The Allegheny Mountains, also known as the Alleghenies, is a mountain range found within the much larger Appalachian Mountain Range of the eastern United States. The Allegheny Mountains range through central Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and southwestern Virginia. The mountain range is approximately 300-500 miles long, northeast to southwest. At its widest portions, west to east, the mountain range is approximately 100 miles wide.
The Allegheny Mountain range is generally bordered by the Allegheny Plateau to the west, the Susquehanna River Valley to the north, the Great Valley to the east, and New River Valley to the south. The eastern edge of the Alleghenies are known as the "Allegheny Front", an escarpment representing the Eastern Continental Divide through that region of the Appalachians. The highest mountain ridges are found just west of the "Allegheny Front", including three State Highpoints: Spruce Knob (West Virginia), Backbone Mountain (Maryland), and Mount Davis (Pennsylvania). Spruce Knob is also the highest point of the Allegheny Mountain range.
Geology, Flora, Fauna
The Allegheny Mountains are comprised of bedrock formed from sandstone and quartzite. This form of bedrock is very weather resistant, lasting for many years virtually unchanged. This bedrock region is known by geologists as the Silurian Tuscarora Formation.
Forests within the Alleghenies have mixtures of pine, spruce, fir, birch, ash, maple, and oak. Small flora, such as blueberries, heather, laurel, and rhododendron, are also commonly found throughout the mountain range.
Wildlife commonly found within the Alleghenies include black bears, cougars, whitetail deer, bobcats, coyotes, porcupines, skunks, rabbits, bald eagles, wild turkeys, and timber rattlesnakes. Some threatened and/or endangered species are also found within the Alleghenies, including Peregrine falcons and Allegheny woodrats.
All of the state forests within the Allegheny Mountains allow hunting. Be very aware of hunting seasons, typically during autumn and winter months, especially deer hunting seasons. If doing any hiking during hunting seasons, it is highly advised to wear bright colors such as orange blaze. Do not wear dark or camouflaged colors.
Hiking trails within the Alleghenies typically do not require any special permits or regulations.
Recreational UsesCamping and tourism are popular throughout the Allegheny Mountains.
In example, Monongahela National Forest, home of such popular destinations as Spruce Knob and Seneca Rocks, by itself has several million visitors every year. To help accomodate this large influx of visitors, there are over 25 established campgrounds within the Monongahela National Forest alone.
Seneca Rocks provides the perfect setting for avid rock climbers of any experience level.
Multiple caverns are found within the Alleghenies, providing outlets for avid spelunkers.
Hiking trails are found throughout the Alleghenies, including popular trails at the three State Highpoints within the range (Spruce Knob, Backbone Mountain, and Mount Davis). The unfinished Allegheny Trail also provides great scenery and access within the region, mainly West Virginia, starting near the Mason-Dixon Line.