13 Best Beginner Mountains to Climb in the US

by Jen
Best Beginner Mountains to Climb in the US
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Looking for beginner mountains to climb in the US this year? Strap on your hiking boots, because we’re about to embark on an epic adventure! We’re diving into the world of beginner-friendly mountain climbing across the US.

From the scenic ridges of Mount Mansfield in Vermont to the rugged beauty of Guadalupe Peak in Texas, we’ve got the lowdown on where to start your climbing journey.

Imagine standing atop a summit, taking in breathtaking views of vast landscapes and distant horizons. Whether you’re seeking a gentle introduction to mountain climbing or looking for a rewarding challenge, these peaks are perfect for beginners. We’re covering a range of mountains from coast to coast, including hidden gems in states like Wyoming, California, and Colorado!

In this article, I’ll guide you through 13 of the best beginner mountain hikes in the US. Each one offers a unique experience, from easy hikes with stunning views to slightly more challenging climbs that still cater to novices. So, lace up your boots and let’s begin this incredible journey through America’s most accessible and awe-inspiring peaks!

The top beginner mountains to climb in the US right now

Best Beginner Mountains to Climb in the US

We’re about to embark on an exhilarating journey through must-explore peaks in the US. Pack your sense of adventure and join us as we explore a world of majestic landscapes and accessible peaks that are sure to ignite your passion for mountain climbing!

1. Bear Mountain, Connecticut

Kicking off our list is Bear Mountain in Connecticut, a perfect start for beginner climbers. Located in the charming town of Salisbury, Bear Mountain is not only the highest peak in Connecticut but also a popular spot for camping, birding, and backpacking. This easily puts it in the conversation for the best mountains to climb in the US for beginners.

The climb to Bear Mountain’s summit is a rewarding experience, offering stunning views of the Hudson Highlands, the Hudson River, and even the Manhattan skyscrapers on a clear day. The mountain stands at 2,316 feet, with a hike covering about 6 miles and an elevation gain of 1,676 feet.

The best part? You can climb Bear Mountain year-round. The trail is a loop, making it easy to navigate, and the most popular route is the “Bear Mountain Trail.” No permits are required for this climb, making it an accessible choice for beginners. The ideal time to climb is between April and October, when the weather is most favorable.

Bear Mountain is an awesome introduction to the joys of mountain climbing, offering a gentle yet fulfilling ascent that’s perfect for first-timers. This makes it a top hike for beginners in the USA.

Bear Mountain, Connecticut is one of the best  beginner mountains to climb in the US.
Bear Mountain in Connecticut is a perfect start for beginner climbers, offering camping, birding, and backpacking.

2. Mount Mansfield, Vermont

So, even as a complete beginner, you can experience hiking in Vermont by climbing the highest peak! How cool is that? It’s got a trail that’s perfect for those just starting out. The Sunset Ridge trail is where you’ll start, and it’s a path that’ll take you up 2,600 feet over 3.3 miles. A lot of this hike is above the treeline, so you’re walking along a ridgeline with some killer views.

If you’re new to hiking, give yourself around 4-5 hours to tackle this trail.

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It’s all about taking in the scenery and enjoying the climb. Also, Mount Washington, the tallest peak in New Hampshire, is just a few hours away. You could totally turn this into an epic summit weekend!

You’ll wander through beautiful landscapes, and the views from the summit? Absolutely breathtaking. You can see the Adirondacks, Lake Champlain, and even some of Canada on a clear day.

If you’re looking to dip your toes into mountain climbing, Mount Mansfield is a fantastic place to start. It’s got the right mix of challenge and fun, making it a great climb for beginners. Pack your bag, lace up those boots, and let’s hit the trail for an unforgettable adventure! It’s easy to see why this is among the best beginner peaks in the US for hikers.

Even beginners can climb Vermont's highest peak via the beginner-friendly Sunset Ridge trail, boasting scenic ridgeline views.
Even beginners can climb Vermont’s highest peak via the beginner-friendly Sunset Ridge trail, boasting scenic ridgeline views.

3. Black Elk Peak, South Dakota

Now, let’s venture to Black Elk Peak in South Dakota, a peak that’s a real journey through history and nature. Formerly known as Harney Peak, this mountain was renamed to honor Native American heritage, and it’s the highest point in South Dakota.

