Bald Knob (West Virginia)
Bald Knob is the highest summit of Back Allegheny Mountain in Pocahontas County, West Virginia and is part of Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. At an altitude of 4,843 feet above sea level, Bald Knob is the third-highest point in West Virginia and the Allegheny Mountains. Bald Knob's elevation— only 21 feet lower than the highest point in the Alleghenies, Spruce Knob)—gives it a unique hemiboreal ecosystem. While the lower and middle elevations of the mountain are populated by oak, birch and maple, the summit dome was dominated by red spruce. Rowan, eastern hemlock, balsam fir occur above 4,000 feet, though they are not as common as the spruce; the region was extensively logged from 1900 to 1960. Red spruce, being a valuable natural resource, attracted timber companies into the area. By 1940, the mountain had been stripped of nearly all virgin red spruce; the last harvest of red spruce and eastern hemlock on Bald Knob was in 1960. The summit was one of the last places logged by the Mower Lumber Company.
Today, red spruce and other high elevation flora are making a comeback on the mountain. The mountaintop can be reached by hiking but is more reached by riding the Cass Scenic Railroad, which transports visitors via old logging railroads to a 4,730 feet sub-peak 1/4 mile north of Bald Knob. Bald Knob experiences mild summers and cold winters; the summit and west facing slopes of the mountain receive an average of 60 inches of precipitation per year and 180 inches of snowfall. The annual record snowfall is over 300 inches. Temperatures in the area have been known to reach −40 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter conditions can occur anytime from early October through early May. Snowfall has been observed in the higher elevations in every month except July. Federal troops observed snowfall on August 1861 at nearby Fort Milroy; the last freeze occurs in May and the first freeze occurs in September. Current weather conditions for both the summit and base of the mountain at the town of Cass are available below.
While most of Back Allegheny Mountain is owned by Monongahela National Forest, the summit at Bald Knob itself is part of Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. Most visitors to Bald Knob come via train from Cass, but the site is accessible by Forest Road 267B, closed to motorized vehicles most of the year. A two-mile hike from Odey Run can be walked or biked to arrive at Bald Knob. For safety reasons, hiking along the railroad grade itself is not permitted. Bald Knob is one of only four mountain summits in West Virginia that rise above 4,800 feet, the other three being Spruce Knob, Thorny Flat, an unnamed summit near Snowshoe, WV; the south face of Bald Knob is the site of the headwaters of Leatherbark Run, West Virginia's highest stream. Until 2001, Bald Knob was thought to be the second highest point in the state, but a survey conducted by Snowshoe Ski Resort using GPS technology concluded that Thorny Flat, the highpoint of Cheat Mountain five miles south of Bald Knob, was six feet higher. Since at least one other summit on Cheat Mountain has been identified as being a few feet higher than Bald Knob.
Bald Knob is the highest point reached by a standard gauge railroad east of the Mississippi River. Back Allegheny Mountain Cass Scenic Railroad State Park Monongahela National Forest Bald Knob - Cass Scenic Railroad Site Current conditions at Bald Knob 4,842 ft. Current conditions at Cass, WV 2,500 ft
Reddish Knob of Shenandoah Mountain is one of the highest points in Virginia, rising 4,397 feet. A narrow, paved road reaches the summit from Virginia. Reddish Knob is located on the border between Augusta County and Pendleton County, West Virginia, in the George Washington National Forest. Reddish Knob stands within the watershed of the Potomac River; the northwest side of Reddish Knob drains into Stony Run, thence into the South Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River. To the south, Reddish Knob drains into the North Fork of the Little River, thence into the North River, the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, into the Potomac River. To the east, Reddish Knob drains into the Briery Branch of the North River. From Reddish Knob, a scenic gravel road continues south along the ridge crest that forms the boundary between Virginia and West Virginia, passing Shenandoah Mountain Picnic Area in a couple of miles. Further south lies the Ramsey's Draft Wilderness. To the north, a rough road provides access to a number of ridge top balds that have great primitive campsites.
