*THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS*

Van Coleman

Ashland, United States

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THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS
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The Blue Ridge Mountains are a part of the larger Appalachian Mountains range in the United States. The mountains consist of northern and southern regions, which divide near the Roanoke River gap. The mountain range is located in the eastern US, starting at its southern-most portion in Georgia, then ending northward in Pennsylvania.
To the west of the Blue Ridge, between it and the bulk of the Appalachians, lies the Great Appalachian Valley, bordered on the west by the Ridge and Valley province of the Appalachian range.

The Blue Ridge contains the highest mountains in eastern North America. About 125 peaks exceed 5,000 feet in elevation. The highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains and in the entire Appalachian chain is Mount Mitchell in North Carolina at a whopping 6,684 feet!

The Blue Ridge Mountains are noted for their bluish color when seen from a distance. Trees put the “blue” in Blue Ridge, from the isoprene released into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the characteristic haze on the mountains and their distinctive color.

Within the Blue Ridge region are two major national parks: the Shenandoah National Park in the northern section and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the southern section. The Blue Ridge also contains the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile long scenic highway that connects the two parks and is located along the ridge crestlines along the Appalachian Trail.

Although the term “Blue Ridge” is sometimes applied exclusively to the eastern edge or front range of the Appalachian Mountains, the geological definition of the Blue Ridge province extends westward to the Ridge and Valley area, encompassing the Great Smoky Mountains, the Great Balsams, the Roans, the Brushy Mountains (a “spur” of the Blue Ridge) and other mountain ranges.

At the foot of the Blue Ridge, various tribes including the Sioux Manahoac Indians, the Iroquois, and the Shawnee hunted and fished. As more settlers moved into Virginia, economics and competition pushed the native inhabitants west.

The English who settled Virginia in the early 1600s recorded that the native Powhatan name for the Blue Ridge was "Quirank.

Within the Blue Ridge Mountains lies the famous Shenandoah Valley, which features picture-postcard farms and fabulous inns along country roads! While there you will encounter the popular Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway, probably the most beautiful parkway in the nation! One of the natural wonders of this world is the 100-million-year-old Natural Bridge you will definitely want to visit! Be sure to tour the region’s many caverns, which include Luray, with the only stalacpipe organ, and Shenandoah, with an elevator to take you underground! If you’re interested in the great outdoors, you’ll love the hiking trails, paddle sports and horseback riding in the Blue Ridge Mountains, too!

Three popular resorts are in the Shenandoah Valley located in the Blue Ridge Mountains: Bryce, Homestead and Massanutten, which offer year-around activities. For a picturesque and breath-taking view, don’t forget to travel along the beautiful Skyline Drive, which overlooks the majestic mountain range below. Shenandoah National Park also has its’ portion of the Appalachian Trail and two resorts, too!

For more information with a complete list of all the mountains that are located within the mountain range, go to BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS

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