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Highest and lowest elevation points in every state

  • Highest and lowest elevation points in every state

    Every state has a high point and a low point, some so subtle and hidden that many residents may not even know where they’re located.

    To find and determine the highest and lowest points in every state, Stacker consulted a dataset from a 2001 U.S. Geological Survey on elevations and distances. The elevations listed here were determined from surveys and topographic maps and are listed relative to sea level.

    Some of the high points are the most dramatic and breathtaking peaks in the world, like Mount McKinley, the highest point in North America, and Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

    Others high points are distinctive for reasons that have less to do with their actual elevations. Iowa’s nearly flat Hawkeye Point is a quirky tourist destination, and Mount Sunflower, an elevated patch of remote ranchland in Kansas, is distinguishable by a sign, a guestbook, and a standing invitation to visit its owners. Rhode Island’s highest point, Jerimoth Hill, was widely known for years for the curmudgeonly owner who threatened visitors to keep them away.

    Some of the lowest points have their claims to fame, like the Colorado River as it rushes through the Grand Canyon, and Death Valley, where temperatures are some of the highest in the world. At North Carolina’s lowest point, Kitty Hawk, Wilbur and Orville Wright took their first successful flight.

    A few peaks are the subjects of debate over whether their elevation is true or if they are imposters to the highest ranks. Some of those controversies remain unresolved. Disputes surround other peaks over whether their traditional Native American names, or those bestowed on them by white settlers and authorities, are appropriate.

    Some of the highest points are so hard to climb that they are out of reach to all but the most intrepid and skilled climbers. Some of the lowest points are so unimposing that passersby easily miss them.

    With this list, sit back and enjoy the view.

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  • Alabama

    - Highest point: Cheaha Mountain (in Cleburne County)
    --- Elevation: 2,407 feet
    - Lowest point: Gulf of Mexico
    --- Elevation: Sea level

    Alabama is mostly low-lying coastal plains—some of them swampy and some rich with soil used to grow cotton. Its Piedmont area to the east, where Cheaha Mountain is located, is a source of limestone, coal, iron ore, and marble. Cheaha Mountain means “high place” in the Creek Indian language

  • Alaska

    - Highest point: Mount McKinley
    --- Elevation: 20,320 feet
    - Lowest point: Pacific Ocean
    --- Elevation: Sea level

    The name of Mount McKinley, the highest point in North America, was changed to Denali by the National Park Service under President Barack Obama in 2015. Denali was the name of the peak in the native Athabaskan languages, and differences over the name of the mountain had raged for decades. Strong support for the McKinley name came from the president’s home state of Ohio. The U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867. William McKinley, the 25th U.S. president, never visited the area.

  • Arizona

    - Highest point: Humphreys Peak (in Coconino County)
    --- Elevation: 12,633 feet
    - Lowest point: Colorado River (in Yuma County)
    --- Elevation: 70 feet

    The Colorado River runs 277 miles through the Grand Canyon, and it is popular for whitewater rafting. The entire Colorado River stretches 1,450 miles from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California. Humphreys Peak is north of Flagstaff, in the San Francisco Peaks mountain range.

  • Arkansas

    - Highest point: Magazine Mountain (in Logan County)
    --- Elevation: 2,753 feet
    - Lowest point: Ouachita River (in Ashley County)
    --- Elevation: 55 feet

    Mount Magazine got its name from French explorers who thought the loud echo of a landslide sounded like the explosion of an ammunition magazine. The parklands around Mount Magazine are used for outdoor sports like mountain biking, all-terrain vehicle driving, technical rock climbing, and hang gliding. The Ouachita River runs some 600 miles through the Ouachita Mountains, where it is popular for fishing, before dropping into lowlands and bayous that stretch south into Louisiana.

  • California

    - Highest point: Mount Whitney (in Inyo and Tulare counties)
    --- Elevation: 14,494 feet
    - Lowest point: Death Valley (in Inyo County)
    --- Elevation: -282 feet

    Mount Whitney is the tallest peak in the contiguous 48 U.S. states, on the boundary of Sequoia National Park and Inyo National Forest. To the east is Death Valley, where the lowest point is Badwater Basin. Its landscape is covered with a thick layer of salt that collects from rainwater during heavy storms then evaporates. Summer temperatures in Death Valley often exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade, and average rainfall is less than 2 inches.

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  • Colorado

    - Highest point: Mount Elbert (in Lake County)
    --- Elevation: 14,433 feet
    - Lowest point: Arikaree River (in Yuma County)
    --- Elevation: 3,315 feet

    The lowest point in Colorado at the Arikaree River is the highest of all the low points in the country, and it is higher than the highest points in 18 states. Mount Elbert, about 20 miles east of Aspen, is the highest point in the Rocky Mountains.

  • Connecticut

    - Highest point: Mount Frissell on south slope at state line (in Litchfield County)
    --- Elevation: 2,380 feet
    - Lowest point: Long Island Sound
    --- Elevation: Sea level

    Mount Frissell is located in the Berkshire Mountains of northwestern Connecticut, and its peak is actually in neighboring Massachusetts. The Long Island Sound stretches more than 100 miles, forming the state’s southern border across from New York.

  • Delaware

    - Highest point: On Ebright Road at Delaware-Pennsylvania state line (in New Castle County)
    --- Elevation: 1,448 feet
    - Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean
    --- Elevation: Sea level

    Most of Delaware sits on the Atlantic Coastal Plain that consists of silt, gravel, and sand that eroded from highlands further inland. The state’s rolling hills to the north near Pennsylvania are part of the Appalachian Mountains’ foothills.

  • Florida

    - Highest point: Britton Hill (in Walton County)
    --- Elevation: 345 feet
    - Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean
    --- Elevation: Sea level

    The highest point in Florida, Britton Hill, is the lowest high point of the 50 states. Just south of the Alabama border, it is situated in the red clay uplands of the Florida Panhandle. Statewide, the mean elevation is just 100 feet above sea level.

  • Georgia

    - Highest point: Brasstown Bald (in Towns and Union counties)
    --- Elevation: 4,784 feet
    - Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean
    --- Elevation: Sea level

    Georgia’s highest point, Brasstown Bald in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is also called Mount Etonah. Rivers in the Blue Ridge range are the source of the state’s hydroelectric power. Georgia is the largest U.S. state east of the Mississippi River, with the mountains in the north, central hills, and coastal flatlands. The Okefenokee Swamp, a National Wildlife Refuge of almost a half million acres, sits in the state’s southern region.

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