From the summit, you can catch views of four states: Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota. The trail to the top is a moderate to easy skill rating, making it perfect for beginners. Plus, there are some great rest stops along the way.

The peak stands at 7,242 feet, with an elevation gain of about 1,100 feet over a 7.6-mile trail. The trail is a loop, and the most popular route is “Trail Number 9.” While you can climb year-round, the best time is between April and October. In winter, the snow adds a magical touch but also a bit of a challenge.

One of the coolest things about Black Elk Peak is the Fire Tower at the high point of the hike. This is a great spot for epic selfies while still feeling like a piece of history, making this a unique beginner mountain to climb in the US.

Explore Black Elk Peak in South Dakota, now honoring Native American heritage as the state's highest point.
Explore Black Elk Peak in South Dakota, now honoring Native American heritage as the state’s highest point.

4. Guadalupe Peak, Texas

Time to talk about Guadalupe Peak in Texas. This is the highest point in Texas, and it’s got a bit of everything for beginner climbers. Picture yourself trekking up this huge mountain in the middle of a desert landscape. Sounds cool, right?

The trail to the top of Guadalupe Peak is about four miles from the parking lot and climbs over 3,000 feet. Now, it’s a bit of a workout, but it’s totally manageable, especially if you’re just starting out with mountain climbing. The path is super clear, so you won’t have to stress about getting lost.

Just make sure you bring lots of water. The area around the peak is pretty dry, and staying hydrated is key. But trust me, the effort is worth it. When you reach the top, you’re greeted with these amazing views of the Texas desert and the Guadalupe Mountains. It’s like standing on top of the world!

So, if you’re up for a challenge and ready to soak in some stunning desert views, Guadalupe Peak is the perfect climb. Let’s hit the trail and conquer this peak together!

Guadalupe Peak in Texas offers a diverse experience for beginner climbers with its impressive desert landscape.
Guadalupe Peak in Texas offers a diverse experience for beginner climbers with its impressive desert landscape.

5. Driskill Mountain, Louisiana

Let’s make your mountain climbing visions a reality by introducing you to Driskill Mountain in the heart of Louisiana. With an elevation of 535 feet (163 meters), it may not be among the tallest peaks, but it’s an absolute treasure for beginners.

Located in Bienville Parish, Driskill Mountain welcomes climbers of all levels with open arms. What sets it apart, especially for those taking their first steps in mountain climbing, is its accessibility. Getting there is a breeze, and you won’t need to plan an arduous expedition just to reach the base.

Now, let’s talk about the payoff – the panoramic views from the top. Despite its modest height, Driskill Mountain doesn’t skimp on scenery. As you ascend, you’ll be treated to picturesque vistas of the surrounding forested landscape. The climb might be gentle, but the sights are nothing short of breathtaking.

Driskill Mountain is a family-friendly destination. So whether you’re an adventurous solo traveler, a couple seeking a unique bonding experience, or a family looking for an outdoor adventure suitable for all ages, this mountain has got you covered.

Turn your mountain climbing visions into reality with Driskill Mountain in Louisiana.
Turn your mountain climbing visions into reality with Driskill Mountain in Louisiana.

6. Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire

If you’re seeking an ideal starting point for your journey into the world of mountain climbing, look no further than Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. With its picturesque trails and accessible elevation, it’s a gem for beginners.

Nestled in southwestern New Hampshire, Mount Monadnock beckons adventurers from all walks of life. As you lace up your hiking boots and begin your ascent, you’ll quickly realize that Mount Monadnock offers an enriching hiking experience. The trails leading to the summit are well-maintained and offer a variety of routes suitable for climbers of all levels.

Now, let’s talk about the grand reward – the views from the top. Despite its moderate elevation of 3,165 feet (965 meters), Mount Monadnock, one of the best trails in the New England region, doesn’t skimp on scenic beauty. As you make your way up, you’ll be treated to sweeping vistas of the surrounding landscape.

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The sense of accomplishment as you reach the summit is simply unbeatable.

