Five Highest Mountains in California

Updated February 20, 2018

The five highest mountains in California. All five of these mountains are beautiful natural wonders, and great sites to see. In a great touch of irony, the highest mountain in California lies withing 100 miles of the lowest elevation site in North America.

Five Highest Mountains in California

1. Mount Whitney- 14,505 feet

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At 14,505 feet in height, Mount Whitney is the highest mountain in California, and also the highest mountain located in the Lower 48 United States. Located in central-eastern California, Mount Whitney is only 85 miles from the lowest elevation point in North America, Badwater in Death Valley National Park (elevation of -282 feet).

Mount Whitney was named for Josiah Whitney, a Harvard professor and head of the California Geological Society from 1860-1874. I keep a framed picture of Mount Whitney hanging in my home.

2. Mount Williamson- 14,379 feet

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Mount Williamson is the second highest mountain in California, and the sixth tallest mountain in the Lower 48 United States with a height of 14,379 feet. Located just six miles north of Mount Whitney, Mount Williamson was named for West Point grad Robert S. Williamson who served as Chief Topographical Engineer of the Department of the Pacific. 

3. White Mountain Peak- 14,252 feet

Image Source by JonathanLamb

At 14,252 feet, White Mountain Peak is the third tallest mountain in California, and the 30th highest mountain in the Lower 48 United States. White Mountain Peak is located in eastern California about five miles from the Nevada border, maybe 10 miles east of Mammoth Lakes, California.

There is a dirt road that goes to the top of White Mountain Peak that is used by the University of California to reach their research station on the summit. The road has a locked gate on it at a height of 11,670 feet, so anyone wanting to hike to the summit can start from there and just hike the road to the top.

4. North Palisade- 14,248 feet

Image Source by Jonathan Fox

With a height of 14,248 feet, North Palisade is just four feet shorter than White Mountain Peak. That makes North Palisade the fourth highest mountain in California, and the 31st tallest mountain in the Lower 48 states. North Palisade is located about 20 miles north of Mount Whitney.

5. Mount Shasta- 14,179 feet

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Mount Shasta is the fifth highest mountain in California with a height of 14,179 feet. Mount Shasta is the fifth and last mountain in California that is over 14,000 feet in height. The mountain is located in north-central California, north of Redding. 

If you ever drive along Interstate 5 in Northern California, you can't miss seeing beautiful Mount Shasta. It is a natural wonder landmark located near the highway. Mount Shasta was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1976.

For more see 21 Beautiful Famous Castles in California

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