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Appalachian Mountains

There are 1870 named mountains in Appalachian Ridges. The highest and the most prominent mountain is Spruce Knob.

The Appalachian Mountains, also referred to as the Appalachians, are the oldest mountain range in North America and extend for almost 2,000 miles from the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador to central Alabama in the United States.

Forming a natural barrier between the eastern Coastal Plain and the Interior Lowlands of North America, the Appalachians played a vital role in the development of the United States. In fact, for a century the Appalachians were a barrier to the westward expansion of the British colonies.

Although today, subranges in the Appalachians rise to relatively uniform heights, before natural erosion, they once reached elevations comparable to the Alps and the Rocky Mountains.

The Appalachians formed roughly 480 million years ago and got their name from the Apalachee, an Indian tribe that inhabited the region.

The precise boundaries of the Appalachians often vary based on cultural and geographical location. Geographically, the range is said to span 16 states: Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

The Appalachians can be divided into three large physiographic regions: northern, central, and southern Appalachia. The range consists of individual mountains that average 3,000 ft in elevation, the highest point being Mount Mitchell in North Carolina’s Black Mountains.

The northern section of the Appalachians extends from Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada to Hudson River in New York. Notable ranges in northern Appalachia include the Shickshocks and Notre Dame ranges, Long Range, White Mountains, Green Mountains, and Berkshire Hills.

The central section of the Appalachians extends from the Hudson Valley to the New River and includes notable subranges like the Catskill Mountains, Blue Ridge range, and the Allegheny Mountains found in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and portions of Ohio.

The Southern region, which extends from the New River to Maine, contains portions of the Alleghenies in West Virginia and Virginia, the Unaka Mountains, and the Cumberland Mountains.

The highest elevations in the Appalachians are found in both the northern and southern divisions. Mount Katahdin in Maine, Mount Washington in New Hampshire, peaks in North Carolina’s Black Mountains, and the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina make up some of the Appalachians tallest peaks and subranges.

The Appalachians span 8 national forests, 6 National Parks, and the iconic Appalachian Trail, a popular thru- hike for ambitious backpackers, traverses 2,200 miles of the range.

Great Smoky Mountains

Major Trails and Hiking Areas

The Pinnacle, Pennsylvania – Located along the Blue Mountain ridgeline, this hike boasts views of picturesque, Pennsylvania farmland. The Pinnacle is the highest local point in the Blue Mountains is said to offer the best views in Pennsylvania.

Clingmans Dome, Tennessee – Standing at 6,660 ft in elevation, Clingmans Dome offers panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Clingman’s Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the highest point in Tennessee, and one of the highest Appalachian Trail viewpoints from Georgia to Maine.

McAfee Knob, Virginia – Located in the Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Mountains, McAfee Knob is known to be one of the most photographed spots along the Appalachian Trail. This iconic protruding ledge is found atop Catawba Mountain at 2,313 feet.

Dragon’s Tooth, Virginia – Considered a part of the ‘Triple Crown’ of Virginia hiking, along with McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs, Dragon’s Tooth sits atop Cove Mountain. The mountain itself is home to various rock formations, but Dragon’s Tooth is an incredible 35-foot spire that towers above the surrounding rock.

Mount Moosilauke, New Hampshire – Located at elevation 4,816 feet, Mount Moosilauke is located at the southwestern end of the White Mountains. The highlight of hiking Mount Moosilauke is its 360-degree views of the surrounding New England landscape.From the treeless summit, hikers will appreciate views of Kinsmans, the Presidential Range, Franconia Ridge, the White Mountains, portions of the Green Mountains, and the Adirondacks.

Killington Peak, VermontKillington Peak is the second highest summit in the Green Mountains and is a popular hiking area and ski area. A gondola transports skiers and other non-hikers to the Killington Ski Resort, nicknamed “the beast of the east,” that sits on the mountain. A portion of the Appalachian Trail also spans Killington Peak.

Springer Mountain, Georgia – Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Springer Mountain sits at 3,776 feet and serves as the southern terminus for the Appalachian Trail. There are several trails leading to the top of Springer Mountain offering various lengths and difficulties. Springer Mountain is considered one of Georgia’s most popular hiking destinations.

Mt. Katahdin, Maine – The highest mountain in the state of Maine, Mt. Katahdin is the beginning of the Appalachian Trail for southbound hikers. Mt. Katahdin is a mile above sea level and requires some boulder scrambling to reach the top. The most intimidating feature of Katahdin is the Knife Edge, a notorious jagged arete that is only a few feet wide and a memorable trek from South Peak to Pamola Peak.

The Presidential Range, New Hampshire – Home to the highest mountains in the Northeast, the Presidential Range is a subrange of the White Mountains. Ambitious hikers generally hike the range from North to South starting with Mt. Madison and continuing on to Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Clay, Mt. Washington, Mt. Monroe, Mt. Franklin, Mt. Eisenhower, Mt. Pierce, and Mt. Jackson. This hike can be done in a day or spread out over the course of several days.

Major Cities and Resorts

Stowe, Vermont

A quintessential Vermont ski town, Stowe is often referred to as “Vermont in its purest form.” Stowe is a small town nestled at the foot of Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont. Stowe Mountain Resort is an internationally renowned four-season resort and destination for travelers looking to ski, snowboard, rock climb, hike, or backpack.

Primland, Virginia

The ultimate luxury mountain getaway, Primland is a world-renowned, eco-friendly resort tucked within Virginia’s Blue Mountains. Their aim is to minimize the impact on nature and allow guests to spend their days hiking and exploring the surrounding landscape. It’s been featured on “Worlds Best” lists for several consecutive years.

Skyland on Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park

At 3,680 feet, the historic Skyland provides food and lodging at the top of the iconic Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. Skyland offers breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley, various hiking trails, and other outdoor recreation opportunities. Lodging ranges from small, rustic cabins to newly renovated premium suites.

Damascus, Virginia

Damascus offers immediate access to high-profile hiking trails like the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Creeper Trail, as well as nearby Mount Rogers Recreation Area. Every May, a three-day festival, Trail Days, comes to the city of Damascus to celebrate hiking and the outdoors with workshops, art, and live music.

Charlottesville, Virginia

Within close proximity of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Charlottesville is a great destination for adventurers and travelers looking to spend time in Shenandoah National Park and is known for its historical hike meetups and outdoor recreation opportunities.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Sitting at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Chattanooga’s location on the Cumberland Plateau makes it a top destination for hikers and climbers from around the globe. Chattanooga is surrounded by mountains and ridges, earning it the nickname “Scenic City.”