When should you plan your climb? Consider visiting during the fall or spring seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the foliage adds an extra layer of natural beauty to your adventure.


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Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire is a perfect starting point for beginners with picturesque trails and accessible elevation.

7. Grays Peak, Colorado

Let’s head over to Grays Peak, one of the best mountains in Colorado for beginner climbers. Located in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, Grays Peak is known for being the county high point for both Summit County and Clear Creek County.

What makes Grays Peak ideal for beginners is its well-maintained trail and gradual ascent. The hike to the summit is a loop trail called “Stephens Gulch Trailhead,” covering a total distance of 8 miles with an elevation gain of 3,000 feet. The trail is clear and straightforward, making it less intimidating for those new to mountain climbing.

One of the coolest things about climbing Grays Peak is the chance to see mountain goats along the way. They’re often spotted on the mountain, making this a unique beginner mountain to climb in the US.

Grays Peak is also known for its accessibility. The trail is open throughout the year, with April to September being the busiest season. Many climbers prefer to avoid the snow-covered terrain in winter, but if you’re up for a winter hike, Grays Peak offers a beautiful snowy landscape.

Explore Grays Peak in Colorado, one of the tallest peaks for beginner climbers, situated in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.
Explore Grays Peak in Colorado, one of the tallest peaks for beginner climbers, situated in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.

8. Mount Elbert, Colorado

Alright, who’s up for conquering the highest peak in Colorado? Mount Elbert is where it’s at, and guess what? It’s totally doable for beginners. Standing tall at 14,440 feet, this mountain might sound intimidating, but the climb is surprisingly beginner-friendly.

The go-to trail for Mount Elbert is the “North Mount Elbert Trailhead.” It’s a loop trail that takes you up 4,700 feet over 9.5 miles. The trail is pretty straightforward, with no technical bits to worry about. It’s all about a steady walk up, making it perfect for those just starting out.

Now, let’s talk time. If you’re new to mountain climbing, plan for around 6-8 hours for the round trip. It’s a good idea to start early in the morning to beat any afternoon weather changes. Trust me, watching the sunrise as you climb is something you won’t forget.

Once you’re at the top, the views are out of this world. You’ve got Mount Massive to the north, La Plata Peak to the south, and a 360-degree panorama that’ll make all the effort worth it.

Mount Elbert, Colorado is one of the best  beginner mountains to climb in the US.
Mount Elbert, Colorado is a surprisingly beginner-friendly climb despite its towering height of 14,440 feet.

9. Mount Wrightson, Arizona

With its captivating trails and manageable elevation, Mount Wrightson in Arizona is an absolute gem for those just beginning their climbing journey. Tucked away in the Coronado National Forest of southern Arizona, Mount Wrightson invites adventurers of all kinds.

Although Mount Wrightson doesn’t boast the highest peak, standing at 9,456 feet (2,882 meters), it still offers breathtaking panoramas. As you ascend, you’ll be treated to sweeping vistas of the surrounding landscapes. Reaching the summit brings a sense of accomplishment that’s truly satisfying.

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What’s remarkable about Mount Wrightson is its accessibility. Families, solo adventurers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all ages will find this mountain an inviting destination. It’s a place where shared experiences and unforgettable memories take shape.

Make sure your gear includes comfortable hiking boots and weather-appropriate attire. And don’t forget the essentials: water, snacks, and a camera to capture the natural wonders you’ll encounter along the way.

So, if you’ve ever dreamt of stepping into the world of mountain climbing, Mount Wrightson offers an enticing entry point. While it may not be the tallest peak, it’s a fantastic introduction for beginners, with unspoiled nature, breathtaking views, and a deep sense of accomplishment.

Mount Wrightson in Arizona offers captivating trails and manageable elevation in the Coronado National Forest.
Mount Wrightson in Arizona offers captivating trails and manageable elevation in the Coronado National Forest.

10. Red Mountain, Colorado

Red Mountain, nestled in Colorado’s scenic landscape, is a destination that shouldn’t be missed by outdoor lovers. Among its many attractions, the Idarado Legacy Trail stands out as a perfect choice for beginner climbers. This trail is approximately 4.8 miles round trip and offers a relatively easy climb. It’s an excellent option for those new to hiking or climbing, providing a manageable yet fulfilling experience.

