Where to Find Some of the World’s Best Mountains

The Alps in Europe, the Himalayas in Asia and the Andes in South America all sound very exotic to us. But the US and Canada also have some of the best, grandest, most accessible mountains in the world.

If you haven’t taken the time to explore and experience them at these Crown Jewels of our National Park systems, why not this year?

Here’s a brief and bright summary of those I’ve personally experienced. We’ll start from the north and work our way down:

best mountains
(Photo courtesy of my brother David Schalla; Peyto Lake in Banff © 2017)

Banff & Jasper National Parks—Alberta, Canada

Banff is Canada’s first national park, and the world’s third. Our family vacationed in Banff when I was a teenager in the 70s. What memories! Nick and I honeymooned here almost 25 years ago, too. We’re absolutely due to go back, and our kids have never seen it.

DON’T MISS Moraine Lake and Lake Louise—two of the most photographed lakes in the world.

best mountains
(Photo courtesy of our daughter Jamie Brodin; Iceberg Lake in Glacier © 2016)

Glacier National Park—Montana

How’s this for cool: “As the Crown of the Continent, Glacier is the headwaters for streams that flow to the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and to Hudson’s Bay.” (from the National Park Service website)

DON’T MISS Going-to-the-Sun Road and Logan Pass.

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(Photo from our family trip in 2011; Yellowstone Grand Canyon © 2011)

Yellowstone National Park—Wyoming

The world’s first national park, Yellowstone contains almost half the world’s geysers. Known for its wildlife and Old Faithful. This Park sits on the caldera of an ancient supervolcano. A bit unnerving, I must say!

DON’T MISS Yellowstone Grand Canyon and 300-foot High Falls; Upper Geyser Basin

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(Photo from our family trip in 2011; A cold swim in Jackson Lake in the Tetons © 2011)

Grand Teton National Park—Wyoming

Not quite as popular as its geyser-spouting neighbor directly to the north, the Tetons are strikingly beautiful. This iconic American scene of the Snake River was made famous by photographer Ansel Adams.

DON’T MISS Jenny Lake and Inspiration Point. (NOTE: There’s major trail reconstruction in this area in 2017-18, so be sure to plan ahead for closures!)

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(Photo courtesy of our son, Jason Brodin; Near the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky © 2015)

Rocky Mountain National Park—Colorado

Great camping, hiking and backpacking—but without the grizzlies that roam the northern Parks. Makes one breathe a little easier! 20 mountain peaks over 13,000 feet in Rocky. Spectacular.

DON’T MISS Trail Ridge Road.

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(Photo courtesy of my brother Joel Schalla; My nephew & niece at the Grand Canyon © 2017)

Grand Canyon National Park—Arizona

Not mountains, exactly, but the second most-visited Park in the US and famous worldwide. Most people just visit the rim. In fact, most people just visit the South Rim. There’s also the North Rim, and…don’t miss this guest post by AOJ reader Alison Givand about her family’s camping trip on the floor of the Grand Canyon.

DON’T MISS Desert View Drive, South Rim.

So there you have it.

Some of the best mountains in the world, which happen to be in North America.

Where will your travels take you this summer? Consider these western jewels, especially if you’ve not been there yet. You definitely won’t regret it!

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