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Facts About the Appalachian Mountains


The Appalachian Mountains are a popular tourist location for everyone whom “mountains are calling.” There have been many stories and tales associated with the mountains because of the culture in the region, which seems like a mix of many. While the mountains are fascinating, have you considered what makes them what they are today? This article brings you interesting facts about the Appalachian Mountains. Some will blow your mind, and others will help you understand their history.

So, let’s dive into all these cool, fun facts about the Appalachian Mountains.  

Where are the Appalachian Mountains?

The Appalachian Mountains are on the Eastern side of the USA, running from North to South, up to Appalachian Canada. They also touch other states like Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky. They are among the oldest mountain ranges, formed around 480 million years ago.

Which States are in the Appalachian Mountains?

Now that you know where the Appalachian Mountains are located, you also understand that they cover a massive area. Thus, the mountains are in numerous states, including Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Washington D.C., Maine, and Vermont.

History of the Appalachian Mountains

The Appalachian Mountains have a rich history and blend of different cultures, making people wonder about the history of the Appalachian Mountains.

Around 16,000 years ago, the Appalachian Mountains welcomed Native Indians. The Cherokee, Iroquois, Shawnee, and Powhatan tribes were the most prominent in the region during the European Civilization. The Cherokee settlements in the southern area later became the main route for European immigrants. Daniel Boone became a famous figure in Appalachian history in 1885 when he established a route to the west, helping the colonies expand.

While the settlers were hard-working and displayed incredible persistence, stereotypes began forming around the Appalachian Mountain locals in the late 1800s and early 1900s.


Fun Facts about the Appalachian Mountains

The Name Comes from a Tribe

The Appalachian region and the Appalachian Mountains got their name from “Apalachee,” an Indian tribe that lived in the region.

One of the Three Major US Mountain Ranges

The Appalachian Mountains range is one of the only three major ranges in the US. The other two are the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains.

From US to Canada

The Appalachian Mountains cover an area of 2,200 miles from Alabama in the United States of America to Newfoundland, Canada, spread across 14 states.

Home to 25 Million People

Appalachia is home to 25 million people in 420 counties over 205,000 square miles.

Shortest Mountains

While the Appalachian Mountains are among the three most notable mountain ranges in the US, they are shorter than the other two. Studies show a decrease in the size of these peaks due to erosion. They are less than half of the other two ranges in magnitude.

Broken and Reformed

Geography enthusiasts often wonder how were the Appalachian Mountains formed. Did you know that the original mountains disappeared during Pangaea and eventually became flat in the Mesozoic Era? Volcanic-tectonic activity during the Cenozoic era formed the Appalachian Mountains around 65 million years ago.

Over a Billion Years Old

Despite their erosion and redevelopment in the past, some parts of the Appalachian Mountains are over 1.2 billion years old and have managed to stay strong.

Three Major Regions

The Appalachian Mountains are categorized into three main sections: Southern, Northern, and Central. The Southern and Central Mountains are the most well-known parts of the range. They’re spread around the New River and the Hudson Valley.


Appalachian Mountains Central Region

The central region of the mountains starts from the Hudson Valley and includes most of the Blue Ridge. Furthermore, the New York-New Jersey Highlands and Taconic Mountains are also a part of it.

Appalachian Mountains Southern Region

The Southern Region runs from the New River through North Carolina to West Virginia. It further moves to the Easters, Western Blue Ridge, Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, and Cumberland Plateau.

Appalachian Mountains Northern Region

The mountains’ northern region is in the Canadian part of the range from Newfoundland and Labrador, where it meets the Hudson River.

Highest Peak: Mt. Michael

If you wonder how tall are the Appalachian Mountains, Mt. Michael is the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains, reaching 6,684 feet above sea level. It is located in North Carolina.

Oldest Rivers

The New River, the Susquehanna River, and the French Broad River in the Appalachian Mountains are among the oldest rivers in the world, estimated to be around 300 million years old.

