Important Landforms in the U.S.

••• rocky mountain national park,rocky mountains,mount image by Earl Robbins from

The term “landform” encompasses all of the geological features on our planet. For example, continents, valleys, canyons, sand dunes and mountains all qualify as landforms. In addition, bodies of water, such as oceans and lakes and water-related landscapes, such as bays and peninsulas, are also landforms. Aside from being part of a continental landform, the United States is covered in geographical features.

Appalachian Mountains

The Appalachian Mountains may be some of the oldest mountains on earth. The segmented chain of landforms cuts across the eastern side of North America, including U.S. states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Alabama. The highest range is the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the highest peak is at Mount Mitchell.

Rocky Mountains

The Rocky Mountains are a mountain range that passes through the western states, such as Utah and Colorado. The Rockies are taller, steeper and craggier than the Appalachians because the western mountains are not old enough to have experienced the same amount of wearing by the elements. Yellowstone National Park and Royal Gorge are examples of the various tourist attractions that are set in the Rocky Mountains.

Great Salt Lake

Utah is home to Great Salt Lake, one of the world’s largest terminal lakes. Several nearby rivers empty minerals into the lake, increasing its salinity level. No fish live in Great Salt Lake, but species of shrimp and algae can endure the salty waters.

Grand Canyon

At its broadest point, the Grand Canyon is 18 miles wide. The chasm, which is nearly 280 miles long, was formed by the Colorado River. Before becoming a National Park in 1919, the Grand Canyon was a Forest Reserve and National Monument.

Great Plains

Great Plains are predominantly low, flat lands that expand through states such as Nebraska and Kansas. Much of Tornado Alley, an area frequently visited by twisters, falls in the Great Plains.

Mississippi River

The Mississippi River stretches from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico, passing through many states, such as Missouri and Kentucky, along the way. The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area encompasses more than 70 miles of the river’s corridor.

Mojave Desert & Death Valley

The Mojave Desert is the hottest desert in the U.S. The desert spreads across Nevada, Utah, Arizona and California. You can find Death Valley National Park in the Mojave Desert. The lowest point in the valley is nearly 300 feet below sea level, making it the lowest point in the U.S. Temperatures in the desert have reached 134 degrees Fahrenheit.


About the Author

Mitch Reid has been a writer since 2006. He holds a fine arts degree in creative writing, but has a persistent interest in social psychology. He loves train travel, writing fiction, and leaping out of planes. His written work has appeared on sites such as and GlobalPost, and he has served as an editor for ebook publisher Crescent Moon Press, as well as academic literary journals.

Photo Credits

  • rocky mountain national park,rocky mountains,mount image by Earl Robbins from