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Most beautiful mountain?

I need a lift today, and thought I would start a conversation about beautiful mountains. The thought was triggered by a photo of the Matterhorn that came in an email from a travel company. I have heard the Matterhorn described as “the most beautiful mountain in the world” and having been privileged to see her up close for several consecutive days while hiking around Zermatt, I might agree. The shape is graceful and unforgettable.

But in my mind the Matterhorn has strong competition from our local volcano Mt. Rainier, especially in summer, with her green and flowery Paradise meadows capped by a mostly-snow covered summit. Also from The Great One, Denali, which is huge and impressive when seen from the Stony Overlook or from the Kantishna area. When we are in Denali National Park at our favorite wilderness lodge, and this mountain comes out from behind the clouds, all I want to do is sit and gaze at him. In June this can occur around midnight, when the mountain is tinged with pink from the setting sun. But I find him most beautiful at midday, all snowy white against a deep blue Alaska sky.

(Yes, mountains do have gender in my mind).

Do you have a favorite?

Posted by
3335 posts

I haven't had the opportunity to see the Matterhorn, but would agree when Mt. Rainier is in it's glory their is nothing like it. Just two weeks ago on a clear day at sunrise I caught several photos from Seattle. The colors were magnificient! I too, needed a lift today. Thank you Lola.

Posted by
3789 posts

When I read the title, Denali instantly came to mind. But having driven through the Canadian Rockies many times, and where mountains flow from one to the other, it's pretty hard to be.
I am hoping for Himalayan foothills in 2023, so O might need to revisit this post and revise then.

Posted by
1245 posts

Sister Mountain in Washington State, Mount Baker, is a beauty, too. We can see Rainier and Baker from Camano Island. The road to Artist Point in Mount Baker National has some of the most photographed views, ever, of Mt Shuksan perfectly reflected in a lake. But as a Native Born Seattleite I grew up with Rainier "The Mountain" as my favorite; especially when it looks like Strawberry Ice Cream, or has that Flying Saucer Cloud just on top. Don't come to the Puget Sound, or Salish Sea area, as it Rains all the time!

Posted by
610 posts

I would love to explore the mountains in the Alps.

As for here at home, yes Mt Rainier is amazing. I love Mt Baker too, but my favorite view was snow camping at Huntoon Point there and waking up to the views of Mt Shuksan from one side of the tent, and Mt Baker on the other side of the tent.

I don't think there is a mountain that I haven't fallen in love with:)

Posted by
9674 posts

I've not been to Denali but I'll agree Mt Rainier is spectacular - even from the rest stop just west of Vantage which is the first glimpse you get on I90.

I'll also add the Grand Tetons, although that is more of a "range" and not just one peak.

While the "Bear's Tooth" in the Absaroka's of Montana doesn't stand out a huge amount it's very cool and somehow always makes me smile. The view from the alpine meadow-y area along Beartooth Highway is one of my favorite drives. (The tinyurl goes to my FB page - an album of photos from this past Sept in Yellowstone in case anyone is worried about a blind link.)

I also like the view of the Monck, Eiger and Jungfrau from the top of the Schilthorn. That whole area is beautiful.

Posted by
5242 posts

I don't think I could choose just one favorite. I was blown away by the Cordillera Darwin seen from the Beagle Channel on a Cape Horn cruise a few years ago. I haven't seen the Alps, I expect part of what impresses people is the ability to get so close at such high altitudes in relative comfort thanks to trains and cable cars.

I think my view of Mt. Rainier from down here is better than the view from Seattle, which looks like a big vanilla ice cream cone. Here we see a more interesting view, I think, from a little closer up. But for some reason I don't get as excited by a big lone volcano as I do by a range of peaks, like the Olympics from Seattle.

Posted by
6334 posts

I like seeing Mt Shasta when I’m driving North on I-5. Tells me I’m getting close to the Oregon border.

Liked seeing Rainer when I lived in the Pacific Northwest.

As far as International travel the Matterhorn.

