OverviewTo date, I have reached the summit of 32 U.S. States. I have written trip reports for these and will share photos and trip details on this page. My first state highpoint was Harney Peak in South Dakota on August 12th, 2001. This hike was gorgeous and fun, and after that I was hooked.
For information on all U.S. State Highpoints, visit the main summitpost page on U.S. Highpoints.
U.S. Highpoints I have completed
create your own personalized map of the USA
or check out ourCalifornia travel guide
EastIn the East region, I have done 9 highpoints, with Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont remaining. Mount Washington in New Hampshire is certainly the highlight of the East region. It is spectacular for any region with significant alpine tundra and magnificent colors and scenery. New York's Mount Marcy is also quite a gem, and was quite enjoyable despite foggy weather. In fact Mount Marcy is probably the least developed of all the highpoints I have climbed in the East region. Most others have buildings or towers on top, and are built for tourists. Delaware and Rhode Island are basically flat, and not very scenic. Maryland's highpoint isn't very developed, in part because it barely stands out from any vantage point, even though is rises nearly 1,000 feet from the road. Still, the East region has its charm, and I still have two gorgeous mountains still to do (Maine and Vermont) and my home state (Connecticut).
Delaware Trip Report
The least celebrated highpoint of all is in Delaware. I had a chance to complete it in early February of 2002. I took my friend from college, Kim, who was heading off to Japan (while I was heading off to Colorado). She made the trip a lot less boring. From central Pennsylvania, I had to take the PA turnpike(76) down to rt. 202. The highpoint is on a street off of a major road. It is not too exciting, but I realized that you have got to do the small highpoints as well as the big ones.
Maryland Trip Report
Massachusetts Trip Report
New Hampshire Trip Report
New Jersey Trip Report
I hiked to the highest point in New Jersey on July 10th, 2004, on the way to Mount Marcy in New York. We parked near the Park headquarters and hiked 1 ½ miles to the summit. We started the hike on Appalachian Trail, which headed towards the mountain for about a mile until we reached an observation tower. A little past the observation tower was the road to the top. The views from the summit were pretty nice.
New York Trip Report
Pennsylvania Trip Report
I have actually hiked Mount Davis twice. The first time in 2001, and the 2nd in 2005. The 2nd time I was pleased to become more familiar, and even jogged a bit at the top. The mountain roads head up almost to the top of the mountain, which feels more like a park than a mountain summit.
Rhode Island Trip Report
When I hiked Jerimoth Hill on May 30th, 2004, it was still only open to the public 5 days a year. Times have changed since, but at the time we rushed down to Rhode Island from Mount Washington in order to make it before it closed. Now I realize that probably wasn’t worth leaving Mount Washington early! However, at least I knocked this highpoint off my list, and actually the scenery was quite pleasant.
West Virginia Trip Report
In September 2001, just after the 9/11 attacks, I decided to take a trip covering three highpoints in one day: West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. I took 33 West to get to the road to Spruce Knob which takes you up to the top. Driving up Spruce Knob was pretty fun, with steep roads, sharp curves, and scraggy peaks along the way. The view at the top is very nice, and shows the richness and rugged beauty of the area. However, I wish there was a bit longer hiking trail from further below, so at least a person could enjoy a couple miles of scenic hiking to the top.
SouthIn the South region, I have done all 13 highpoints. Although some of higher mountains, such as North Carolina, Georgia, and Kentucky can be driven by car to very near the summit, I hiked them via longer routes. The Appalachian Mountains make up six of these highpoints. Outside the Appalachians, Alabama's highpoint is quite nice, and surprisingly scenic. Texas has the highest of all the South region highpoints, but it is really located in the Western U.S. Overall, the South region highpoints are easy to get to, and easy to hike. The most enjoyable from my perspective were Texas, Georgia, and Virginia.
