top of page

11 Famous Mountain Ranges in the World (And Why They're So Great)

From the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, to the famously breathtaking Rocky Mountains, there are many famous mountain ranges in the world that attract millions of tourists every year. These mountain ranges are renowned for their awe-inspiring beauty, a wide range of wildlife, and diverse landscapes.

In this blog post, we will take a look at 10 of the most famous mountain ranges in the world and why they are so great.

The World's Famous Mountain Ranges

The Rocky Mountains

Location: United States and Canada

Tallest Mountain: Mount Elbert (14,440')

One of the most famous mountain ranges in the world, the Rocky Mountains, or the Rockies, in North America spans 3,000 miles (or 4,800 kilometers) and reaches elevations up to 14,000 feet.

The Rockies are a beautiful landscape of jagged peaks and lush valleys. They reach from the western part of Canada south into New Mexico in the United States. There are different definitions for where these mountains being and end.

The Canadian Rockies
The incredible Canadian Rockies

The mountain range formed over 80 million years ago and was first seen by Europeans with famous expeditions by Lewis and Clark and Sir Alexander Mackenzie.

The tallest mountains are spread out between British Columbia and Alberta in Canada and the following US states:

  • Colorado

  • Wyoming

  • Utah

  • Idaho

  • New Mexico

  • Montana

The Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are one of the largest mountain ranges in the world

The mountain ranges contain the tallest mountains in central North America. The tallest mountain in the range is Mount Elbert (part of Colorado's Sawatch Range) which reaches 14,440' or 4,401 meters in height.

In Canada, the tallest mountain is Robson, which is a couple of thousand feet shorter than Elbert. Other noteworthy mountains include:

  • Longs Peak (14,259')

  • Pikes Peak (14,114')

  • Mount Evans (14,265')

  • Mount Massive (14,429')

  • Blanca Peak (14,344')

The Andes

Location: South America

Tallest Mountain: Mount Aconcagua (22,831' or 6,959 meters)

The Andes are one of the most famous mountain ranges in the world. They are also known as the Andean Mountains and are located along the western edge of South America.

The range is over 5,500 miles long and has an incredible average height of 13,123' (making the range the highest outside of Asia). The range is also home to the world's tallest volcanoes.

The Andes
The Andes is one of the most impressive mountain ranges in the world.

The mountains extend through seven different countries:

A View of the Andes
A view of the Andes Mountains

The range is divided into different sections, including the Southern Andes (Argentina and Chile), Central Andes (Peru and Bolivia), and Northern Andes (Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador). Some of the most important mountains in the range are:

  • Cotopaxi (19,347')

  • Cayambe (18,996')

  • Pico Bolívar (16,332')

  • Volcano Antisana (18,714')

  • Pico Humboldt (16,207')

  • Aconcagua (22,831')

  • Ojos del Salado (22,615′)

The Himalayas

Location: Asia

Tallest Mountain: Mount Everest (29,029')

The enormous Himalayas are home to the tallest mountains in the world. The range includes 100 mountains over 7,200 meters or 23,600 feet. This is a striking fact knowing that outside Asia, the tallest mountain in Aconcagua reaches a, in comparison, meager 22,838'.

The Himalayan Mountains
The world famous Himalayan Mountains

The range crosses five countries:

To the north are the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush, and some of the world's most important rivers are in regions around the range.

The name "Himalaya" comes from Sanskrit, meaning "abode of snow." It is also one of the youngest mountain ranges on the planet and contains the third-largest deposit of snow in the world (following Antarctica and the Arctic). It's home to over 15,000 glaciers.

Himalayan Peak Ama Dablam
The breaktaking Himalayan Peak Ama Dablam

The mountain range includes the many famous mountains in Nepal, like Kangchenjunga and Ama Dablam. It's also home to the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest. Here are a few other incredibly important mountains in the range:

  • K2 (28,251')

  • Lhotse (27,940')

  • Nanga Parbat (25,643')

  • Cho Oyu (26,864')

  • Makalu (27,825')

  • Nanda Devi (25,643')

The Alps

Location: Europe

Tallest Mountain: Mont Blanc (15,776')

The Alps are an incredibly expansive mountain range that is entirely confined to Europe. The range includes the tallest peak in Europe, Mont Blanc, which reaches 15,776' (or 4,808 meters) and is situated on the France/Italian border. The range passes through the following countries:

The Alps
The Alps are famous around the world as a testing ground for the world's greatest mountaineers.

