Add the thrill of the 50 high point challenge to your bucket list of life long goals and you won’t be disappointed! Would you believe that America offers a vast array of thrilling high and low mountain adventures? Mt. Washington at only 6,288 feet, the highest point in New Hampshire, once held the highest recorded wind speed ever observed by man at 231 MPH! If you try to take on Washington’s Mt Rainer, you will be hiking on an active volcano just 150 miles from the infamous Mt. Saint Helens volcano. Other states highest “peaks” are literally in the middle of suburban neighborhoods, such as Delawares Ebright Azimuth standing tall at 448 feet! The 50 high point challenge offers both the thrill of a Himalayan expedition and the ease of a, “walk in the park” you never thought existed. Take some pride in our great country and explore these fun adventures in your own backyard. You will be surprised at how many state high points are located on famous trails such as the Appalachian, offer difficult mountaineering challenges, or take you off the beaten path to unique places away from the crowds. Here are the top 5 Reasons why you should climb to the highest point in all 50 states!
1. Another Excuse to Get Outside
Of course the number one reason to start “highpointing” is to give all of us another excuse to get outside, find adventure, breath fresh mountain air and travel this great country from sea to shining sea. When you start “highpointing” you will scratch that outdoor itch every time. Not only will you get a great hike under your belt, but the outdoor adventures surrounding each high point range from kayaking, fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, camping and the list goes on and on! Each high point offers different wildlife, such as the herd of Bighorn Sheep on New Mexico’s Wheeler Peak, or the wild Grayson Highlands Ponies on Virginia’s Mt. Rogers. National Parks and landmarks are also near highpoints, such as Carlsbad Caverns National Park just 90 miles away from Texas’s Guadalupe Peak or Mount Rushmore only 30 miles from South Dakota’s Harney Peak.
2. Offers Opportunities for Everyone
The second reason is to spend more time with family and friends on trips that you can enjoy with anyone! No matter what age, gender, or disability, “highpointing” can be enjoyed by everyone. Since there are 50 different high points to climb, the high points across this great nation range from a drive up parking lot with wheel chair access, such as Florida’s Britton Hill, to an intermediate family fun hike like New York’s Mt. Marcy, to an all out 14 day expedition with a glacier crossing on Alaska’s Mt Denali (the highest point in North America). Taking on the 50 high points gives you a unique opportunity to spend time and plan trips with an array of family, friends or fellow hikers regardless of their skill or love for the outdoors.
3. Conquering Challenges
Just visiting all 50 states is a challenge all to itself, but actually planning a trip to a certain location to accomplish a certain goal becomes a very hard sought challenge. Some hikes such as Illinois’s Charles Mound are on private land and access can only be granted a couple weekends during the year. Other points offer greater challenges, such as Wyoming’s Gannett Peak, which has the longest round trip of any of the high points at nearly 50 miles. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing a goal all the way through to fruition. Whether your goal is to take down the highest point in your home state, all the states in your region, or take on all 50 states, “highpointing” is a goal worth setting. This goal will be sure to keep you going for years to come. The real reward begins while sitting around with family and friends planning the next challenging high point to conquer.
4. Unique Cross Country Travel
Too often we get stuck in our comfort zones and end up only hiking, camping, or exploring in our own regions of the U.S. When we do end up planning a lavish trip, we end up backpacking across Europe or the Australian outback. Make your next big vacation a road trip to high point with more than just a hike, visit a place you never expected to visit, like hiking Louisiana’s Mt. Driskill. The high point is within minutes of where the infamous Bonnie and Clyde made their finally stand in a hail of bullets. Since you’re “highpointing” in the South you might as well eat some good BBQ. Stop in the town of Ruston, Louisiana just 20 miles east on I-20 just off Exit 84, and pick up the World Famous Scatterload sandwich from Brister’s Smokehouse for the best BBQ and sweet tea I’ve ever had. By adding the high points to your goals, you will end up traveling to all kinds of unique locations off the beaten path. Find new unique opportunities for photography, adventure, and places to eat that aren’t listed on yelp, or the cliche locations everyone visits!
5. The Views are Spectacular!
We all love to hike and camp, but nothing is better than adding a spectacular view to an adventure. There is something special that touches the souls of every man and woman, when we can stand atop a mountain and gaze out as far as the eye can see! I never expected to stand atop so many “flat” states like North Dakota’s White Butte that stands tall in the Little Missouri National Grasslands, and be able to take in a 360 degree view. I encourage you not to underestimate any state on the map, because every state will surprise you! From hundreds of waterfalls near Alabama’s Cheaha Mt, to hundreds of high Sierra lakes surrounding California’s Mt. Whitney!
I hope this article inspires you to get outside more often and enjoy the challenge of the great outdoors with friends and family.