Mountains are one of the world’s most exquisite natural wonders. While some take years of experience and a big budget to conquer, others are located in national parks and are easy for the entire family to access and enjoy.
There are certain places worth visiting in your lifetime, and these mountains should be on your list. Here are some of the most majestic mountains from around the world.
The journey to Mongolia’s highest mountain requires crossing a vast, barren landscape before breaching miles of lush snow. Standing at 14,350 feet, Mount Khuiten is surrounded by wilderness, making it one of the most remote mountains in the world. Khuiten Peak is accessible and the climbing difficulty level is low, but the journey to the mountain’s peak can take up to 16 hours.
Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain. Taller than 19,300 feet — with a name that might translate to Mountain of Light, Mountain of Greatness or Mountain of Caravans — Kilimanjaro has three volcanic peaks and can be viewed from as far as Kenya. The low slopes are dominated by lush farmland and items like coffee and bananas are offered for sale. In comparison, the peak is icy and barren.
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The Andes, the largest continental mountain range in the world, spans 5,500 miles and seven countries — Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela — making it the perfect mountain range to view if you plan to visit any of these hot travel destinations. The Andes has a line of active volcanoes, including Nevado Ojos del Salado, the world’s highest active volcano. Also located in the Andes mountain range is the Inca Trail. A hike along the trail will offer views of cloud forests, rivers and the snowcapped mountain, as well as Incan icon Machu Picchu.
One of the Alps’ most recognizable mountains is the chiseled, pyramid-shaped Matterhorn, a name that in German translates to “peak in the meadows.” The nearly 15,000-foot-high mountain sits along the Swiss-Italian border. Climbing the Matterhorn is a strenuous undertaking best suited for experienced hikers with training, but the area surrounding Matterhorn has tons of activities for visitors wanting to get a glimpse of the snowy peak without the climb. The Matterhorn Museum is a quirky museum that gives a detailed recount of the first explorers who ventured to the mountain’s top.
Mount Makalu is the fifth-tallest mountain in the world, stretching over 27,000 feet high. A hike along the mountain’s jagged, snowy landscape is a difficult task meant for trained climbers with a love for adventure. Along the way, explorers will pass through sites like Makalu Barun, a beautiful national park with wildlife and exotic shrubbery.
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Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in the “lower 48” states and the most commonly climbed mountain peak in the Sierra Nevada. The jagged, snow-speckled California mountain is so popular that hikers must enter a lottery to win a permit that’ll grant them access to tour the mountain. Unlike other hikes, reaching Mount Whitney’s 14,494-foot peak doesn’t require excessive training, but the 22-mile round-trip trek takes 12 to 14 hours to complete. If just thinking about climbing Mount Whitney already has your heart rate pumping, the best place to get a glimpse of the mountain is at the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center, where national park service staff is readily available.
Mount Fuji is one of the world’s most famous mountains and Japan’s tallest, standing at over 12,000 feet. More than 200,000 people climb the summit each year, often beginning at night to experience the jaw-dropping view of the sun rising over the mountain’s summit. Climbing the sky-scraping mountain takes less than a day. If you’re touring Mount Fuji between March and May, cross another item off your bucket list and view the Cherry Blossoms in nearby Toyko.
Iztaccíhuatl is a dormant volcano in central Mexico with three summits, the highest reaching over 17,000 feet. Iztaccíhuatl translates to “white woman” and is used to describe the formation of the mountain. When viewed from Mexico’s federal capital, Iztaccíhuatl is perceived to look like the body of a sleeping woman. Along Iztaccíhuatl is a beautiful view of steep hills, flora and fauna and snowy depths.
Southwest of one of the world’s coldest city, Fairbanks, is Denali, the United States’ highest mountain peak. When the sun sets over the Alaskan mountain, the result is a purple and pink wonder straight from the pages of an art book. Reaching the mountain’s summit takes skill and a tour guide, but even from a distance, Denali stands out as one of Alaska’s most beautiful natural wonders.
