South Mountain (Maryland and Pennsylvania)

South Mountain (Maryland and Pennsylvania)

Infobox Mountain
Name=South Mountain
Caption=Oblique air photo of South Mountain in Maryland, looking north. I-70 is in the foreground with Greenbrier Lake, and some of the prominent cliffs along the crest are visible.
Elevation=2150ft. (655m.)
Location=Maryland & Pennsylvania, USA
Range = Blue Ridge Mountains of the Appalachian Mountain Range
Prominence =
Coordinates =

First ascent= | Easiest route= road

South Mountain is a long mountain ridge in Maryland and Pennsylvania which comprises a northern extension of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The mountain begins near Knoxville, Maryland on the Potomac River and extends north, then northeast into Pennsylvania, ending near the town of Dillsburg, for a total length of approximately 70 miles. The elevation of the ridgetop varies from 1,100 to 2,100 feet above sea level. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail traverses the entire length of the mountain's crest.


South Mountain begins at the Potomac River as a low, narrow ridge, barely one mile wide and only 1,200 feet above sea level at its crest. Beyond the Potomac River in Virginia, the ridge continues as Short Hill Mountain for about 12 miles before subsiding near the town of Hillsboro, Virginia. 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. Quirauk Mountain, the highest point on South Mountain at 2,150 feet above sea level, is found in this part of northern Maryland. North of U.S. Route 30 in Pennsylvania, the South Mountain highlands reach their greatest width, over 12 miles, and several more summits top 2,000 feet. 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


From south to north:
*Lambs Knoll, 1,758 feet (536 meters) above sea level
*Monument Knob, 1,540 ft (470 m)
*Pine Knob, 1,714 ft (522 m)
*Quirauk Mountain, 2,150 ft (655 m) - highest point on South Mountain in Maryland


From south to north, then east:
*Mount Dunlop, 1,720 ft (524 m)
*Monterey Peak, 1,663 ft (507 m)
*Wildcat Rocks, 1,772 ft (540 m)
*Virginia Rock, 1,818 ft (554 m)
*Buzzard Peak/Chimney Rocks, 1,946 ft (593 m)
*Snowy Mountain, 2,090 ft (637 m)
*Green Ridge, 1,980 ft (604 m)
*Mount Newman, 1,784 ft (544 m)
*Piney Mountain, 1,904 ft (580 m)
*Big Pine Flat Ridge, 2,100 ft (640 m) - highest point on South Mountain in Pennsylvania
*Big Flat Ridge, 2,065 ft (629 m)
*East Big Flat Ridge, 2,070 ft (631 m)
*Mount Holly, 1,504 ft (458 m)
*Long Mountain, 1,583 ft (483 m)
*Center Point Knob, 1,075 ft (328 m)
*White Rocks, 1,105 ft (337 m) [U.S. Geological Survey 7½ topographic maps]



From south to north:
*Crampton's Gap, 930 ft (283 m), between Burkittsville and Gapland
*Fox Gap, 1,070 ft (326 m), between Middletown and Boonsboro, site of death of Union General Jesse L. Reno and Confederate General Samuel Garland, Jr. during the Battle of South Mountain on September 14, 1862.
*Turner's Gap, 1,071 ft (326 m), between Middleton and Boonsboro, traversed by Alternate U.S. Route 40
*Unnamed gap traversed by Interstate 70 and U.S. Route 40, 1,250 ft (381 m)
*Harman Gap, 1,570 ft (479 m), east of Cavetown


From south to north:
*Community of Blue Ridge Summit, 1,330 ft (405 m), traversed by Pennsylvania Route 16
*Height of land on U.S. Route 30 (Lincoln Highway), 1,380 ft (421 m), between Gettysburg and Chambersburg

tate reservations


From south to north:
*Gathland State Park, Crampton Gap
*Washington Monument State Park, near Boonsboro
*Greenbrier State Park, near Boonsboro


From south to north:
*Michaux State Forest, covering most of the mountain
*Caledonia State Park, east of Fayetteville
*Pine Grove Furnace State Park


The Battle of South Mountain was an 1862 battle in the American Civil War fought near the southern end of the range. In Pennsylvania, South Mountain passes close to the site of the Battle of Gettysburg. Numerous small skirmishes were fought on South Mountain during the Gettysburg Campaign, including a fight at Monterey Gap that delayed Federal pursuit of Robert E. Lee's army as it withdrew from Gettysburg.


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