Sierra Nevada Cross Section
This cross section shows the elevation profile of the Sierra Nevada in a roughly west - east direction in three different locations (Mt. Whitney, Yosemite, and Lake Tahoe).
Move your mouse over the labels on the map below to view the different elevation profiles (it may take a minute or two for the rollovers to load).
- Profile of the Sierra Nevada crest (graphic)
- List of all peaks over 13,000 ft. in the Sierra Nevada (list)
- Distribution of High Peaks in the Sierra Nevada (map)
Source data: Profiles calculated using TopoUSA 2.0, DeLorme Software.
There are several things worth noticing. The southern Sierra are higher, steeper and narrower than areas farther north. In the southern section, the range lifts 14,000 ft in 52 miles (5.1% grade). In the north, the range climbs only 8,900 ft. in 57 miles (2.9% grade). In general, the Sierra becomes lower and wider from south to north. Also, the eastern escarpment of the Sierra is much steeper and more dramatic in the southern parts of the range. At the northern end of the Sierra, there is no well defined eastern boundary to the range at all.