Several developed recreation sites are nearby. Hone Quarry has a picnic area, campground with spaced sites, a small lake; the mountain peak is a popular destination for "day-trippers" for students of the nearby James Madison University, Eastern Mennonite University, Bridgewater College. They enjoy the "parking lot in the sky" as a place to relax and enjoy spectacular 360 degree views year round. Grindstone 100 Miler run entrants summit Reddish Knob; every year the Blue Ridge Running Camp runs up Reddish Knob. The summit is included in the Jeremiah Bishop Alpine Loop Gran Fondo; the loop climbs to Reddish Knob via the "darkside" of Reddish Knob's forest road, routes to the summit descends to Harrisonburg via the paved access road. From the 1920s to 1975, a steel fire tower stood atop Reddish Knob. U. S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Reddish Knob PeakBagger.com: Reddish Knob summitpost.org: Reddish Knob
North Fork Mountain
North Fork Mountain is a quartzite-capped mountain ridge in the Ridge and Valley physiographic province of the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, USA. Kile Knob, at 4,588 feet, is the mountain's highest point, Panther Knob and Pike Knob are nearly as high. North Fork Mountain is the driest high mountain in the Appalachians, has vegetation and flora different from nearby, wetter high mountain areas to the west such as Spruce Knob and Dolly Sods, with pines abundant on the mountain's ridgecrest, in contrast with the spruces so characteristic of these comparably high summits across the North Fork Valley. Structurally, North Fork Mountain is an anticline mountain, a major part of the Wills Mountain Anticline system; the mountain's strata are nearly flat, but the Tuscarora quartzite that forms the mountain's caprock is bent downwards east and west of the ridge, becoming nearly vertical along the mountain's slopes, where the same quartzite stratum forms such dramatic outcrops as Seneca Rocks.
Much of the mountain is within the Monongahela National Forest, a large portion of the mountain has been proposed for federal wilderness designation or inclusion within a new unit of U. S. National Park System; the Nature Conservancy's Panther Knob and Pike Knob preserves are located on North Fork Mountain. The scenic North Fork Mountain Trail follows much of the ridge crest, only one road crosses the steep, rugged ridge. North Fork Mountain runs northeast to southwest for 34 miles throughout Grant and Pendleton Counties in West Virginia, it separates the South Branch of the Potomac River watershed from that of the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River. It forms the western edge of Smoke Hole Canyon, a portion of the South Branch popular with boaters; the north end of the mountain arises abruptly along the south side of North Fork Gap, a water gap along the North Fork river and West Virginia Route 28 near Cabins, west of Petersburg. The mountain continues southwest from there to Dry Run Gap in southern Pendleton County.
North Fork Mountain reaches its highest elevation at Kile Knob. Other notable points along the mountain include Panther Knob at 4,498 feet and Pike Knob, both having nature preserves owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy. Today there are no settlements on the mountain itself — except, Monkeytown on the western slopes. There are however vacation rental cabins on the mountain. Future Generations Graduate School's main campus is located at the top of the ridgeline near U. S. Route 33, the only major road that crosses the mountain. North Fork Mountain is part of the Wills Mountain Anticline, a geological structure that extends from Pennsylvania through Maryland and West Virginia into Virginia; the same geologic ridge that forms North Fork Mountain is known as New Creek Mountain north of North Fork Gap. At North Fork's southern end, the ridge fragments into Devils Backbone, Brushy Mountain, Monterey Mountain, with Snowy Mountain being a minor continuation into Virginia. Tuscarora quartzite, a layer of erosion-resistant Silurian rock only about 50 feet thick, the major ridge-forming stratum in eastern West Virginia, caps most of North Fork Mountain as a broad eastward-tilted slab, forming numerous west-facing cliffs and various larger outcrops such as Chimney Top and Harmon Rocks.
West of the mountain, the same quartzite formation is nearly vertical, along the western limb of the anticline, forming such dramatic outcrops as Seneca Rocks, Champe Rocks, Nelson Rocks, Judy Rocks. This series of vertical outcrops is part of a formation known as the River Knobs or East Seneca Ridge; the lower, western slopes of the mountain and the adjacent Germany Valley are underlain by the eroded Ordovician-aged New Market Limestone and are penetrated by numerous caves, such as the celebrated Hellhole. Shales occur on some of North Fork Mountain's slopes. Scattered family homesteads existed on the east slope of North Fork Mountain throughout the 19th and 20th centuries; these few early settlers were of English, German or Dutch stock and constituted a community known as "Smoke Hole", named for the gorge to the east of the Mountain. None of these smallholders owned slaves, a fact that determined their Unionist sentiments during the American Civil War and brought them into sometimes violent conflict with surrounding communities during that time.
