Pennsylvania Highlands Geology

The Pennsylvania Highlands are the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The irregular ridges and deep valleys of this unique landscape feature common themes that reflect the region’s geology, which in turn has influenced local history and land use.

Two types of rock are common to the erosion resistant, largely forested ridges of the Pennsylvania Highlands: diabase (basalt), and granitic gneiss and quartzite (see map). The diabase areas create natural limitations for agriculture and land development, due to the size and abundance of boulders. As a result these areas feature large contiguous woodlands such as Hopewell Big Woods and Unami Hills.

The high iron content in the gneiss and quartzite rock ridges provided the raw material for the region’s industrial legacy of iron and steel. This legacy is reflected in the names of towns, historic sites and parks found throughout all thirteen counties of the Pennsylvania Highlands region: places such as Durham Furnace, Coventry Forge, Hopewell Furnace, Johanna Furnace, Cornwall Furnace, and Pine Forge Furnace. The unique combination of forests, rocky hills, historic sites, industrial towns, and fertile limestone valleys makes for a compelling story to be told through interpretive signage and online tools, enhancing the experience of trail users.

News

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Lower Saucon Buys Highlands Open Space

Last month, Lower Saucon Township announced the purchase of 35 acres in the Northampton Highlands, part of the federally designated Pennsylvania Highlands. Read More

The Latest Highlands Trail Stewards Projects

November was a busy month for AMC’s all-volunteer trail crew, the Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Stewards, who have been working hard to improve trails in Bucks County.  Read More

Community Open House Addresses Trail Gap

On the evening of Monday, October 16th, members of the Tollgate Landing community met with AMC staff and representatives of Richland and Milford Townships to discuss the potential for a trail connection to a new park and Trumbauersville Elementary School. Read More

AMC Presents Circuit Trails Visual Assessment Pilot Project

On Friday, September 22, 2017 members of the Appalachian Mountain Club staff presented the results of its Circuit Trails Visual Assessment Pilot Project to project stakeholders. Read More