The range highly influences life in Europe and includes numerous subranges, like the Dolomites in Italy. The lowlands feature numerous incredibly scenic lakes that are often tourist attractions for travelers, over thirteen thousand species of plants, and 30,000 species of wildlife.

The Matterhorn
The Matterhorn is one of the most recognizable mountains in the world

Some notable peaks include:

  • Monte Rosa (15,203')

  • Dom (14,911')

  • Liskamm (14,852')

  • Weisshorn (14,783')

  • The Matterhorn (14,692')

  • Dent Blanche (14,295')

  • Grand Combin (14,154')

The Drakensberg

Location: South Africa

Tallest Mountain: Thabana Ntlenyana (11,424')

The Drakensberg is a mountain range that runs along the eastern side of South Africa and Lesotho. It is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa, stretching over 1,000 kilometers with peaks reaching heights of up to 3,482 meters. It is a popular tourist destination due to its breathtaking scenery, unique biodiversity, and cultural heritage.

The Drakensburg Mountains
The impressive Drakensberg Mountains

The Drakensberg is home to an incredible variety of wildlife, including rare species of birds and antelope, as well as many endemic plants and invertebrates. There are also many caves and rock paintings in the area, which are estimated to be between 200 and 500 years old.

These rock paintings are believed to have been created by the San people and depict aspects of their lives, such as hunting, spiritual rituals, and everyday activities. Notable peaks include:

  • Cathkin Peak (9,856')

  • Champagne Peak (11,079')

  • Cathedral Peak (9,856')

  • Mafadi (11,306')

  • Spion Kop (4,790')

Drakensburg Mountains
Some of the stunning rock walls of the Drakensberg Mountains

One of the most popular tourist attractions in the Drakensberg is the Drakensberg Amphitheatre, which is a huge cliff face with a magnificent waterfall. This area is often called "God's Window" due to its incredible views. Other popular activities in the area include hiking, rock climbing, and fishing. The Drakensberg is also home to some of South Africa's most spectacular ski resorts.

The Caucasus Mountains

Location: Asia and Europe

Tallest Mountain: Mt. Elbrus (18,510')

The Caucasus Mountains are an incredibly diverse mountain range located between Europe and Asia, spanning three countries – Russia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. The mountain range is split into two sections, the Greater and Lesser Caucasus.

The "Greater" portion spans the space between the Caucasian Natural Reserve ti Azerbijan and the Lesser Caucasus, located parallel to these and just to the south.

The Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains are some of the oldest in the world.

This major mountain range is known for its ancient forests and snow-capped peaks and is home to some of the world’s most iconic summits, such as Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe, standing at 5,642 meters.

The Caucasus Mountains are home to a variety of plant and animal life, with over 3,500 species of plants, 200 species of birds, and 60 species of mammals living there. There are numerous glaciers in the Caucasus Mountains as well, adding to its stunning beauty. The region also has a rich cultural heritage and is known for its distinct traditional foods and music. Notable mountains include:

  • Mt. Elbrus (18,510')

  • Dykh-tau (17,077′)

  • Shkhara (17,037′)

  • Koshtan Tau (16,877′)

  • Jangi Tau (16,683′)

  • Kazbek (16,581′)

A view of the Caucasus Mountains
A view of the Caucasus Mountains

While the Caucasus Mountains can be dangerous due to extreme weather conditions and unpredictable terrain, they remain a popular destination for adventurous climbers and travelers looking to explore this captivating region.

The Pacific Northwest Coast Ranges

Location: The west coast of the United States

Tallest Mountain: Denali

The Pacific Northwest Coast Ranges is home to several important mountain ranges, including the:

The Olympic Mountains
The Olympic Mountains in Washington State

The entire Pacific Coast range is incredibly diverse, with vast changes in elevation. The mountains further north are found in Alaska and British Columbia, while in the southern part of the range, there are peaks of the California Coast.