Posted by
1777 posts

hey hey
my favorite is mauna kea, meaning "white mountain" on the big island of hawaii. it's also considered a volcano that is dormant and rises about 14,000 feet above sea level.
the summit is considered sacred "regions of the gods" in hawaiian legends and myths as to where the gods lived and higher ranking members were allowed to travel up the mountain. lots of interesting facts and legends about the monarchy, kings and queens, living around this area.
one of the best places for astronomers with great condtions for viewing, has 13 or so telescope observatories atop, different countries throughout the world have built. been to the top with family in a four wheel drive, drive slow, steep hills and dress warm. at visitor center they do have tours to top, people come to star gaze, hike or bike. read up about conditions and your own health issues, breathing with the high altitudes.
lots of visitors come for an adventure, some people are lucky to be there when it is packed with so much snow, drive to top to have a snowball fight then back down to surf and swim at the beach.

Posted by
6478 posts

Living in Oregon I'm partial to 'my' mountain, Mt Hood. But it's hard to compete with the Matterhorn. I do also share everyone's love of Mt Rainier in WA and Mt Shasta in CA. Not a single mountain but a group that I think is certainly one of the most beautiful are the Maroon Bells near Aspen in CO. Of course Mt Fuji in Japan is also beautiful and one of the most majestic of mountains. It's very hard to pick the most beautiful.

Posted by
5617 posts

I’ve not seen it in person, but I’ve heard and read often that many consider Mt. Fuji in Japan to be the most beautiful in the world, partly for its symmetry, and its pristine white top, when viewed from a distance.

The Maroon Bells, featured on countless calendars and tourism brochures, are fantastically picturesque, especially when reflected in Maroon Lake.

They’re just southwest of Aspen, Colorado. They’re actually connected by a long, narrow ridge, so some might consider them to be a single peak. But the summits of Maroon Peak and North Maroon are sufficiently far apart, and have sufficient vertical drop from the summit of one to the low point in-between, that they’re considered separate mountains.

From the Maroon Lake vantage, they appear to be bell-shaped, with pointed summits and graceful, wide bases, and horizontal striations that collect snow, formed in their fragile sedimentary rock. Sadly, their nickname is The Deadly Bells, as that fragile, crumbling rock, and tricky navigation needed to climb them, has resulted in many catastrophic deaths. Avalanches, too, which are among the most potentially destructive and deadly forces of nature. All mountains must be respected.

Both are Fourteeners, summits above 14,000 feet, of which Colorado has 54. If you ironed out the state of Colorado, it’d be bigger than Texas. Then again, Montana is a bigger state, and has quite a few mountains of its own, and it’s very name comes from “mountain!” Then there’s West Virginia, “The Mountain State!”

As I said, all mountains must be respected, and all are beautiful in their own way. The Matterhorn, which is foreboding and fascinating, and I was continually glancing at it on my one trip to Zermatt years ago, and while skiing beneath it, isn’t exactly “beautiful” to me, in the classical sense. Awesome, distinctive, but not quite pretty. Mt. Sneffels, in southwestern Colorado (whose name was inspired by Snaefel in Iceland), is spectacularly pretty. So is Sniktau, viewable from I-70, although neither has a very beautiful name!

I feel safe to say that whatever mountain you’re gazing at, or climbing, or skiing down at the moment, is THE most beautiful mountain, right then and there. How can one have a favorite child, or pet, or . . . mountain? This was a great posting, Lola, and thanks for the chance to consider mountains, far and wide. I hope we all have a Peak year in 2021.

Posted by
1814 posts

Living in Canada, we can see Mt. Baker from the bottom of our street, and from the highway as we drive into Vancouver.
I always look for it, as the story goes that if it appears very closeup and clear, that the weather is about to change for the worse.
Good skiing there too, back in the day.
It's very lowkey with no frills .

Posted by
1760 posts

Mt. Sneffels (Colorado) was "our" mountain when we lived in that area of the state. A professor friend of mine who lived on the east slope of Colorado always referred to the western slope's San Juans as the "class mountains" of Colorado.

