A piedmont is an area at the base of a mountain or mountain range. The word piedmont comes from the Italian words pied and monte, which mean "foot" and "hill."

Piedmont lakes and piedmont glaciers, for example, are simply lakes and glaciers located at the foot, or base, of mountains. Malaspina Glacier in southeastern Alaska is the largest piedmont glacier in the world, spilling out of the St. Elias Mountains onto the coastal plain between Yakutat Bay and Icy Bay.

The term by itself can also refer to a specific mountain foothill region. The Piedmont region of northwestern Italy sits at the base of the Italian Alps. In the eastern United States, the Appalachian Piedmont stretches from New Jersey to Alabama, along the foot of the Appalachian Mountains. Farther west lies the Colorado Piedmont. A relatively narrow strip of land sandwiched between the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Piedmont is home to most of the people and industry of the state of Colorado.

Piedmont is one of Italy's 20 regions, with its capital in Turin. Regions of Italy function like states in the U.S. or provinces in Canada.

Martian Piedmont
On Mars, a large piedmont sits at the base of the huge volcano Olympus Mons. Scientists examining photos of this piedmont concluded in 2006 that it was formed by an enormous, ancient glacier. This Martian glacier would have been nearly four times as large as Alaska's Malsapina Glacier, the largest piedmont glacier on Earth.


bottom layer of a structure.


low, flat land lying next to the ocean.


hill at the base of a mountain.


mass of ice that moves slowly over land.

Great Plains

grassland region of North America, between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River.


activity that produces goods and services.


body of water surrounded by land.


landmass that forms as tectonic plates interact with each other.

mountain range

series or chain of mountains that are close together.


area at the bottom of a mountain.

piedmont glacier

mass of ice moving slowly over land at the bottom of a mountain.

piedmont lake

body of freshwater at the bottom of a mountain.


to put an object between two other objects.