Blue Mountain (Pennsylvania)

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Blue Mountain[2]
Kittatinny Mountain (and nine others:
  • Blue Hills
  • Kau-ta-tin-chunk
  • Kekaghtenemin Mountain
  • Kightotinning Mountain
  • Kittachtinny Hills
  • Kittatinhy Mountain
  • Kittochtinny Hills
  • Kittochtinny Mountains
  • North Mountain)
Blue Mountain Ridge (Pennsylvania).jpg
The "Great Wall" of Blue Mountain
Highest point
PeakClarks Knob 2,320 feet (710 m)[4]
Elevation1,129 ft (344 m)[2]
Coordinates40°07′28″N 77°39′59″W / 40.12444°N 77.66639°W / 40.12444; -77.66639Coordinates: 40°07′28″N 77°39′59″W / 40.12444°N 77.66639°W / 40.12444; -77.66639
Length150 mi (240 km) northeast-southwest to SSW 150 miles (240 km) (direct aerial)
255 miles (410 km) trace of ridgeline, including loops back[5]
width = varies along chain's length
CountryUnited States
Borders onRidge-and-Valley Appalachians and Great Appalachian Valley
OrogenyAppalachian Mountains
Age of rockSilurian
Type of rockTuscarora Formation and Shawangunk Formation; sedimentary
Physical Geography schematic of Pennsylvania rock records. Notice the dramatic curve of the Allegheny Front.

Blue Mountain, Blue Mountain Ridge, or the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania is a ridge of the Appalachian Mountains in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. Forming the southern and eastern edge of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians physiographic province in Pennsylvania, Blue Mountain extends 150 miles (240 km) from the Delaware Water Gap on the New Jersey border in the east to Big Gap in Franklin County, south-central Pennsylvania, at its southwestern end.

Some distant view of "the Blue Mountain" dominates the southern tier of most eastern and central Pennsylvanian counties, providing an ever-visible backdrop cutting across the northern or western horizon. Most transport corridors and road beds piercing the barrier necessarily pass through either large water gaps (west to east: the Susquehanna, Schuylkill, Lehigh and Delaware River valleys) or wind gaps, low gaps in the ridge caused by ancient watercourses. The barrier ridge forms a distinct boundary between a number of Pennsylvania's geographical and cultural regions.

To the south of the Susquehanna River gap in the south-central part of the state is the Cumberland Valley, part of the Great Appalachian Valley; to its northwest side are the southern reaches of the Susquehanna Valley with picturesque streams channeling travel corridors deep into and over the central and western mountains and valleys—the heartland interior counties of Pennsylvania; along the Main Branch Susquehanna, the valleys also lead into northeast Pennsylvania, into the "Northern Coal Region" of the Wyoming Valley and the distant Poconos. To the south of Blue Mountain lies the "Capital Region" about Harrisburg and nearby communities, the rich farming country of the Lebanon Valley and the Pennsylvania Dutch Country of York and Lancaster counties, the lower half of the Lehigh Valley, and the lower Delaware Valley; the latter two extend north through water gaps beyond the ridgeline.


The ridge of Blue Mountain runs for 150 miles (240 km) through Pennsylvania, reaching an elevation of 2,270 feet (690 m) above sea level just north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, near the borough of Newburg. Most of the ridgecrest, however, only reaches between 1,400 and 1,700 feet (430 and 520 m) in elevation. The mountain's width varies from 1 to 3 miles (1.6 to 4.8 km).

The southwestern end of the mountain is at Big Gap, west of Shippensburg. (The mountain ridge continues to the southwest toward Maryland under the name of "Broad Mountain".) The northeastern end of the mountain is at the Delaware Water Gap on the New Jersey border. Mount Minsi, elevation 1,461 feet (445 m), forms the promontory overlooking the Delaware River. The ridge of Blue Mountain continues northeast into New Jersey as Kittatinny Mountain.[6]

Blue Mountain marks the boundary between the Great Appalachian Valley and the main Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians.

Water gaps[edit]

Four of Pennsylvania's major rivers cut through Blue Mountain in water gaps.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike[edit]

The western portal of the eastbound Blue Mountain Tunnel

The Pennsylvania Turnpike system passes through Blue Mountain at two points.

Blue Mountain attractions in Pennsylvania[edit]

Blue Mountain School District is named after the mountain range. It is located just off Route 61 in Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Blue Ridge Mountain". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2017-03-29. Blue Ridge Mountain 1169893 Summit Wyoming PA 413628N 0760535W 1171 Meshoppen - 02-AUG-1979
  2. ^ a b c "Blue Mountain". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-02-07. 1193708 Name: Blue Mountain 40.1245315 -77.6663793 400728N 0773959W Roxbury
  3. ^ What's in a name, Spanning the Gap newsletter of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Summer 1984
  4. ^ "Clarks Knob". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
  5. ^ Measured along ridge point by point using ruler tool, anchored on New Jersey border, to Maryland border., 29 March 2017.
  6. ^ U.S. Geological Survey 1:24,000-scale and 1:250,000-scale topographic map series

External links[edit]