Temperate Climate

The Appalachian Mountains have a temperate climate with all seasons and annual rainfall. Usually, the mountains have humid and pleasant weather. So, they have a massive biodiversity of animals and plants.

Exquisite Animals and Birds

The Appalachian Mountains are home to bobcats, opossums, beavers, foxes, coyotes, and large mammals like elk, black bears, and white-tail deer. Furthermore, you will also come across birds such as peregrine falcons, ruffed grouse, wood ducks, mourning doves, and wild turkeys roaming around.

Five Squirrel Species

The Appalachian forests are home to five species of tree squirrels, including the Northern flying squirrel, Southern flying squirrel, Eastern gray squirrel, fox squirrel, and red squirrel.



You might be surprised that salamanders are common in the Appalachian Mountains, giving it the title of the Salamander Capital of the World.

Appalachiosaurus: the Appalachian Mountain Dinosaur

David King, an Auburn University scientist, discovered Appalachiosaurus in 1982. The dinosaur lived through the Late Cretaceous era and is found at McWane Science Center in Birmingham, Alabama.

National Parks

The Appalachian Mountains have 6 national parks, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway. They are the two most visited national parks in the US, welcoming 14 million and 16 million visitors annually.

Canopy Forests

The Appalachian region has a vast range of oak, maple, birch, ash, and other similar trees. Moreover, they also have white pine, balsam fir, and red spruce species.

Fertile Soil

Studies show that the Appalachian Valley soil is (among the) most fertile soils in the US.

Mineral Paradise

The Appalachian Mountains are rich in zinc and iron. They are also plentiful in petroleum, gas, and coal. Petroleum was found here in 1859.

Afro-Caribbean Influence

Besides Germans, the Appalachian mountains’ history also shows Africans’ movement into the region. Many common African crops in the area include sorghum, peanuts, sweet potatoes, okra, etc.

German Culture

You might observe German culture, like sauerkraut and apple butter, in the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania. It is attributed to German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and Virginia.


Fiddle and Banjo

Africans brought Banjo, whereas Scottish and Irish immigrants added Fiddle to Pennsylvania’s music landscape and traditional dancing.

Longest Trail

Extending from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, the Appalachian Trail is the longest in the US. Despite being the longest trail in the world, more than 10,000 people have successfully hiked the Appalachian Trail.


Mount Washington in the Appalachian Mountain range experiences strong hurricanes throughout the year.

Volcanic Eruptions Led to the Ice Age

Some of the Appalachian Mountains resulted from volcanic eruptions around 460 million years ago. The Earth experienced an ice age 15 million years after the eruptions.

Ouachita Mountains Separated

The Ouachita Mountains in Oklahoma and Arkansas were a part of the Appalachian range, but later geological activity separated them.

Adirondack Mountains

Opposed to common perception, the Adirondack Mountains in New York are not part of the Appalachians. They are independent and do not belong to the Appalachian Mountains.

Popular for Recreational Sports

You might be surprised that the Appalachian Mountains are a favorite for snow sports during winter. Visitors enjoy ice skating, snowmobiles, skiing, and ski lifts, taking them to over 100 snow slopes. On the other hand, the summer season is popular among hikers and campers who enjoy the region’s serenity, rafting, and delicious seafood.

Hikers’ Favorite

The Appalachian Mountains are a favorite among hikers because of the pleasant weather and the Appalachian trail. Most hikers prefer the track and love to go trekking in the ranges.

Big Walker Mountain Tunnel

The Big Walker Mountain Tunnel is a vehicle tunnel in the Appalachian Mountains in Southwest Virginia. The tunnel opened in 1972 after five years of construction.

Brown Mountain Lights

Brown mountain lights have occurred in the Pisgah National Forest along the Brown Mountain in North Carolina. However, they have not been seen in the past century.

Coal Mining

The Appalachian Mountains have rich coal reserves that have deteriorated since miners started drilling the mountains and blowing off the tops to get the resources within. However, the 2010 Environmental Protection Agency guidelines pressured mining companies to stop the practice and reduce damage.