Rohrbaugh Cabin, a log cabin built about 1880, still stands on the eastern slope, among various related structures. The steeper western slopes have, with few exceptions, always been uninhabited. Most of the forests on the North Fork Mountain were cut for timber in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Much of North Fork Mountain has been included in the Monongahela National Forest, established in 1911. Panther Knob, near the south end of North Fork Mountain, was first explored botanically by P. A. Rydberg of the New York Botanical Garden in 1926, he was astonished by the similarity of the mountaintop to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey the presence of the beach heather. However, his findings were doubted until the mountaintop was revised by a group of botanists in the 1950s. Botanist Paul J. Harmon studied the flora of the entire length of North Fork Mountain's ridgetop, presenting his findings in 1981. In the early 20th century, a local "character" and moonshiner — Cal Nelson — lived on the western slopes of the Mountain.
"Nelson Sods" and the "Cal Nelson Trail" (former name of a portion of the North
Laurel Mountain (West Virginia)
Laurel Mountain called Laurel Hill, is a long ridge in north-central West Virginia, US. Along with Rich Mountain to the south, it is considered to be the westernmost ridge of the Allegheny Mountains and the boundary between the Alleghenies and the Allegheny Plateau. Running northeast to southwest through Preston, Tucker and Randolph Counties, the ridge forms portions of the borders between them, it stretches for about 32 miles from the Cheat River in the north to the Tygart Valley River in the south. It achieves its highest elevation at the Eliot Benchmark about 3.5 miles north of Pleasure Valley. The mountain is formed by the same structural fold in the Earth's crust which continues north from Laurel as Briery Mountains and south as Rich Mountain; the mountain is characteristic of the long, folded mountains of the Appalachian Valley and Ridge Region and is located at the western edge of that physiographic province. Laurel Mountain's name was derived from the prolific "great laurel" which the earliest pioneers found there in profusion the late 1700s.
After the June 3, 1861 Battle of Philippi, the Confederate forces, having been routed by the Union Army in Philippi, retreated south. Confederate General Robert S. Garnett moved about 3,500 troops to Laurel Mountain; the Confederates made camp at the foot of the mountain near the Laurel Mountain Road. On July 6, General George B. McClellan ordered General Thomas A. Morris to advance from Philippi to Belington with about 5,000 Union troops. Skirmishing lasted for five days, with the Union routing the Confederate troops. Upon hearing of the simultaneous defeat of forces at Rich Mountain, General Garnett retreated with his troops to Corrick's Ford near Parsons where he soon became the first general officer to be killed in the war; that summer, General Robert E. Lee maneuvered against Brig. Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds at Cheat Mountain and in the Tygart Valley, he called off the attack and withdrew to Valley Head on September 17. In October, he renewed operations against Laurel Mountain with the troops of Floyd and Loring, but operations were called off owing to communication and logistical difficulties.
Lee was recalled to Richmond on October 30 after achieving little in western Virginia and with his reputation diminished. In recent years, production of a "Battle of Laurel Hill Reenactment" has been undertaken at the site of the Laurel Hill Battlefield on its anniversary dates. In 2004, the City of Belington assumed ownership of 50 acres of the old battlefield; the AES Corporation has constructed wind turbines on Laurel Mountain. The wind farm opened in October 2011 with 61 turbines stretched across 12 miles. AES can generate up to 98 megawatts of electricity with this facility. A notable feature of the project is the largest battery installation attached to the power grid in the continental United States; the purpose of the 1.3 million batteries is to tame the wind, but only slightly. AES states the batteries will be a shock absorber of sorts, making variations in wind energy production a little less jagged and the farm’s output more useful to the grid. Cox, Connie Loraine, Our Place In History: Southwestern Preston County, West Virginia, Headline Books, Terra Alta, WV, 2005.
