This is a list of the extreme points of the United States , the points that are farther north, south, east, or west than any other location in the country. Also included are extreme points in elevation, extreme distances, and other points of peculiar geographic interest.

Image
Extreme points in the contiguous 48 states: Northwest Angle, Ballast Key, Sail Rock, Bodelteh Islands

Northernmost points

Southernmost points

Easternmost points

Westernmost points

Interpretation of easternmost and westernmost

There are three methods for reckoning the eastern and western extremes of the United States.

One method is to use the Prime Meridian as the dividing line between east and west. This meridian running through Greenwich, London , is defined as zero degrees longitude and could be called the least eastern and least western place in the world. The 180th meridian , on the opposite side of the globe, is therefore the easternmost and westernmost place in the world.

Another method is to use the International Date Line as the easternmost–westernmost extreme. On the equinox, the easternmost place would be where the day first begins, and the westernmost is where the day last ends.

Still another method is to first determine the geographic center of the country and from there measure the shortest distance to every other point. All U.S. territory is spread across less than 180° of longitude, so from any spot in the U.S. it is more direct to reach Point Udall, U.S. Virgin Islands, by traveling east than by traveling west. Likewise, there is not a single point in U.S. territory from which heading east is a shorter route to Point Udall, Guam, than heading west would be, even accounting for circumpolar routes. The two Udalls for whom the two Points are named were brothers, Mo Udall in Guam and Stewart Udall in the Virgin Islands.

Highest points

Lowest points

Other points

Islands

Lakes

  • Lake Michigan-Huron – largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, at 45,300 square miles (117,000 km 2 ), of which 31,507 square miles (81,600 km 2 ) is within the United States.
  • Lake Superior – Located along the Canada–United States border , it is the second largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, at 31,700 sq mi (82,100 km 2 ), of which 20,600 square miles (53,350 km 2 ) is within the United States. [6] It is also North America's largest by volume, at 2,900 cu mi (12,000 km 3 ). Commonly called the largest lake by surface area when Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are called separate lakes.
  • Great Salt Lake , Utah – most extensive endorheic lake at 1,700 square miles (4,400 km 2 )
  • Crater Lake , Oregon – deepest lake at 1,943 feet (592 m) [6]

Rivers

Extremes in distance

Note that some map projections make diagonal lines appear longer than they actually are. However, the diagonal line from Kure Atoll , Hawaii to West Quoddy Head , Maine is only 5,797 miles (9,329 km) and the diagonal from Cape Wrangell , Attu Island , Alaska to Log Point on Elliott Key , Florida is only 5,505 miles (8,859 km).

See also

Notes

  1. The summit of Mount Whitney is the highest point of the Sierra Nevada , the State of California , and the contiguous United States .
  2. The summit of Mount Elbert is the highest point of the Front Range and the Continental Divide of North America .
  3. The summit of Mauna Kea is the highest point of the Island of Hawaiʻi , the State of Hawaiʻi , and the entire Pacific Ocean . Mauna Kea is also the tallest mountain on Earth as measured from base to summit. The shield volcano sits on the ocean floor at a depth of 19,678 feet (5,998 m) for a total height of 33,474 feet (10,203 m).