East coast outdoor enthusiasts often suffer from an inferiority complex. We sometimes assume that our 6,000-foot humps don’t compare to the massive, majestic 14,000-footers out West. Like typical males, we think that size is all that matters.

But Appalachian adventure can be just as intense as those Rocky Mountain Highs. Greg Melville makes a compelling case for our beloved Blue Ridge in the July issue; you can read it here.

Most convincing to me is the accessibility of Appalachia. We can cram more mountain adventure into our everyday lives. We don’t have to drive for hours to get to our adventure; we can reach our Blue Ridge backyard quickly, spending less time behind the wheel and more time immersed in the outdoors.

And while we don’t have snow-capped summits and mountaineering, we do have a helluva lot more wildlife and biodiversity in our lush, forested mountains. Our trails are teeming with life. We get a richer, deeper experience every time we step foot on the trail.

The best proof is in the people who experience the mountains. Our Eastern outdoor communities are as tough, talented, and diverse as our wildlife.

If you’re still feeling size-conscious, get over it and get out there. Find out for yourself why Appalachia is tops among mountains. Most important is not whose mountains are best, but that the mountains bring out the best in you.