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Natural Regions, Canadian Cordillera

Canada's westernmost region, the Canadian Cordillera, embraces the mountains west of the Great Plains. The region belongs to the vast mountain system extending from the southernmost extremity of South America to westernmost Alaska. The Canadian Cordillera has an average width of about 800 km (about 500 mi). It includes part of western Alberta, much of British Columbia, the Inuvik Region and part of the Fort Smith Region of Northwest Territories, and practically all of Yukon Territory.

The eastern portion of the Canadian Cordillera consists of the Rocky Mountains and related ranges, including the Mackenzie, Franklin, and Richardson mountains. Mount Robson at 3,954 m (12,972 ft) is the highest summit of the Canadian Rockies, and ten other peaks reach elevations of more than 3,500 m (11,500 ft). To the west of the Canadian Rockies are numerous isolated ranges, notably the Cariboo, Stikine, and Selkirk mountains, and a vast plateau region. Deep river valleys and extensive tracts of arable land are the chief features of the plateau region, particularly in British Columbia.

Flanking this central belt on the west and generally parallel to the Pacific Ocean is another great mountain system. This system includes the Coast Mountains, which are an extension into British Columbia of the Cascade Range of the United States, and various coastal ranges. The highest of these, the Saint Elias Mountains, are on the boundary between Yukon Territory and Alaska. Among noteworthy peaks of the western Canadian Cordillera is Mount Logan, which at 5,959 m (19,551 ft) is the highest point in Canada and second highest mountain in North America. Others are Mount Saint Elias at 5,489 m (18,008 ft), Mount Lucania at 5,226 m (17,146 ft), and King Peak at 5,173 m (16,972 ft). All are in the Saint Elias Mountains.

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