Maryland Manual On-Line -




Over 60 mountain ranges and hills adorn Maryland. In sharp contrast to the regions surrounding the Chesapeake Bay, which rest at and below sea level, these mountains rise thousands of feet above. Located in its western counties, the mountains of Maryland add to the geologic, geographic and historic diversity of the State.


The mountainous region of western Maryland is composed largely of folded layers of sandstone, limestone, and other sedimentary rocks. It is divided into three geologic regions: the Appalachian Plateaus Province; the Ridge and Valley Province; and the Blue Ridge Province.

The Appalachian Plateaus Province tends to be composed by layers of sedimentary rock, and contains deposits of coal. This region, comprised of Garrett and part of Allegany counties, contains most of the highest peaks in the state. These western mountains tend towards coniferous forest coverage, and even contain a number of small peat bogs in the higher altitudes. Although more common to Canada, and more northern latitudes, some bogs are found upon Maryland slopes due to elevation, and the cooler climate. The most notable is the Cranesville Swamp Preserve in western Garrett County. The bog is found at 2,547 feet above sea level. Also within the Appalachian Plateaus Province lies Hoye-Crest of Backbone Mountain, the highest elevation in the State, at 3,360 feet above sea level. Backbone Mountain holds Maryland’s largest surviving remnant of old-growth forest at Potomac State Forest along Crabtree Creek.

Though it contains fewer of the highest peaks, the Ridge and Valley Province still contains many heights more than one thousand feet above sea level. Made up of Washington County and part of Allegany County, the Province’s highest point is Warrior Mountain, which climbs to 2,185 feet above sea level. Limestone outcroppings and shale are common throughout this region. This province is also the location of one of the most notable rock exposures in the State. With construction completed in 1968, the Sideling Hill Road Cut offers a cross section of Sideling Hill, exposing strata layering in sharp definition.

The smallest of the geologic provinces, the Blue Ridge Province is made up of the western third of Frederick County, and a very narrow corridor along Washington County’s eastern border. The tallest peak in the Blue Ridge Province is Quirauk Mountain. Quartzites and metamorphic rocks are found in this region, as are the common sedimentary components common to Maryland.


Located along the western boundaries of the early colonies, many of the State’s mountains and hills are named after explorers, settlers, or surveyors. As people moved west, the geography frequently was named after the first to arrive there, or the one who left the biggest mark. Dans Mountain in Allegany County was named after Daniel Cresap, one of the early settlers in the area, while Savage Mountain honors John Savage, an eighteenth-century surveyor.

The mountains of Maryland captured the nations attention in September 1862, when Confederate forces crossed the Potomac into western Maryland. The first clash between Union and Confederate forces north of the Potomac occurred at Sugarloaf Mountain, in Frederick County, when elements of the U.S. Signal Corps. encountered a cavalry brigade under Gen. Wade Hampton of South Carolina on September 6, 1862.

A week later, on September 14, Union and Confederate forces clashed at South Mountain in Washington County. Confederate General Lee had divided his forces to seize objectives, including resources at Hagerstown and Frederick. In an effort to stall the approaching Union army, the Confederates blockaded the passes at South Mountain long enough for Lee to consolidate his force. In this, the Confederate Army was successful, and McClellan’s Army of the Potomac encountered the combined Army of Northern Virginia three days later, at Antietam Creek.

In the twentieth century, Catoctin Mountain in Frederick County was chosen by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to be the site of a presidential retreat. Construction of the complex began in 1935, and was named Shangri-La by President Roosevelt when he first used it to escape the heat of Washington, DC, summer in 1942. It retained the name until 1953, when it was renamed Camp David by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to honor his grandson. Still used today, Camp David offers the serving President a natural setting for either rest or conducting duties of Chief Executive.


Maryland mountains listed are those at least 1,000 feet high.