Alabama Trip Report
Arkansas Trip Report
Mount Magazine is one of the better destinations in the otherwise flatland states. Rolling hills turn into mountains in this region where Mount Magazine rises over 1500 feet from the surrounding valley. The actual summit itself is called Signal Hill, and is in the woods, and was not too exciting. I hiked it in May of 2005. I found that the general area is pretty scenic, so I took some time to explore before heading back on the road
Florida Trip Report
Georgia Trip Report
Kentucky Trip Report
Black Mountain in Kentucky, is a coal mining mountain. It is not a tourist destination, and the road up the mountain is not built for visitors to enjoy its scenery. On a warm January day in 2002, I drove my car to the head of the trail which leads to the Black Mountain summit. The trail was too icy to drive, so I hiked about 1.5 miles to the summit. The road to the summit (rt. 160) is a winding mountain road that is fun to drive. It is a far prettier drive than it is a hike. I found the road to the top was directly in between the "Welcome to Virginia" and "Welcome to Kentucky" signs. At the time, there was a look-out tower, however the lower section was missing, so I could not climb up it.
Louisiana Trip Report
I reached the Louisiana Highpoint in September of 2002. From I-20, I made my way south and drove down highway 507. A dog barking ferociously as I passed and reached the intersection with the road where the trailhead could be found. I did not know whether to take a right or left. I took a right, and I turned out to be correct. Only a couple hundred yards down the road was a small church I had heard about where the trail started. The summit didn’t have much to see, except for a small toy green alien on top of the rock pile that marked the top. However, it was still a nice walk through the woods.
Mississippi Trip Report
This was my 30th highpoint. I completed it on May 23rd, 2005, a week after I finished graduate school. I was returning from the annual wind power conference in Denver; driving back to Arlington, Virginia. I didn’t do another highpoint until July 2008 (Boundary Peak in Nevada). Woodall Mountain stands out in certain locations along the way to it, because it rises 300 feet above the mostly flat scenery of northern Mississippi. Woodall Mountain is in thick forest, but a trail is blazed to get to the highpoint. It was a nice drive from nearby Corinth (famous Civil War site) to get there. Highway 72 is a secondary, 4-lane highway that I took, and got me a little more than a mile from the trailhead. Although the trailhead is not marked, it was pretty obvious from the road. The hike was about a mile in length, and steeper than I expected.
North Carolina Trip Report
Oklahoma Trip Report
South Carolina Trip Report
Tennessee Trip Report
On my trip to Clingman's Dome, I decided to first summit Mount LeConte 6593’. I had wanted to hike the up the Alum Cave Bluff trail to Mount LeConte, which the 3rd highest mountain in Tennessee, and 6th highest in the entire Appalachians. The trail is about 11 miles round trip, and involves an elevation gain of 2700 feet. That is quite a bit more than the 330 feet in half a mile it took to get to Clingman’s Dome later the same day.
Texas Trip Report
I hiked the highpoint of Texas on Halloween morning in 2002. It was very foggy when I arrived at the trailhead at 5am. I basically hiked the mountain blind, following the trail, with limited visibility. I passed the bridge, which is only about 10 feet across and comes in a downhill section of the mountain. As I continued up the trail, I felt lost, but only because I couldn't see the mountain, so I never knew how high I was, how close to the summit, or what direction was the summit! As I made my way up, I saw a clear view of the top. I had gotten above the clouds, so it looked like I was looking out of an airplane window. I hiked the remaining 100 feet up to the top and sat at the summit for about 10 minutes. It was a bit chilly, so I quickly made my way down. It took me about 80 minutes to get to the top.
Virginia Trip Report
MidwestIn the Midwest region, I have done 7 highpoints, with Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin remaining. The Midwest is obviously not the most exciting when it comes to mountains. Several of the highpoints in this region are little more than a flat plateau. I have nabbed five of these flat highpoints. The most interesting of these highpoints is Harney Peak in South Dakota. Situated in the rocky Black Hills, it resembles the Western U.S. far more than the Great Plains. Harney Peak was my first highpoint, and I enjoyed it so much, it only increased my interest in visiting other highpoints.