There are many smaller ranges that are included in the Pacific Coast Range than are listed above, a great number of which are located in Alaska. Some of the notable peaks include:

  • Mount Olympus

  • Mount Rainier

  • Mount Shuksan

  • Mount Baker

  • Mount Garibaldi

  • Mount Shasta

  • Joffre Peak

  • Mount Weart

  • Denali

The Ural Mountains

Location: Asia

Tallest Mountain: Mount Narodnaya

The Ural Mountains are one of the world's largest and most important mountain ranges. The range is also known simply as "The Urals." The range is estimated to be between 250 million and 300 million years old.

The Ural Mountains
The Ural Mountains is one of the world's largest mountain ranges

The mountains run north to south through western Russia and along the coast of the Arctic Ocean. The mountain range is part of the boundary between Asia and Europe. The area is well-known for being incredibly rich in minerals and one of the wealthiest (geologically) places on earth. The Urals are divided into several sections. They are:

Ural Mountains
A view in the Ural Mountains
  • Polar Urals - about 9,700 sq mi with a maximum height of around 5,000 feet. The tallest mountain is Mount Payer.

  • Nether-polar Urals - a northern section of the Ural mountains that include Mount Narodnaya and Mount Karpinsky, both of which are over 6,000'.

  • Northern Urals - a section of the range with lower general elevations. The summits are generally less steep, like Mount Telposiz, which peaks at 5,305'.

  • Middle Urals - the lowest part of this important range. The tallest peak in this section is 3,261' (Mount Basegi).

  • Southern Urals - a complex section of the range with unique rock formations. The tallest mountain, Mount Yamantau, peaks at 5,380'.

Atlas Mountains

Location: North Africa

Tallest Peak: Toubkal (13,671')

The Atlas Mountains are yet another important range of mountains the world has to offer. They are located in Northern Africa and separate the Sahara from the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The range is home to a beautifully diverse range of animals and plants that are far less commonly visited than almost every other range on this list.

Atlas Mountains
The sweeping Atlas Mountains

There are four loose regions of the Atlas Mountains. They include the Saharan Atlas, Aurès Mountains, Tell Atlas, and the combined Anti-Atlas, High Atlas, and Middle Atlas.

The Middle Atlas is confined to the borders of Morocco and is to the north of the High Atlas. The high point is jbel Bou Naceur (10,958').

The Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains are a large range in Northern Africa.

The Saharan Atlas is in Algeria and includes the Aures Mountains. The high point is Djebel Aissa which peaks at over 7,000'.

The Tell Atlas is a chain of mountains that runs along Eastern Morroco to Tunisia. The high point is Lalla Khadidja, which reaches 7,572'.

The Aurès Mountains are to the far east of the Atlas Mountain Range. It includes parts of Algeria and Tunisia.

The Great Dividing Range

Location: Australia, Oceania

Tallest Peak: Mount Kosciuszko (7,310')

The Great Dividing Range is also known as the East Australian Cordillera. It's a system of mountains that ranges in shape and landscape. It is the fifth-longest range of mountains in the world. It extends over 2,000 miles, or 3,500 kilometers, from the northern tip of the Cape York Peninsula, along the entire eastern seaboard, to the Wimmera Plains.

The Great Dividing Range
The Great Dividing Range in Australia

The range is a combined system of hills, peaks, plateaus, and escarpments, ranging from around 1,000 to 6,000' on average. The tallest mountain is Mount Kosciuszko (7,310'). It's believed the range formed more than 300 million years ago and was significantly higher than it is today. The great dividing range consists of the following peaks of importance:

  • Mount Townsend (7,247′)

  • Mount Twynam (7,201′)

  • Rams Head (7,185′)

  • Etheridge Ridge (7,152′)

  • Rams Head North (7,185′)

  • Alice Rawson Peak (7,119')

Great Dividing Range
Views in the Great Dividing Range