Posted by
923 posts

Ooh, this is interesting. I’ve skied beneath the Matterhorn which is impressive close up and climbed Mount Fuji which is more impressive from further away than when actually on it - I may be a bit biased on this because the weather we had on the climb/descent was pretty grim.

But if you backed me into corner, I’d say Ama Dablam in the Himalaya - a great snowy tower amongst giants and, at home it would be Buchaille Etive Mhor at the head of Glencoe, always thrilling. The former was only a fly past, the latter was an exciting, rope protected ascent by Curved Ridge with a long, slow, cautious, icy descent back to the road at Altnafeadh.

Honourable mentions for Sgurr Alasdair and Sgurr Nan Gillean on Skye, Tryfan in Wales and Great Gable and Blencathra in the English Lake District.

Posted by
724 posts

I thought of Ama Dablam as well. It’s on the main route to Everest. It’s a spectacular peak.

Posted by
13044 posts

This is great, even better than I hoped!

Nancy, Hood is indeed a beautifully-shaped mountain, more “conical” than Rainier. My son has a lot of history with that mountain—-he was on SARS for Mt. Hood when he lived in Portland.

When I fly from Seattle to Boise to see that son, my favorite is what I call a “5 volcano day”—-when one can see at least 5 volcanos——Hood, Adams, Mt. St. Helens (poor damaged soul), Rainier, and Baker—-from the plane window. Glacier Peak should be there too but is lower and not as recognizable as the others.

Claudia, I have a close friend from high school who has a ranch in Weed with a picture window in his living room fully filled with Mt. Shasta. It is a lovely mountain, but these days it makes me sad to see her so bereft of snow by July.

Dick—-your post about South America reminded me that I neglected to mention another favorite, Los Cuernos in Patagonia. Many people talk about the Torres del Paine, but when we hiked there I found Los Cuernos most beautiful. I could not take my eyes off them the whole day.

Cyn, I know Mt. Fuji is much-loved in Japan, and considered beautiful for its symmetry. But we saw this mountain when we were in Japan in November, 2019, and I was underwhelmed. I think it does not match the beauty of our iconic Northwest volcanoes like Rainier, Hood, etc. (Notice that I cannot assign a gender to this mountain, not sure why). But I do realize the importance of Mt. Fuji to the Japanese. When I was there with my son 25 years ago, over New Years, we joined a traditional January 1 pre-dawn trek up Asama-Yama (not far from Ise) to greet the first sunrise of the New Year.. It was soul-stirring to be walking up the trail at 3 am, small lantern in hand, in a long line of maybe a hundred others engaging in this tradition. Once at the top, we all hunkered down among the rocks to avoid the fierce wind and await the sunrise. Fortunately it was clear that day, and the first light revealed a view of Fuji-san in the distance. There was an audible gasp of appreciation from the Japanese, and one man came to us (the only Westerners there) very excited to point out the mountain. One of many examples of the kindness of the Japanese I have experienced.

Unfortunately I have not been to Colorado, and my one visit to the Tetons was very short, so I am sure I have not given these mountains their due. And only one trip to the Canadian Rockies, which was more memorable for the beautiful lakes (especially Lake O’Hare in Yoho NP) than for any particular peak.

Posted by
27709 posts

what a great topic!! I hope you got the lift you needed, Lola

Posted by
923 posts

Lola -

I’d forgotten the Cuernos Del Paine - our Chilean guide had climbed them. We also hiked to the base of the Torres Del Paine and one of the other guides regaled us with terrifying tales of sleeping in a bivouac attached halfway up the vertical face of the central torre and being blown vertically upwards (with the attendant drop back) by high winds in the night. When we asked what he thought while that was happening, he grinned and said “I thought I was going to die”. Ruled out any thoughts I might have entertained about tackling them, not that I ever had many!

I have climbed Wayna Picchu, the impressive fang of rock behind Machu Picchu - while there are chains to help up the steeper parts of the way it felt curiously unexposed because of the vegetation covering the mountain - only in the final cleared, terraced section near the very top did it occur to me that now would not be a good time to fall off!