Indiana Trip Report
Iowa Trip Report
Kansas Trip Report
Missouri Trip Report
After driving through the Midwest farmland, Taum Sauk, in Southeastern Missouri was my refuge from the flat landscape. Less than 2 hours from St. Louis, Taum Sauk offers some excellent hiking, with waterfalls (Mina Sauk Falls) and nice views of the Ozark mountains. On my trip, I headed down the Mina Sauk Falls Trail, a nice 3 mile loop to view some waterfalls, about 350 feet below the actual highpoint. The highpoint itself was very accessible, with signs on the main road for several miles, leading you to the park. The highpoint itself was just 1/5 mile from where I parked my car. Some of the best views, however, are from the overlook, which was on the right, as I drove to the parking area for the highpoint
Nebraska Trip Report
On March 23rd, 2002 I drove 150 miles from Denver to Panorama Point. I drove up I-25 into Wyoming and headed east on I-80 West to exit 401, in Pine Bluff, Wyoming. I went straight off the exit and took a right on Route 30. I followed this road into Nebraska and onto the start of the trail to Panorama Point. Technically I wasn’t supposed to hike 1.3 mile trail because there were supposedly bison along the way. However, I ran the 1.3 miles anyway, and saw that the bison were actually all down the hill at the time. On the way back I hiked a bit in the Pine Bluffs in Wyoming.
Ohio Trip Report
Ohio was my 27th highpoint. I traveled through Ohio on my way to Denver, Colorado for a conference, and decided to take a detour to Bellafontaine to reach the highest point in Ohio. Campbell Hill rises 300 feet from the surrounding area, but has such a large width, that the rise in elevation is not evident from any reasonable vantage point. Campbell Hill is about 40 miles Northwest of Columbus, and pretty easy to find since the highpoint is visible from the road. I found a parking spot at the Hi-Point Vocational school and walked up the hill, where right below the sign was the summit marker.
South Dakota Trip Report
WestIn the West region, I have completed three highpoints (Mount Whitney, California; Mount Elbert, Colorado; and Boundary Peak, Nevada. There are 10 highpoints which I have not completed. Certainly, the West offers the most challenging highpoints. I am planning on getting as many of them as I can. I have visited the trailhead at Humphreys Peak in Arizona and the access road to Borah Peak in Idaho, but did not get a chance to climb either peak.
CaliforniaMount Whitney is different than any other highpoint I have climbed. The sheer distance involved exceeded all my other efforts. In my short hiking career, only Longs Peak in Colorado involved as early a start, and took so long to get up and down. So, I knew Mount Whitney would be a challenge.
Some say Mount Whitney is easy because there is a class 1 hiking trail all the way to the summit. Indeed, that does make reaching the summit less difficult. However, I found Mount Whitney requires considerable endurance. The trail is rockier than I expected. The way down is long and tiring. There are warnings around the trailhead noting "Remember, the summit is only half way!"
On Labor Day 2009, myself and six others got up around 12:15 am at the Dow Villa Hotel in Lone Pine (an excellent place to stay for Whitney hikers). We congregated at the parking lot, with our permits on our packs, and left with three cars a little after 1:00am. It took us half an hour to reach the trailhead. We all got ready, and left the trailhead together a few minutes before 2:00am. We hiked up in the dark, setting a blistering pace, but staying pretty close together. Myself and one other stopped at Mirror Lake briefly, while the rest continued on. We all met again after we had hiked over six miles up to Trail Camp at over 12,000 feet. With about 3 hours of hiking in the bag, we still had another 4.7 miles and just under 2,800 feet to go.
Myself and two others continued on up the switchbacks, while the others rested. The switchbacks weren't that bad really. It was still dark, and the weather was cool. Once we got half way up the switchbacks, we saw the sun begin rise.
I was feeling good, but still needed to work on my breathing. I was heaving a little too much, so I began taking deep breaths to fill up my lungs. I hadn't been over 12,000 feet during the summer, so 13,000 feet was getting to me. As I started to move faster than my fellow hikers, I put some music on and pushed up to Trail Crest. I waited there for the two others.
Once we congregated, we stopped and had some food. Then two of us went forward, while the other stayed behind to rest. We descended down to the intersection with the John Muir Trail (JMT) and stopped briefly to talk to some hikers from Cape Cod, Massachusetts that had taken the JMT all the way from Yosemite. We would end up driving them back to Lone Pine at the end of the day. Following the brief respite, I continued up the trail. Phlegm was building in my throat and my head was starting to ache. However, as soon as I saw the summit block in the distance, I knew it was time for a final push. I passed a hiker coming back down who said it was farther than it looked. I noted his warning, and soldiered forward. I had left my cohort behind, and put some music in my ears to keep me motivated and distract from the effects of the altitude.
