoming154
59.Okanogan-Wenatchee National ForestBonanza Peak9511Washington152
60.Modoc National ForestEagle Peak9892California150
61.Sequoia National ForestFlorence Peak12,432California149
62.Tonto National ForestMyrtle Point7920Arizona137
63.Caribou-Targhee National ForestDiamond Peak12,197Idaho135
64.Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National ForestGilbert Peak13,442Utah126
65.Nez Perce National ForestShe Devil9400Idaho116
66.Mendocino National ForestSouth Yolla Bolly Mountain8094California107
66.Ochoco National ForestLookout Mountain6926Oregon107
68.Apache-Sitgreaves National ForestMount Baldy-North Peak11,400Arizona101
69.Santa Fe National ForestTruchas Peak13,102New Mexico98
70.Six Rivers National ForestSalmon Mountain6956California86
71.Kootenai National ForestSnowshoe Peak8738Montana84
72.Helena National ForestMount Edith9480Montana74
73.Ouachita National ForestRich Mountain2681Arkansas73
74.Gila National ForestWhitewater Baldy10,895New Mexico61
74.Cleveland National ForestMount Laguna6299California61
74.Shawnee National ForestWilliams Hill1064Illinois61
77.Lassen National ForestCrater Peak8683California55
78.Colville National ForestGypsy Peak7320Washington51
79.Idaho Panhandle National ForestSouth Selkirk Crest7709Idaho48
80.Lewis and Clark National ForestRocky Mountain9392Montana47
81.Huron-Manistee National ForestBriar Hill1704Michigan43
82.Olympic National ForestMount Fricaba7139Washington36
83.Kisatchie National ForestWebster Parish High Point480Louisiana34
84.Beaverhead-Deerlodge National ForestHilgard Peak11,316Montana32
85.Medicine Bow-Routt National ForestMount Richthofen12,940Colorado30
86.Francis Marion-Sumter National ForestFork Mountain3294South Carolina29
87.Chequamegon-Nicolet National ForestVilas County High Point1900Wisconsin25
88.Mark Twain National ForestBell Mountain1702Missouri24
89.National Forests in FloridaOsceola National Forest High Point195Florida18
90.Boise National ForestSteel Mountain9730Idaho16
91.Flathead National ForestLowary Peak9369Montana15
92.Lolo National ForestScapegoat Mountain9202Montana14
93.Chugach National ForestMount Marcus Baker13,176Alaska8
93.Allegheny National ForestAllegheny National Forest High Point2360Pennsylvania8
93.Ottawa National ForestMarquette County High Point1932Michigan8
96.Umatilla National ForestVinegar Hill Northeast7926Oregon7
96.Chippewa National ForestCass-Chippewa High Point1630Minnesota7
96.National Forests in TexasBall Knob Hill1180Texas7
96.Hoosier National ForestBald Knobs-South Slope950Indiana7
100.El Bosque Nacional del YunqueEl Toro3524Las Piedras/Río Grande6
100.National Forests in MississippiHolly Springs National Forest High Point720Mississippi6
102.Nebraska National ForestSoldier Creek Wilderness High Point4740Nebraska5
102.National Forests in AlabamaOdum Point2342Alabama5
102.Wayne National ForestWayne National Forest High Point1320Ohio5
105.Hiawatha National ForestHiawatha National Forest High Point1112Michigan4
106.Klamath National ForestCaesar Peak8920California3
106.Clearwater National ForestRanger Peak8817Idaho/Montana3
108.Payette National ForestMormon Mountain9545Idaho2
108.Daniel Boone National ForestPine Mountain-Harlan 2 Benchmark2840Kentucky2
110.Tongass National ForestKates Needle10,016Alaska/British Columbia1

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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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