The Virginia Mountains

To try and make it easier to navigate the pages I am going to divide the mountains of Virginia into three groups:

  1. The Northern Mountain Region
  2. This group of counties contain the northern Blue Ridge Mountains and the Valley and Ridge Provinces North of Roanoke. The Shenandoah Valley is part of this group.

    The city of Roanoke—where the Roanoke River cuts through the mountains—is the dividing line between two different configurations of the Blue Ridge province. The ridge that runs northeast from Roanoke is rarely more than 14 miles wide, rising sharply from the valley floor, with smaller associated ridges extending from the main one.
    via Sherpa Guides | Virginia | Mountains | The Blue Ridge.

    The Shenandoah Valley begins in the north near Winchester. Its southern boundary is sometimes described as “just south of Lexington.” According to the state’s tourism map, the Shenandoah Valley continues all the way south to Roanoke and Salem and is overlapped by the Roanoke Valley.

    The Shenandoah Valley is clearly defined, however, to the east and west. The ragged peaks of the Allegheny Mountain range lie to the west. Forty miles to the east are the rounded peaks of the old, eroded Blue Ridge range. Both mountain ranges are visible on a drive through the Shenandoah Valley or on a float down one of its rivers.
    via Sherpa Guides | Virginia | Mountains | Valley & Ridge III | Shenandoah Valley.

  3. The Blue Ridge Highlands
  4. This group of counties includes the southern Blue Ridge Mountains and the Valley and Ridge Province south of Roanoke.

    The weathered mountain wall of the Blue Ridge to the east broadens to a plateau in southern Virginia. The Blue Ridge has the state’s oldest rock and highest peaks. Here, billion-year-old granite from basement rock was forced up over much younger rock to the west. As the continents pulled apart, the rift action caused volcanoes to spew forth successive lava flows in both southern and northern sections of the Blue Ridge, covering all but the highest peaks.
    via Sherpa Guides | Virginia | Mountains | The Natural History of the Virginia Mountains.

    The highlands, unlike most of the more sharply defined Blue Ridge province north of Roanoke, were broad enough for entire communities to settle. Examples are the towns of Troutdale and Independence in Grayson County, Fancy Gap in Carroll County, Meadows of Dan in Patrick County, and Floyd in Floyd County. The descendants of tough German and Scots-Irish settlers who scratched out an existence on thin mountain soil still hold to many customs and traditions of their ancestors.

    During the hard work day, they would compose songs in their minds while planting cabbage, digging potatoes, tending cattle, or hanging leaves of Burley tobacco in their barns. Before television, families and neighbors would gather on front porches in the cool of the evening to make music and tell tales. On Saturday nights, they celebrated the week’s work not as couch potatoes, but with exuberance. They’d break out the banjo and fiddle. The entire community would gather at a local barn to clap their hands, stomp their feet, and swing that gal.
    via Sherpa Guides | Virginia | Mountains | The Blue Ridge.

  5. The Heart of the Appalacians
  6. The Appalachian Plateau rises across the state’s extreme southwest corner. Layered sedimentary rock remains for the most part in its original horizontal position. The tough sandstone tabletop has severely eroded over the ages, forming deep, narrow ravines and hollows. The weathering exposes fossils of early marine life in a timeline that goes back through the ages from the top down. Also exposed are seams of coal deposited from the Pennsylvanian Period of the Paleozoic era.
    via Sherpa Guides | Virginia | Mountains | The Natural History of the Virginia Mountains.

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