Battle of Laurel Hill Website Harper's Weekly Illustration Laurel Mountain Preservation Association website
Shenandoah Mountain is a mountain ridge 73 miles long in Virginia and West Virginia. The steep, sandstone-capped ridge extends from northern Bath County, Virginia to southern Hardy County, West Virginia. Along the way, its crest defines the borders between Highland and Augusta counties and between Pendleton County, West Virginia, Rockingham County, Virginia; the name comes from the Iroquoian word for'deer'. Located in the Ridge and Valley physiographic province of the Appalachian Mountains, Shenandoah Mountain forms part of the western margin of the Shenandoah Valley, is part of the easternmost Allegheny Mountains, it lies entirely within the George Washington National Forest. U. S. Route 33 crosses the mountain between Franklin, West Virginia, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Shenandoah Mountain's highest peaks are Reddish Knob, Flagpole Knob, Bald Knob. Shenandoah Mountain salamander
Cacapon Mountain runs northwest through Morgan and Hampshire counties in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, rising to its greatest elevation of 2,618 feet above sea-level at High Point. Cacapon Mountain is a folded mountain ridge, belonging to the Appalachian Valley Province. Cacapon Mountain spans 16 miles NNE to the Potomac River near Great Cacapon. From its southern point, Cacapon Mountain rises from the landscape north of Bloomery in northeastern Hampshire County; the mountain's western flank forms a series of steep hollows such as Horsebone Hollow and the hollow that bears Falling Spring Run. Beyond these hollows lies the Cacapon River which parallels the Cacapon Mountain until it joins the Potomac River. Between Bloomery and the Morgan County line, Cacapon Mountain forms the border between Hampshire and Frederick County in Virginia. While in Morgan County, the majority of Cacapon Mountain lies in Cacapon Resort State Park; the mountain forms a series of warm springs that flow from the Devonian Oriskany sandstone along the eastern flank of its anticline such as those at Berkeley Springs.
Cacapon Mountain's northern end is located at the scenic Panorama Overlook off West Virginia Route 9 that overlooks three states and the confluence of the Cacapon and Potomac Rivers. Cacapon Resort State Park Panorama Overlook on the Washington Heritage Trail
River Knobs (West Virginia)
For other "River Knobs", see River Knobs. The River Knobs — known as East Seneca Ridge — are a ridge and series of knobs in western Pendleton County, West Virginia, USA, along a stretch of the North Fork South Branch Potomac River. Although the Knobs are dwarfed by Spruce Mountain to the west and by North Fork Mountain to the east, they are notable for their series of prominent "razorback" ridges or "fins"; the largest and most famous of these blade-like crags is Seneca Rocks. The River Knobs stretch for about 18 miles from near Cherry Grove to near Seneca Rocks and are situated in a southwest/northeast orientation, they are a minor part of the High Alleghenies of the Appalachian Mountain Range. Their rock outcrops are visible from WV 55 and US 33; each is associated with a named gap through which a stream has transected the ridge and exposed the bedrock. From north to south the most prominent features are Roy Gap, Harper Knob, Harper Gap, Harmon Knob, Hinkle Gap, Germany Knob, Riverton Gap, Judy Gap, Nelson Gap, False Gap, Lambert Gap, Pike Gap and Teter Gap.
The Knobs are part of the same structural fold of the earth's crust that continues to the north as Champe Knobs and to the south as River Hill and Lantz Mountain. The exposed rock of the River Knobs is a tough quartzite, Tuscarora Sandstone, an hard sedimentary rock, ranging in color from a nearly translucent white, to gray, pink or orange. Laid down as sediment on a sea floor 440 million years ago, in West Virginia the Tuscarora is 150 to 250 feet thick. At the River Knobs, the quartzite layer has been "verticalized" by geological forces during the formation of the Appalachians some 230 million years ago. A folding of the Earth's crust forced this layer - and the surrounding strata - into enormous arches, miles wide; the River Knobs trace the western wall of this arch, or anticline, where the Tuscarora was turned a full 90 degrees from horizontal to vertical. Over time, erosion stripped away the softer rock covering the arch, the dome of the arch itself; the tough quartzite of the western walls resisted this process, leaving the soaring "fins" - narrow vertical plates of exposed rock.
About 2 miles east, along the top of North Fork Mountain, the horizontal strata of the far slope of the Tuscarora anticline are visible. At Champe Rocks and Nelson Rocks the outcroppings are seen as not one; the reason for this is that, during the rise of the Appalachians, the same forces which formed the anticline caused the Tuscarora to fault or rupture, with the upper layer sliding over and overlapping the lower. As the top of the arch wore away, two fins were left. Nelson Rocks is considered one of the best examples of the "faulted Tuscarora". Seneca Rocks is a much thicker, monolithic formation because there the rock did not fault cleanly into two layers, but rather rolled over on itself. From Roy Gap, looking north, this effect is visible in the curving layers of rock surrounding the large cave in the south end of Seneca Rocks. Nelson Rocks Preserve features a via ferrata, along with a rope bridge, 200 feet long and 150 feet high. "Geology of Nelson Rocks" at the Nelson Rock Preserve website “Folded Sedimentary Rocks” at Burt Carter’s Home Page