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Climbing Nepal’s Annapurna is an experience recommended only for trained climbers assisted by skilled tour guides. Only 191 people have ascended Annapurna. Luckily, the mountain can still be viewed from afar by anyone who wants to glimpse the mountain but doesn’t have the experience to make the climb.
Standing 8,800 feet above sea level is Half Dome, a granite mountain in Yosemite National Park, one of the most popular national parks in the nation. Half Dome was named for its unique shape — the jutting formation resembles a smooth dome. Thousands of people take the 14-to-16-mile round-trip journey up and back down the mountain, but it requires cables and hiking experience. The view of Half Dome at sunrise and sunset is so majestic that it’s offered as a computer wallpaper for Macbook users.
Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in the Malay Archipelago. Its 13,455-foot peak is typically engulfed in clouds of fog, but on a clear day, a hike to the mountain’s top grants a breathtaking view of the open sky and the gleaming sun. Mount Kinabalu is a dream destination for botanists and rookie gardeners alike. Over 5,000 plant species — more than the United States, Canada and all of Europe combined — have been identified along the mountain’s path.
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Mount Hood is the second most climbed mountain in the world. The mountain is home to six ski resorts, the only year-round ski resorts in the nation and 11 beautiful crowning glaciers. With nearby activities ranging from touring Mount Hood’s Cultural Center and Museum to sipping wine at the vineyard, Mount Hood is a snow lover’s dream and a perfect place to pick when planning your ski trip.
With the right gear and the assistance of an experienced tour guide, reaching Breithorn’s peak is an easy task for most climbers. Located in Switzerland, the Breithorn is a glaciated mountain covered in crisp, white snow that twinkles under the sunlight in a range of the same name.
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Pico de Orizaba, known as Citlaltépetl or “Star Mountain,” is the highest mountain in Mexico and the third-largest in North America. On the path to Pico de Orizaba’s snow-capped peak, climbers will pass tropical vegetation at the base before reaching trees and barren land. Training is necessary before attempting this climb, but the journey will make the experience worth the hike.
Reaching Mount Evans’ peak is only a drive away. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in the U.S., and a drive up the 9,000-foot-high road through five climate zones will take you to Mount Evan’s summit. Access to the road is limited to May through September because of winter weather, but a drive in the summer and spring is well worth the trip. Beautiful lakes, a botanical garden and wild blooming flowers are scattered along the mountain.
Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States. It is a popular destination for tourists: more than 200,000 people visit the mountain’s summit, Mount Washington State Park. Surrounding Mount Washington is the vibrant 750,000-acre White Mountain National Forest. In the summer, the forest is bustling with colorful flowers and lively trees. In autumn, rusty red and yellow foliage provide a stunning view.
Located in northwestern Wyoming, Grand Teton is a mountain peak in Grand Teton National Park. The picturesque national park is rich with lakes, wildlife and open, green land. Climbing the Grand Teton requires a permit from state rangers and a bit of experience considering the rocky surface of the mountain doesn’t have any foothills. But Grand Teton can still be appreciated in all its glory from ground level. With a permit, visitors can backpack through the national park, and historical tours of the park are available for all ages.
The best time to visit Mount Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak, is between December and May when wildflowers are in full bloom. The colorful flowers juxtaposed with the open sky is a gorgeous scene. The mountain can be accessed by hike or by an express chairlift with panoramic views of the mountain and the surrounding Kosciuszko National Park, an ideal spot for skiers.
Ascending Mount Everest’s peak has been described as reaching the “roof of the world.” Countless movies and popular songs have been written about the extraneous work it takes to reach the top of the world’s highest mountain above sea level. If climbing the jagged, frosty mountain range is out of the picture, Mount Everest can still be viewed and enjoyed. A mountain flight from Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, provides an up-close view of the mountain in all its glory, and an overnight stay in Nagarkot, a nearby village, gives breathtaking views of the sun rising and setting over the mountain. Unsurprisingly, Mount Everest is also one of the best sunrise spots in the world.
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