7 Mountain Views to See Before You Die
by Steve Casimiro
Outdoor enthusiast Steve Casimiro has spent the past 30 years writing and photographing remote corners of the world, documenting these experiences on his travel website, Adventure Journal. He shares his must-see mountain views.
1. Mirador Condor (Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile)
Patagonia is notorious for having some of the wildest weather on earth, so views of the iconic Torres del Paine massif (it’s the inspiration for the logo for outdoor gear brand Patagonia) are a gift. Any of the perspectives from the frosty blue waters of Lake Pehoé will take your breath away, but a 40-minute hike to the Condor Lookout reveals an angle you’ll never forget.
2. Tre Cime di Lavaredo area (Dolomite Mountains, Italy)
The limestone of northern Italy’s Dolomite Mountains is craggy and rough-hewn, as if the DNA of its past life as ocean reefs must show through the curtain of the ages, and wherever you look you see another peak suitable for national park status. Tre Cime di Lavaredo, also known in German as Drei Zinnen, justify their acclaim, but these three sentinels are to some eyes gaudy and monumental. Turn south, toward the resort town of Cortina, and there, with little fanfare, is a ridgeline less heralded but with more classic mountain beauty.
3. Denali, Alaska
One view of Denali is enough to satiate for a lifetime, but getting two glimpses of North America’s highest point at once defies words. Accessible by car, Reflection Pond at Wonder Lake is some 85 miles into Denali Park, and when the light is right and the wind at abeyance, it’s one of the world’s most magnificent mirrors.
4. Mount Shasta from Heart Lake, California
Mount Shasta can been seen almost anywhere you go in northernmost California, a distant speck on the horizon or a looming hulk of glacier-clad white guarding endless green farmlands. But perhaps the sweetest angle is from the west, when you drive to Castle Lake, then hike another mile to a delightful pocket pool called Heart Lake.
5. Mont Blanc, Chamonix, France
The roof of western Europe is the birthplace of alpinism and home to one of today’s most vibrant mountain sports communities, so it’s a given that Mont Blanc and its subsidiary peaks needn’t bow to any mountains, anywhere. It’s needlelike, gothically drawn skyline is the kind that inspires poets and painters.
6. Angels Landing, Utah
Canyons don’t typically get lumped in with mountains, but Zion National Park in southwestern Utah is studded with peaks all around its signature valley, and no view is better than that from Angels Landing, a three-mile hike that is perhaps the most dramatic in the entire Lower 48.
7. Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand
Pick an angle, any angle: New Zealand’s highest point looks stunning from every vantage point. Don’t want to leave the comfort of the lodge at Mount Cook Village? Your eyes will widen at the view through the huge windows, the peak framed by dark green scrub. Got adventure in your veins? Take the ski plane up to the Tasman Glacier and you will be gobsmacked by the sight of the ice-encrusted north face.