Cool Facts about the Appalachian Mountains Trail

The Appalachian Trail starts in Georgia and ends in Maine. It is the longest trail in the US, attracting thousands of visitors and hikers every year. Besides important facts about the Appalachian Mountains, we have also put together some interesting facts about the trail:

  • The Appalachian Trail runs through Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.
  • The trail was proposed in 1921 and finished in 1937.
  • The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the National Park Service, and the US Forestry Service collectively maintain the trail.
  • It takes over 5 million steps to walk the trail end-to-end.
  • Virginia has the largest part of the trail, while the smallest chunk is in Maryland.
  • The trail runs through six national parks and eight national forests.
  • The Appalachian Trail includes over 500,000 feet of vertical gain.
  • The first woman to hike the Appalachian Trail was 67 Years old and completed a solo hike in 1955. She said, “If those men can do it, I can do it.”
  • The oldest person to hike the trail is 83-year-old Nimblewill Nomad.
  • Many 5-year-olds have completed the hike with their parents, whereas the youngest child was one year old and was carried by her parents.

Scary Stories about the Appalachian Mountains

Apart from the stereotypes regarding people living in the Appalachian Mountains, there have been various scary stories about the Appalachian Mountains.

Legends say the trail is home to strange human-looking creatures who escaped an underground research facility. Despite their similarity in looks, they are different from humans and are found in the hidden tunnels.

Other scary stories about the Appalachian Mountains mention the Bell Witch, which originated from the Adams family in Tennessee. They moved to their new house in the early 19th century and started hearing strange noises. The witch continued haunting the family and was present in the region until the 20th century. There is no exact news about the Bell Witch now, but it might still be there.

You might also hear about the Brown Mountain Lights, commonly called ghost lights. Stories mention that these lights represent ghosts of Native American women looking for their loved ones. At the same time, some say they are the torch of a slave who is finding his forest master.


Quotes about the Appalachian Mountains

  • “I am not only from Appalachia; I am of Appalachia.” – Linda Scott Derosier
  • “In Appalachia, everyone has a fierce granny story.” – Anthony Harkins
  • “Some people want to call me an Appalachian writer, even though I know some people use regional labels to belittle.” – Robert Morgan
  • “Appalachia was Appalachia, regardless of boundaries someone had set an eternity ago. A land of breathtaking beauty, of steep hills and rolling mountains.” – John Grisham
  • “I’ve never set out consciously to write American music. I don’t know what that would be unless the obvious Appalachian folk references.” – Carlisle Floyd
  • “I think, being from east Tennessee, you’re kinda born with a little lonesome in your soul, in your blood. You know you’ve got that Appalachian soul.” – Ashley Monroe
  • “The Appalachian Regional Commission is a key funding tool for addressing the unique challenges facing our Appalachian region.” – Ralph Northam

The Bottom Line

The Appalachian Mountains have always been interesting and mysterious to many. People interested in geography, history, and traveling have always wondered, “Where are the Appalachian Mountains located,” “How tall are the Appalachian Mountains,” “Which states are in the Appalachian Mountains,” etc. This article brought interesting historical facts about the Appalachian Mountains to help you understand this majestic mountain range. Also, we hope you enjoyed cool facts about the trail and scary stories about the Appalachian Mountains.


What is special about the Appalachian Mountains?

The Appalachian Mountains are over 1.2 billion years old and one of the oldest mountains in the US. They have deteriorated over time, and are no longer among the tallest peaks. Yet, the mountains have a rich history and cultural significance for the locals. Also, there are numerous scary stories about the Appalachian mountains, making them interesting.

Are the smoky mountains part of the Appalachian mountains?

Along the Tennessee–North Carolina border, the Smoky Mountains are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains. They have a characteristic blue mist above the peaks of the mountains.

How tall are the Appalachian Mountains?

The tallest peak in the Appalachian Mountains is Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina at a height of 2,037m or 6,684 feet on the East of the Mississippi River.

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