Northern Virginia Blue Ridge

Range TypeGeographically-defined sub-range
Highest PointHigh Knob (2388 ft/728 m)
CountriesUnited States
States/ProvincesVirginia (88%), West Virginia (11%)
(numbers are approximate percentage of range area)
Area2,937 sq mi / 7,607 sq km
Area may include lowland areas
Extent95 mi / 152 km North-South
66 mi / 106 km East-West
Center Lat/Long38° 56' N; 77° 39' W
Map LinkMicrosoft Bing Map

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The Blue Ridge from the Potomac River at scenic and historic Harpers Ferry, WV south to Chester Gap near Front Royal, VA is a single, sharp, ridge, still relatively low but slightly higher than the Blue Ridge or South Mountain north of the Potomac. It starts out by rising to about 1100 feet directly up out of the Potomac, curiously lower than parallel Short Hill Mountain (1484') just to the east. Short Hill Mountain soon dies down into insignificance, though, while the Blue Ridge continues south, gaining height gradually and letting no streams across its crest, despite several wind gaps where highways such as I-66 cross. South of Ashby Gap the Blue Ridge reaches 2000 feet, and south of Manassas Gap (950') (where I-66 crosses) High Knob (2388') is the highest point on the whole Blue Ridge north of Shenandoah National Park. The Appalachian Trail follows the backbone of this ridge at first, but for a long stretch where the ridge is known as Mount Weather it sadly contours along the low western slopes.

For its first 15 miles, this low and (let's face it) somewhat uninteresting 40-mile crest marks the Virginia-West Virginia border. Despite John Denver's song "County Roads", in which he sings "Almost Heaven/West Virginia/Blue Ridge Mountains/Shenandoah River", this insignificant chunk of the massive Blue Ridge is all West Virginia can claim. The Shenandoah River and its namesake valley, paralelling the ridge to the west, is also in West Virginia for only 15 miles. Strangely, though, the Appalachian Trail Conference is headquartered in Harpers Ferry, WV. This means that the umbrella organization for all hiking clubs that maintain the 2,000 mile long Appalachian Trail is in the state with by far the least amount of A.T. mileage, 15 measly miles that are shared with neighboring Virginia.

Map of Northern Virginia Blue Ridge
Click on red triangle icons for links to other ranges.

Note: Range borders shown on map are an approximation and are not authoritative.
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Other Ranges: To go to pages for other ranges either click on the map above, or on range names in the hierarchy snapshot below, which show the parent, siblings, and children of the Northern Virginia Blue Ridge.
Northern Blue RidgeLevel 4 (Parent)
         South Mountain-CatoctinLevel 5 (Sibling)
         Northern Virginia Blue RidgeLevel 5
         Shenandoah-North SectionLevel 5 (Sibling)
         Shenandoah-Middle SectionLevel 5 (Sibling)
         Shenandoah-South SectionLevel 5 (Sibling)
         South Central Virginia Blue RidgeLevel 5 (Sibling)
         Peaks of Otter-Apple Orchard AreaLevel 5 (Sibling)

Major Peaks of the Northern Virginia Blue Ridge

Ten Highest Peaks
RankPeak NameftmRange6
1.High Knob2388728 
2.Blue Mountain2205672 
3.Blue Ridge - Loudoun County High Point1920+585+ 
4.Blue Ridge - Wilson Gap South1713522 
5.Blue Ridge - Wilson Gap North1682513 
6.Manassas Gap-Piedmont1520+463+ 
7.Raven Rocks1454443 
8.Short Hill Mountain1440+439+ 
9.Piney Ridge1371418 
10.Signal Mountain1369417 
Sub-peaks are excluded from this list. List may not be complete, since only summits in the PBC Database are included.

Photos of Peaks in the Northern Virginia Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge - Paris Benchmark
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Paris Reset (2015-05-04). Photo by Jean André Laverdure.
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Neersville Benchmark
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Located just off the trail, on one of the rocks along the top of the ridge line. (2015-05-24). Photo by Jared Evans.
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Loudoun Heights
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Although it is well below the summit, this is the view from Maryland Heights that most people come for. The Shenandoah meeting the Potomac, Harper's Ferry and Loudoun Heights on the left side of the photograph (2015-06-09). Photo by Jared Evans.
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Stafford County High Point
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survey marker about 450ft away from Stafford County high point at the VA617 and "1FA' intersection (2022-07-24). Photo by Steven Fishback.
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