Posted by
2288 posts

I never get tired of looking at Cascade Mountain whenever I'm in Banff. It's the mountain directly north of the town. Driving to Banff from Calgary I always love seeing the waterfalls cascading down the mountain from spring runoff.

Posted by
5448 posts

Some memorable mountains
Jungfrau in Switzerland
Zugspitze in Germany
Denali is great, but the mountains you see are not the famous ones.
Going around the Horn of South America, you see several along the southern Chilean coast.
Banff and Jasper in the Canadian Rockies has great ones.
Mt. Fugi south of Tokyo
Colorado is loaded with them.

Posted by
1656 posts

I have to agree with Nancy that Mt. Hood is pretty fantastic, as are the Three Sisters in central Oregon. But really the most beautiful mountain is the one I am standing on, looking out on whatever there is to see. Some of my local favorites are the views from Maiden Peak, Gold Butte Lookout (now closed due to wildfire damage), and Cascade Head.

Posted by
10052 posts

So much great inspiration here! As I am in planning stages for an autumn hiking trip in Europe I am given pause to think of my favorites, too. I find it is not so much one mountain, but a mountainous area that calls to me. If I were, however, to simply sit and look at one for hours, it would be the Matterhorn, preferably from the terrace of Chez Vrony with a gourmet meal in front of me.

Posted by
794 posts

Lola, you lifted my spirits yesterday after reading all the comments for mountains around the world and I thank you for the post. For sure, our volcanic mountains here in Washington and Oregon are gorgeous and I enjoy them up close and personal and also from afar. Someone upthread commented about the pink/peach glow that spreads across the face of Mt. Rainier and I agree that it is a gorgeous site to behold. Many times, peering at the mountain from the office window brought an escape from the hours of screen time and tension of the day. I miss those views now since retirement.

The Grand Teton range is also a site to behold and I plan to go back sometime very soon. I am not as well traveled as some posters here and have not seen the Austrian alps since childhood. For my next trip to Europe, I will be hard pressed to decide whether to visit Germany and Austria again (not since childhood) or Scotland with the lovely looking moors and lochs. Maybe I will toss a coin!

Thank you for this great post.

Posted by
794 posts

Princess Pupule

You transported me back to the time my kids and I drove up Mauna Kea and brought some snow down the mountain. It melted really fast though and I don’t think we even got to the Saddle Road before it disappeared. Another time, I took my Girl Scout troop to the observatory for a look see. It was a fun and educational experience for the girls. What is beautiful about visiting the volcano areas of the Big Island for me is the flora and birds. My daughter studied the honeycreeper birds (Apapane, Akepa, Iiwi) with a UWHilo professor during her time at the university. For me, I love the Ohia Lehua that grows near volcanoes. They make such a lovely haku lei.

Thank you for bringing me back to my favorite island.


Posted by
268 posts

My picks would be:

(1) Fuji
(2) Matterhorn
(3) Everest
(3) Grand Teton
(4) Hood

Rainier is nice, but it's mostly a giant, rounded lump with beautiful flanks. Its peak doesn't inspire; at least it doesn't inspire me.

Posted by
369 posts

Of the many mountains I've seen in the Western U.S. and Canada (but not Alaska), the one I'd most like to see again is Mount Rainier.

Posted by
923 posts

Emma -

Did you notice Moel Famau is in the news today as police turn away over 100 cars and their Covid regulation breaking occupants, some who had driven past the ‘road closed’ signs? Not the sort of ‘fame’ I think you wanted for the peak.

I was scratching my head where I’d seen it before but then swiftly realised I’d climbed over it while on the Offa’s Dyke National Trail!

