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.

Although the geology of the Highlands is complex, two types of rock are common to the erosion resistant, largely forested ridges: diabase (basalt), and granitic gneiss and quartzite. The diabase areas in particular have created natural limitations for agriculture and land development. As a result these areas feature large contiguous woodlands such as Hopewell Big Woods and Unami Hills.

The high iron content found 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.

Geology
Geology
Geology
Geology
Geology
Geology

News

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Congress Proposes Legislation to Reauthorize Highlands Conservation Act

Federal support is key to the success of land conservation efforts. Legislation like the Highlands Conservation Act, originally passed in 2004, has been instrumental in preserving valuable resources throughout the Highlands region. While the original authorization has lapsed, efforts are underway in Congress to reauthorize this important program. Read More

PennDOT Provides Passage for PHTN in Upper Salford

At a recent meeting in Upper Salford Township, representatives from PennDOT and engineers from McCormick Taylor provided details about how the Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Network (PHTN) will pass under Route 63 (Sumneytown Pike) in Upper Salford Township. Read More

New Kiosk Installed Along PHTN in Quakertown

AMC, Quakertown Alive! and Quakertown Borough team to provide a new interpretive kiosk along the PHTN in Quakertown. Read More

New Park Construction to Begin Near DCNR Trail Gap

Construction of a new community park is set to begin this summer in Richland Township, Bucks County. Read More