According to what I've been told, one state (Alaska) has land which is considered the easternmost, northernmost, and westernnmost in all of the USA. What are the three points that allows it to claim this, if it is indeed true, and how to get there?

  • Just looked at a Snapple cap - "Alaska is the most eastern and western state in the US" .....and I thought Snapple caps we infallible!
    – TOM
    Mar 2, 2017 at 22:20

4 Answers 4


Alaska is indeed the easternmost, northernmost, and westernmost in all of the USA. General assumption of one state being both easternmost & westernmost in a country is that the state being spanning across the country. But it's not the case with Alaska, below is the explanation from the website World Atlas

As far as the most western state, note how Alaska's Aleutian Islands stretch right up to the edge of the Western Hemisphere at the 180º line of Longitude, thus the most western state in the country.

Alaska is also the answer for eastern, as the Aleutian Islands stretch across the 180º line of Longitude, into the Eastern Hemisphere, and up the edge of the Russian Federation.

I'm searching to get these three points & their co-ordinates. I'll update once I get them.

Update: Co-ordinates of three extreme points as per Wiki -

  • Northernmost: Point Barrow, Alaska 71°23'20"N 156°28'45"W
  • Easternmost: Pochnoi Point, Semisopochnoi Island, Alaska 51°57'42"N 179°46'23"E
  • Westernmost: Amatignak Island, Alaska 51°16'7"N 179°8'55"W
  • 3
    Three points? By this definition wouldn't anywhere along the 180 degree line of Longitude be both the most easterly point AND the most westerly point at the same time?
    – Doc
    Mar 15, 2012 at 0:36
  • 12
    not if they're separate islands on either side of the 180 deg line - ie with ocean between them.
    – Mark Mayo
    Mar 15, 2012 at 0:43
  • 3
    ANY point in Alaska would give it claim to being the Northernmost state in the US ... Mar 7, 2015 at 19:34
  • 1
    @MarcelTuring but only one point in Alaska is the northernmost point in the US.
    – phoog
    Mar 3, 2017 at 4:57
  • In Florida, there's a famous marker in Key West that denotes the "southernmost point of the Continental US" or whatever. However it is actually in the islands, not the continent. But if we do allow islands a little bit of leeway here, there's at least one Floridian island nearby that's even further south, which I believe has had a lighthouse built on it. But that marker is the furthest south you could probably get to in a car or that's in a town. Dec 2, 2021 at 22:32

If you look at the Aleutian Islands, parts of the chain is located in the Eastern Hemisphere so technically you can consider them to be the easternmost part of the United States, but since you normally go west to get there and considering their proximity to the antimeridian it crosses Amchitka pass they could be considered the westernmost part of the US as well.

I found an interesting article about Extreme Points of the US. When people say that "Everything new is just well forgotten old" I can easily believe it. From travel.SE archives. The last airline that had scheduled service to Attu was Reeve Aleutian Airlines, which ceased operations in 2000.

I found that you can actually fly close to the Point Barrow to Barrow Airport. As far as I can tell only Alaskan Airlines fly there but I could be wrong.


The answer depends on how the question is asked. GPS coordinates (i.e., longitude and latitude) are: Pochnoi Point, Semisopochnoi Island, Alaska 51°57'42"N 179°46'23"E Amatignak Island, Alaska 51°16'7"N 179°8'55"W Thereby making the point in the U.S. that is the farthest east Pochnoi Point and the point in the U.S. that is farthest west Amatignak Island. This is fact and requires no interpretation since the longitude confirms it.

If the question is, "What is the farthest point east and what is the farthest point west in the U.S.?", then Alaska is the answer. It contains the point with the westernmost longitude and it contains the point with the easternmost longitude.

The ambiguity arises when the question asked is, "What is the easternmost state and what is the westernmost state in the U.S.?" This is because there are at least three different definitions of "easternmost" and "westernmost". (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_extreme_points_of_the_United_States)

If one of the definitions of "easternmost" is used that is not the easternmost longitude, then nobody has stated what those points are. This is because if you use direction of travel, the westernmost point is in Guam and the easternmost point is in the Virgin Islands, both of which are U.S. Territories. (again, see the previous wikipedia reference).

The answer to the question needs to be given with precision. e.g., Alaska contains the westernmost longitude and the easternmost longitude in the U.S. or Guam contains the westernmost point in the U.S. by direction of travel and the Virgin Islands contain the easternmost point in the U.S. by direction of travel.

  • 3
    Ah, but Guam and the US Virgin Islands are territories, not states. The OP's question restricts us only to "states." Apr 28, 2016 at 4:07

Utter nonsense. A given state can be easternmost or westernmost, but not both (unless its east-west extent covers the entire rest of the nation). The easternmost point of Alaska's panhandle would have to be east of Eastport, ME, while the westernmost Aleutian island would have to be west of the westernmost Hawai'ian island (I think it is).

That a state or territory happens to lie across the 180th meridian does NOT make it both the easternmost and the westernmost state. Draw a continuous minimal bounding box around Alaska and compare it to bounding boxes around Hawai'i and the Lower 48. Draw a continuous bounding box around the 50 states.

Alaska is the westernmost and northernmost state. Maine is the easternmost. Hawai'i is the southernmost. Period.

  • 11
    "East" and "West" depend on your frame of reference. You're assuming that the frame of reference is centered on the US, but the OP is using a frame of reference centered at Greenwich, UK (aka the prime meridian, 0 degrees longitude). Jun 4, 2014 at 23:49
  • 2
    Wrong. What counts is the minimal (continuous) bounding box that encloses all the real estate in question. If you split it at some arbitrary point (e.g., 180 degrees), it's no longer a continuous bounding box, but now two independent pieces. You would have the western Aleutians' box and the Rest of Alaska box, but you would not have an "Alaska" bounding box.
    – Phil Perry
    Jun 5, 2014 at 18:06
  • 3
    No, it's not wrong. He's defining "east" by longitude, ie. direction of travel from (0,0). You're defining "east" by direction of travel from an arbitrary point, namely the continental US. The world being spherical, there must always be a "split" where east turns into west; if you use a US frame of reference, it's around 90 deg E. Jun 5, 2014 at 23:53
  • 4
    It doesn't have anything to do with where you are "centered", it's how you draw your bounding box, as Phil said. If you say "what is the eastern-most point IN THE UNITED STATES" then you draw a box containing the United States, oriented so the north pole is atop, and look at the point furthest left. If you say "what is the eastern-most point IN THE WORLD which lies in a US state" then you would get different answers depending on where you draw your prime meridian (a bounding "box" covering the entire world is equivalent to a choice of a prime meridian). @jpatokal he didn't define east at all. Mar 7, 2015 at 19:29
  • 1
    Obviously the bounding box definition is better, because it doesn't depend upon an arbitrary choice (the choice of prime meridian). No matter how you draw your bounding box, as long as it is a topological disk containing the US in its interior, you will get the same answer: Alaska is the left-most, Maine is the right-most. Mar 7, 2015 at 19:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .