|Range Type||Miscellaneous physical or political Feature|
|Highest Point||White Mountain Peak (14,246 ft/4342 m)|
|Countries||United States (144%), Canada (42%), Mexico (14%)|
(numbers are approximate percentage of range area)
|Area||797,565 sq mi / 2,065,692 sq km|
Area may include lowland areas
|Extent||2,298 mi / 3,699 km North-South|
1,555 mi / 2,503 km East-West
|Center Lat/Long||44° 10' N; 117° 2' W|
|Map Link||Microsoft Bing Map|
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The ranges of the Intermountain West are truly the forgotten mountains of North America. Even though the large, mostly dry territory between the Rockies to the east and the Pacific Ranges (Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada and Cascades) to the west covers a far larger area than any of those ranges, the general assumption is that this vast area is just boring, flat desert, with maybe a few canyons and arches down in the Southwest the only items of scenic interest.
Unknown to even many veteran outdoorsmen is that the intermountain west is studded with hundreds of mountain ranges, many of them just as high and scenic as parts of the Rockies or Sierra. For example, the Deep Creek Mountains out in the Utah desert are higher than the celebrated Wasatch Front; the White Mountains in California rise to over 14,000 feet; the Columbia Mountains of Canada were more of a challenge to the railway engineers than the Rockies; and Nevada's Ruby Range, with its lakes, meadows, forests, and tundra, is as beautiful as any range in the west.
The one thing these ranges lack is a sizeable, sustained, high mountain mass, like you find in the Sierra Nevada or central Colorado (although in Canada the mountains are much denser). Instead, virtually all the ranges of the Intermountain West are relatively small, and separated by large, flat expanses. The Rockies, too, are separate ranges separated by flatland, but in the Rockies the mountains predominate, while in the intermountain area, the opposite is generally true.
And the entire area is essentailly a desert, especially the parched valleys and basins separating the scattered mountain ranges. However, the mountains do a good job of catching the little moisture that comes by, and once you get above about 6500 feet in the Great Basin there are pleasant, dry forests in a horizonal band that extends up to about 11,000 feet.
Perhaps the main allure of outdoor recreation in the intermountain west is that it is by far less visited than the Rockies or the coastal ranges of North America. Phoenix and Salt Lake City are the only large cities in the entire area, and many of the more remote ranges in the Great Basin see maybe only a few parties a year penetrate their fastness. While the popular areas--Great Basin National Park, the Superstition Mountains near Phoenix, the Rogers Pass area in the Selkirks, or the Ruby Range--can get a fair amount of use, on the whole things are pretty quiet.
|Map of Intermountain West|
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 Intermountain West.|
Major Peaks of the Intermountain West
|Ten Highest Peaks|
|1.||White Mountain Peak||14,246||4342||Great Basin Ranges|
|2.||White Mountains Peak 13908||13,908||4239||Great Basin Ranges|
|3.||White Mountains Peak 13615||13,615||4150||Great Basin Ranges|
|4.||Mount Dubois||13,559||4133||Great Basin Ranges|
|5.||The Jumpoff||13,480+||4109+||Great Basin Ranges|
|6.||Montgomery Peak||13,441||4097||Great Basin Ranges|
|7.||Boundary Peak||13,140||4005||Great Basin Ranges|
|8.||Wheeler Peak||13,063||3982||Great Basin Ranges|
|9.||Mount Barcroft||13,040||3975||Great Basin Ranges|
|10.||Jeff Davis Peak||12,771||3893||Great Basin Ranges|
|Sub-peaks are excluded from this list. List may not be complete, since only summits in the PBC Database are included.|
Photos of Peaks in the Intermountain West
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