South Mountain (Maryland and Pennsylvania)

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South Mountain
SMtn-air.jpg
Northward view of South Mountain
Highest point
Peak Quirauk Mountain
Elevation 2,150 ft (660 m)
Coordinates 39°41′46″N 77°30′47″W / 39.696°N 77.513°W / 39.696; -77.513
Dimensions
Length 70 mi (110 km)
Width 12 mi (19 km)
Geography
Appalachian map.jpg
Appalachian Mountains
Country  United States
States Maryland and Pennsylvania
Range coordinates 39°43′N 77°29′W / 39.72°N 77.49°W / 39.72; -77.49Coordinates: 39°43′N 77°29′W / 39.72°N 77.49°W / 39.72; -77.49
Parent range Blue Ridge Mountains
Geology
Orogeny Grenville orogeny
Type of rock granite, gneiss and limestone

South Mountain is the northern extension of the Blue Ridge Mountain range in Maryland and Pennsylvania. From the Potomac River near Knoxville, Maryland in the south, to Dillsburg, Pennsylvania in the north, the 70-mile (110 km) long range separates the Hagerstown and Cumberland valleys from the Piedmont regions of the two states. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail follows the crest of the mountain through Maryland and part of its portion in Pennsylvania.

Geography[edit]

South Mountain begins at the Potomac River as a low, narrow ridge, barely one mile wide and only 1,200 feet (370 m) above sea level at its crest. South of the Potomac River in Virginia, the ridge continues as Short Hill Mountain for about 12 miles (19 km) before subsiding near the town of Hillsboro. South Mountain in Maryland gradually grows higher and wider towards the north. Near the Pennsylvania border, the mountain merges with the hills of the parallel Catoctin Mountain range to the east and becomes more like a low mountain range than a single crest. North of U.S. Route 30 in Pennsylvania, the South Mountain highlands reach their greatest width, over 12 miles (19 km), and several summits top 2,000 feet (610 m). The mountain then turns more to the east and becomes a series of small rocky hills between Mount Holly Springs and the northeastern end of the mountain at Dillsburg.

Major summits[edit]

Maryland[edit]

From south to north:

  • Lambs Knoll, 1,758 feet (536 m) above sea level
  • Monument Knob, 1,540 feet (470 m)
  • Bartman Hill, 1,400 feet (430 m)
  • Pine Knob, 1,714 feet (522 m)
  • Buzzard Knob, 1,520 feet (460 m)
  • Quirauk Mountain, 2,150 feet (660 m) - highest point on South Mountain in Maryland

Pennsylvania[edit]

The Washington Monument on one of South Mountain's summits.

From south to north, then east:

  • Mount Dunlop, 1,720 feet (520 m)
  • Monterey Peak, 1,663 feet (507 m)
  • Clermont Crag 1,627 feet (496 m)
  • Wildcat Rocks, 1,772 feet (540 m)
  • Virginia Rock, 1,818 feet (554 m)
  • Buzzard Peak/Chimney Rocks, 1,946 feet (593 m)
  • Snowy Mountain, 2,090 feet (640 m)
  • Green Ridge, 1,980 feet (600 m)
  • Mount Newman, 1,784 feet (544 m)
  • Piney Mountain, 1,904 feet (580 m)
  • Big Pine Flat Ridge, 2,100 feet (640 m) - highest point on South Mountain in Pennsylvania
  • Big Flat Ridge, 2,065 feet (629 m)
  • East Big Flat Ridge, 2,070 feet (630 m)
  • Mount Holly, 1,504 feet (458 m)
  • Long Mountain, 1,583 feet (482 m)
  • Center Point Knob, 1,075 feet (328 m)
  • White Rocks, 1,105 feet (337 m)[1]

Gaps[edit]

Maryland[edit]

From south to north:

Pennsylvania[edit]

From south to north:

State reservations[edit]

Maryland[edit]

From south to north:

Pennsylvania[edit]

From south to north:

Conservation[edit]

In Pennsylvania, the region surrounding is the focus of a Conservation Landscape Initiative, led by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The Initiative is organized as South Mountain Partnership, which involves other organizations, government, business, and community members.

History[edit]

The Battle of South Mountain was fought on the mountain at Crampton's, Fox and Turner's gaps during the Maryland Campaign in 1862. In 1863, military engagements of the Gettysburg Campaign on the mountain range included the Fight at Monterey Pass near the Mason-Dixon Line.

References[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey 7½ topographic maps