Climbing the Americas: our guide to some of the best mountains

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This article was specially produced for Brooks Range by Lonely Planet.

Whether you’re a novice climber looking for a challenge to work up to or an old hand who wants to take your climbs to the next level, there are some great mountains out there waiting for you. Check out some of our favorites in the Americas.

Katahdin, Baxter State Park, Maine
Six days of hard trekking across the 46 miles of Maine’s northern Lake country will take you to the 5268ft summit of Katahdin. The hike features untouched mountain lakes and postcard-pretty streams, as well as lofty views. This leg of the Appalachian Trail is lovely from May to October.

Kesugi Ridge, Denali National Park, Alaska
Hiking along Alaska’s Kesugi Ridge will take two to four days, but the reward is worth it: pristine wilderness and stunning views of Mt McKinley. It’s a medium-to-hard climb, depending on the weather and how far you hike (from 6.2 to 27.4 miles). The best time is mid-June to early September.

Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
The most-climbed 14er in the Rockies, the park’s greatest landmark has an ascent of almost 5000ft, which can be hiked in a day with a pre-dawn start. It’s an extensive, strenuous climb to the summit, best done from June to September.

Mauna Kea, Hawaii
This strenuous day hike (no camping allowed) up to the 13,796ft summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s highest peak and home to numerous international astronomy telescopes, takes you 12 miles through an otherworldly, cloud-topping landscape of volcanic cinder cones and ancient archeological sites. You can hike it year-round, but be prepared for the summit’s thin air.

Mt Elbert, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
An unsurpassable view is the reward for reaching the summit of the highest mountain in the Rockies. It’s a monumental ascent of 4400ft and can be reached by a short, steep climb or a longer, gradual hike. But unless you’re making the climb out of season, don’t expect to have the summit to yourself.

Mt Hood, Oregon
A trail system along Mt Hood’s forested slopes and ridgelines provides day trekkers with easy access to a photogenic wilderness of waterfalls, quiet reflecting lakes, wildflower meadows and mountain vistas. Its 11,240ft peak is the second most climbed in the world after Mt Fuji. Bank on wildflowers all summer long.

Mt Shasta, California
The gorgeous 14,179ft peak of Mt Shasta lures climbers, burnouts and back-to-nature types, all of whom revere the majestic mountain that looms overhead with varying degrees of mystical and physical engagement. Park rangers can advise you on a trail to match your ability and the season.

Mt Whitney, California
This hugely popular trail gains more than 6000ft in 10.7 miles and is the Sierra Nevada’s highest peak (14,505ft). Here, you can gaze across at five other 14er peaks of the Sierras. The summit can be reached in a day, but only by superbly conditioned and acclimatized hikers.

Cerro Aconcagua, Argentina
The highest mountain outside of the Himalayas yields to determined trekkers. Reaching its 22,834ft summit requires several weeks and should only be attempted by experienced climbers. The three routes to the summit can be demanding and technical, requiring the use of ropes, ice screws and axes. Organised tours can be arranged.

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