Posted by
48 posts

You can't go wrong with any of the excellent nominations to date, of which I've also admired some in person (Mt. Rainier on a daily basis -- well, as long as it wasn't raining which it often was -- while living in Seattle for a year), but this is my choice: Sunrise view of Machapuchare in the Himalayas with the Annapurna range behind it, while breakfasting on the roof of a guest house in Pokhara, Nepal. Machapuchare is similar in shape to the Matterhorn but nearly twice as high (about 23,000 feet), and some of the Annapurnas even higher, while Pokhara is at relatively low altitude, so the contrast is stunning.

Posted by
3335 posts

Having lived in WA State my whole life, I can can say that many people who visit our State have never seen Mt. Rainier. I am fortunate that living at an elevation >500 ft. we have views of both the Cascades & Olympics on a clear day. In addition, when we take our daily walks there is another spot to view Mt. Rainier. Like others mentioned the views of Mt Baker are spectacular from various locations.

Posted by
13044 posts

Slate's mention of a Sunrise view of a Himalayan peak reminds me of my best Sunrise experience--- a golden glowing Grinnell Point seen across Swiftcurrent Lake from the Manyglacier Hotel in Glacier National Park. I cannot post my own photo but this one is close:

Is Moel Famau on the Offa's Dyke path? We have enjoyed a bit of hiking in Wales, and might consider that path for a future trip.

Posted by
1462 posts

As a former Seattleite, I have to agree that Mt. Rainier is stunning, and in the northwest, Mt. Hood is right up there.

In my travels, two that stand out that haven't been mentioned yet are Mt. Triglav in Slovenia and the Torres del Paine in Chile's national park of the same name. Two of the most breathtaking views I've ever experienced.

Posted by
923 posts

Lola - yes, Moel Famau is on Offa’s Dyke National Trail (which as you probably know roughly follows the England/Wales border). Enjoyable, erm, ‘undulating’ two week walk. Did it some years back and ‘in reverse’ - we went north to south, most do it the other way but Julie said north to south felt ‘downhill’ (she was very, very wrong about that) - plenty of others going same way as us. Actually there was method in the madness as we had friends to impose on at the far end! If heading north-south Moel Famau comes fairly early in the piece! We had all sorts of weather including a snowy half day in the Black Mountains in June! Other times it was shorts and t-shirts weather but overall, a mixed bag. As you’d probably expect!

Slate - you are right about Machapuchare as viewed from Pokhara.

Lane- I mentioned the Torres, but although hugely scenic, awesome and downright implausible, they didn’t quite make the very top of my lists. They might by tomorrow though....

Posted by
3335 posts

Coincidentally, on the subject of Mt. Rainier, it was featured in today’s Seattle Times. The Pacific NW section “Reader’s Lens” highlights a photo taken at sunrise, Nov. 9, 2020, in Longbranch. The photographer’s description said “The sun was rising behind Mt. Rainier, casting its shadow on the underside of the cloud cover.” The writer of the article said, “Just a spectacular moment in nature, captured gorgeously.” I agree!

Posted by
5242 posts

That Rainier picture is a great one. I know that view from Longbranch but never saw it like that. I think Mt. Adams is visible on the far right (south) end of the photo, about 90 miles away.

Posted by
172 posts

I'm from Virginia, USA, and I'm partial to the Blue Ridge Mountains. They are not as tall as some of the previously mentioned mountains, but their beauty is undeniable.

I am from New Delhi, India and so far I have visited many mountains of lower Himalayas in Himachal, Uttarakhand but the ones which attracts me are Mount Fuji in Japan, like 100 km drive from capital Tokyo, and second one is Mount Kailash in Tibet.

Both these mountains can also be described at Holy Mountains, especially Mount Kailash where thousands of travellers from India, Nepal & even local Tibetans visit.

And would also like to add my trip to Hong Kong "Tian Tan Buddha" which is in an island and a small tourist city is established on a small mountain, for which we can either take a bus, plan a 5 hour hiking or the amazing Crystal lift. Do check this out too.

Posted by
13044 posts

I always enjoy seeing these additions to this thread? Thank you!

I don’t know if we will ever make it to Hong Kong or to India to see the mountains mentioned there, but our plans for 2022 definitely include Italy and the Dolomites.