The alpine consists of wide expanses of open, exposed terrain with few or no trees. Where it exists, it is the highest elevation band of a mountain or range. Not all mountains have alpine terrain, but it may be the dominant terrain in other mountains or ranges, particularly in northern Canada.
Alpine elevations contain the terrain that is usually the most exposed to sun, wind, cold, and precipitation.
The lower extent of the alpine elevation band is highly variable. It transitions to the treeline elevation band where vegetation, especially trees, overcomes the more open and rocky terrain of the alpine.