[photo, Hikers in Catoctin Mountain National Park near Thurmont, Frederick County County, Maryland] ALLEGANY COUNTY

  • Breakneck Hill (1,872 ft.)
  • Collier Mountain (1,460 ft.)
  • Dans Mountain (2,898 ft.)
  • Evitts Mountain (1,959-2,260 ft.)
  • Martin Mountain (1,974 ft.)
  • Nicholas Mountain (1,760 ft.)
  • Polish Mountain (1,783 ft.)
  • Ragged Mountain (1,740 ft.)
  • Town Hill (2,039 ft.)
  • Warrior Mountain (2,185 ft.)
  • Wills Mountain (1,960+ ft.)
  • Hiker in Catoctin Mountain National Park near Thurmont, Frederick County, Maryland, April 2004. Photo by Elizabeth W. Newell.

  • Bartman Hill (1,414 ft.)
  • Bob's Hill (1,747 ft.)
  • Carrick Knob (1,629 ft.)
  • Cascade Miller Hill (1,374 ft.)
  • Catoctin Mountain (1,870 ft.)
  • Eagle Mountain (1,680 ft.)
  • High Knob (1,531 ft.)
  • Little Piney Mountain (1,304 ft.)
  • Piney Mountain (1,691 ft.)
  • Round Top Mountain (1,702 ft.)
  • South Mountain (1,772 ft.)
  • Sugar Loaf Mountain (1,282 ft.)
  • Backbone Mountain (3,360 ft.)
  • Big Savage Mountain (2,991 ft.)
  • Blossom Hill (2,620 ft.)
  • Contrary Knob (2,680 ft.)
  • Conway Hill (2,760 ft.)
  • Dung Hill (2,732 ft.)
  • Elbow Mountain (2,694 ft.)
  • Elder Hill (2,826 ft.)
  • Fort Hill (2,600 ft.)
  • George Mountain (3,004 ft.)
  • Lewis Knob (2,960 ft.)
  • Little Mountain (2,920 ft.)
  • Little Savage Mountain (2,817 ft.)
  • Marsh Hill (3,073 ft.)
  • Meadow Mountain (2,959 ft.)
  • Mount Nebo (2,604 ft.)
  • Negro Mountain (3,075 ft.)
  • Pine Hill (2,500 ft.)
  • Rich Hill (2,842 ft.)
  • Ridgley Hill (2,617 ft.)
  • River Hill (2,700 ft.)
  • Roman Nose Mountain (3,140 ft.)
  • Roth Rock Mountain (2,860 ft.)
  • Salt Block Mountain (2,707 ft.)
  • Snaggy Hill (3,040 ft.)
  • Walnut Hill (2,629 ft.)
  • Winding Ridge (2,775 ft.)
  • Whites Knob (2,940 ft.)
  • Zehner Hill (3,000 ft.)
  • Fairview Mountain (1,690 ft.)
  • Hearthstone Mountain (2,021 ft.)
  • Johnson Mountain (1,120 ft.)
  • Powell Mountain (1,548 ft.)
  • Quirauk Mountain (2,140 ft.)
  • Rickard Mountain (1,480 ft.)
  • Roundtop Hill (1,388 ft.)
  • Short Hill (1,080 ft.)
  • Sword Mountain (1,530+ ft.)
  • Sideling Hill (1,760 ft.)
  • South Mountain (1,772 ft.)
  • Maryland Geological Survey
    Maryland Government
    Maryland Constitutional Offices & Agencies
    Maryland Departments
    Maryland Independent Agencies
    Maryland Executive Commissions, Committees, Task Forces, & Advisory Boards
    Maryland Universities & Colleges
    Maryland Counties
    Maryland Municipalities
    Maryland at a Glance

    Maryland Manual On-Line

    Search the Manual

     Maryland Manual On-Line, 2009

    July 1, 2009   
    Note: In this past edition of Maryland Manual, some links are to external sites.  View the current Manual

    The use of any username and password on our site is for personal and educational purposes only, and constitutes agreement to abide by any and all copyright restrictions. In most instances the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

    Tell Us What You Think About the Maryland State Archives Website!

    [ Archives' Home Page  ||  All About Maryland  ||  Maryland Manual On-Line  ||  Reference & Research
    ||  Search the Archives   ||  Education & Outreach  ||  Archives of Maryland Online ]

    Governor     General Assembly    Judiciary     Maryland.Gov

    © Copyright June 10, 2009 Maryland State Archives