Finally I got up to the summit block. The trail winded up the slope, and seemed to never end. Finally, I got to a crest on the trail where I could see a little cabin and a bunch of people hanging out. I had made it! I put my arms up and picked up the pace to the true summit. I then collapsed, very tired after 6 hours 45 minutes since I started at the Whitney Portal. My cohort followed 20 minutes later. The rest of my group followed a little more than an hour later. The summit was kind of cold, with some light winds. I spent about an hour up there, eating, drinking and enjoying the view. I signed the summit register.
The way down was hard. After all my physical and emotional energy had been spent, I had little left for 6500 feet down on a sometimes rocky slope. My pack was weighing down my shoulders. I learned only back down at Trail Camp to use the strap around my stomach to ease the burden. As the shoulder pain died down, my feet started to hurt. I felt this big time, particularly in the last five miles. I rested at Mirror Lake with my hiking cohort by my side. I figured she would be ahead of me on the way down, but after a few minutes back on my feet, I decided to take off. I put some music on, and enjoyed the hike for the next 30 minutes or so. However, with about two miles to go, my headache returned, and the music was no longer tenable. The pain was now isolated to my pinky toes which ached each step I took. I gritted my teeth, as two miles that seemed to fly by on the way up, seemed to take forever on the way down. Finally, back at my car, I could barely walk. I struggled into the woods to use the bathroom. My cohort and I drove back down the mountain, picking up our friends from Cape Cod on the way. We drove back to Lone Pine where we arrived a little before 5:00pm. Our fellow hikers got back an hour later. We had dinner at a steakhouse, which I think is called the Totem Cafe. I needed a steak dinner, and the dinner was decent. The rest of the group didn't like their food, nor did they like the poor service. Still, it was what I needed to cap the day. At 9:00pm I went to sleep after being up for almost 21 hours. I woke up at 8:00am the next morning well rested and a little sore. All in all, quite a trip! I don't think I ever want to do it again.
Colorado Trip Report
Colorado has the third highest state highpoint in the U.S. Despite its lofty elevation, Mount Elbert is very accessible, and has a straight-forward, simple trail to the summit. I hiked Mount Elbert on June 6, 2002. For such a high mountain, it was surprisingly lacking in snow. It was a very dry year. My trip to the highpoint was rather uneventful. It took me just over 2 1/2 hours to reach the summit from the trailhead. It is certainly beautiful, however due to its position in the center of the Rocky Mountains, it does not have severe weather comparable to many other state highpoints in the West. The hike starts at a little over 10,000 feet, so the first hour or so is in the woods. Coming out of the woods, the world opens up, and the views are incredible. Altitude wasn't a big challenge for me on Mount Elbert since I had climbed over 13,000 feet by the time I climbed Elbert. Still, it was my first 14er.
NevadaBoundary Peak is short and steep compared with other Western Highpoints. I climbed it on July 12th, 2008. The fires in California eased overnight, but views to the Sierra Nevada range were limited due to the smoke and haze. After having dinner in Bishop, myself and two hiking partners drove back into Nevada, and took the Queen's Canyon road for about six miles where we camped out at the Queen Mine.
We drove up the next morning to a higher saddle at about 9780 feet. This is where we found the trail sign. We started up the trail, and continued up a steep slope to the first main ridge. We followed this down to the saddle which meets the Trail Canyon route. From here, this is where the really tough part begins. A long a scree slope followed. We huffed and puffed our way up.
At the top of the scree slope, we took the final trail towards the summit. At the top, somebody put a fake lizard, that we all thought was real. After closer inspection, we realized the gag. We tried to hike Montgomery Peak, but the saddle proved very difficult. We made it to the base of Montgomery, and I tried it myself to see if it was feasible. However, it proved futile. There was a difficult class 3 rock formation in the way, and I was just way too tired.