As you journey along the Idarado Legacy Trail, you’ll be surrounded by stunning views. The trail meanders through lush forests and offers breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It’s a visually captivating experience from start to finish.

But Red Mountain isn’t just about the trails. It’s also a fantastic spot for history buffs. The area is dotted with remnants from Colorado’s mining era, providing a unique glimpse into the state’s past. Exploring these historical sites is like stepping into another era.

And don’t forget your camera! The diverse landscapes, from vibrant wildflowers to rugged mountain terrain, provide endless opportunities for capturing stunning images. Every season brings a new perspective and color palette.

Red Mountain in Colorado provides a manageable yet fulfilling experience in the scenic landscape.
Red Mountain in Colorado provides a manageable yet fulfilling experience in the scenic landscape.

11. Mount Olympus, Utah

This mountain is kind of like the underdog of beginner climbs, but it’s got a lot to offer. Standing at 9,026 feet, it towers over Salt Lake City, and from down in the city, you can’t miss it.

The hike up Mount Olympus is a bit of a challenge, but in a good way. It’s about 7 miles round-trip, and it’s pretty steep, gaining over 1,000 feet per mile. But don’t let that scare you off. The trail is clear, and the climb is super rewarding.

Now, the real fun starts just below the summit. There’s this Class 3 scramble that’s a bit tricky, but it’s totally doable and adds a bit of adventure to the hike. When I did this one, there was a bit of snow, but we still made it to the top without any problems.

The views from Mount Olympus? Absolutely stunning. You get this amazing panoramic view of Salt Lake City and the surrounding area. So, if you’re up for a bit of a challenge and want to experience some of the best views in Utah, Mount Olympus is the perfect climb.

The Mount Olympus hike, about 7 miles round-trip, presents a challenging but rewarding ascent with a steep incline.
The Mount Olympus hike, about 7 miles round-trip, presents a challenging but rewarding ascent with a steep incline.

12. Camelback Peak, Arizona

Camelback Peak is right in the heart of the Phoenix metro area, making it super accessible for beginners. This mountain’s also a popular spot for both locals and visitors, offering a quick escape to nature and some fantastic views.

The hike up Camelback Peak has a steep but manageable ascent. The trail gains about 1,250 feet over 1.42 miles, so it’s a bit of a workout, but it’s the perfect challenge for beginners. Plus, the trail is well-marked, so you won’t have to worry about getting lost.

What’s really cool about Camelback Peak is that despite being so close to the city, the summit offers sweeping views of Paradise Valley and the distant Superstition Mountains.

Camelback Peak is also a great spot for training. Many local hikers and trail runners use the mountain for daily workouts, so it’s a fantastic place to build up your hiking skills and get used to elevation gain.

So, if you’re in the Phoenix area and looking for a beginner-friendly mountain with great views and a good workout, Camelback Peak is the way to go.

Accessible for beginners, Camelback Peak in the heart of the Phoenix metro area is a popular spot for both locals and visitors.
Accessible for beginners, Camelback Peak in the heart of the Phoenix metro area is a popular spot for both locals and visitors.

13. Whiskey Mountain, Wyoming

Nestled in Wyoming’s wild landscapes, Whiskey Mountain is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts. This mountain offers a range of activities that cater to various interests and skill levels.

One of the highlights for beginner climbers is the Torrey Creek Trail. This trail is about 5 miles round trip and provides a gentle yet rewarding climb.

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It’s ideal for those just starting out in hiking or climbing, offering a manageable challenge with stunning rewards.

Whiskey Mountain is one of the best  beginner mountains to climb in the US.
Whiskey Mountain in Wyoming offers a range of activities catering to various interests and skill levels.

As you trek along the Torrey Creek Trail, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The trail is well-marked and winds through diverse landscapes, ensuring a visually stunning journey.

Whiskey Mountain is home to the largest herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in North America. These majestic animals, along with other wildlife like elk and deer, can be seen in their natural environment.

Lastly, camping in Whiskey Mountain’s wilderness is an experience not to be missed. It’s an opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and reconnect with nature.

The top beginner mountains to climb in the US for all types of travelers
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