Conservation Atlas Spotlight – Lehigh Valley South Mountain

Pennsylvania Highlands Conservation Atlas Story Map Spotlight – Lehigh Valley South Mountain.

To access the full Lehigh Valley South Mountain Story Map, click HERE.

The AMC Mid-Atlantic office has updated and expanded the 2006 Highlands Conservation Atlas into 12 interactive Story Maps which include updated conserved lands, conservation areas, and historic and recreational resources, such as the PA Highlands Trail.

This atlas was developed to build awareness about the importance of the Pennsylvania Highlands region by portraying the special places and resources found there. It is a call for action to help protect this incredible and threatened region.

Conservation Area: Lehigh Valley South Mountain

Lehigh Valley South Mountain Conservation Area within the PA Highlands
Lehigh Valley South Mountain Conservation Area within the PA Highlands

The rocky, wooded hillsides which dominate the natural landscape of southeast Lehigh County are the focus for the second installment of our PA Highlands conservation atlas spotlight.

Natural Resources: The Lehigh Valley South Mountain region contains several waterways which flow into the Lehigh River, such as Saucon Creek, Trout Creek, and Black River.

This conservation area is home to a state significant area, identified by the Natural Heritage Inventory of Lehigh and Northampton Counties, the Robert Rodale Reserve. This special, forested habitat provides prime conditions for skunk cabbage, forest seep wetland communities, and populations of three plant Species of Special Concern by the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program.

Finally, there’s yet another special treasure found in this landscape, Bauer Rock. This Pennsylvania Heritage Geological Site consists of a mass of gneiss, standing over 40 feet above the ridgeline and provides visitors with a panoramic view of Saucon Valley below.

Historical/Cultural Resources: Historically, the Lehigh Valley South Mountain region supported an agricultural way of life, later turning to the mining of iron ore in 1809. Pennsylvania actually led all states in the production of iron ore, with Lehigh County leading the state.

Recreational Resources: Today, 300 years after the first European settlement, the Lehigh Valley South Mountain still plays a major role in the lives of those who live here. This conservation area of the Pennsylvania Highlands is full of dramatic geology, flora and fauna, and life-sustaining waters – all of which provide immense value for its biodiversity and recreational opportunities.

Some popular ways to recreate in the Lehigh Valley South Mountain include fishing, paddling, boating, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and more.

Interactive Map:  Follow this link to explore the Lehigh Valley South Mountain conservation area through an interactive map that shows climbing sites, critical treasures, fishing and boating access, park and recreation areas, cultural resources, Audubon Important Bird Areas, and more! Lehigh Valley South Mountain (

Local Organizations: Be sure to check out some local organizations who work in Lehigh Valley South Mountain!

Lehigh Valley Planning Commission 

Northampton County Conservation District 

Watershed Coalition of the Lehigh Valley 

Wildlands Conservancy