The Blue Ridge from the Potomac River at scenic and historic Harpers
Ferry, WV south to Chester Gap near Front Royal, VA is a single, sharp, ridge, still relatively low but slightly higher than the Blue Ridge or South Mountain north of the Potomac. It starts out by rising to about 1100 feet directly up out of the Potomac, curiously lower than parallel Short Hill Mountain (1484') just to the east. Short Hill Mountain soon dies down into insignificance, though, while the Blue Ridge continues south, gaining height gradually and letting no streams across its crest, despite several wind gaps where highways such as I-66 cross. South of Ashby Gap the Blue Ridge reaches 2000 feet, and south of Manassas Gap (950') (where I-66 crosses) High Knob (2388') is the highest point on the whole Blue Ridge north of Shenandoah National Park. The Appalachian Trail follows the backbone of this ridge at first, but for a long stretch where the ridge is known as Mount Weather it sadly contours along the low western slopes.
For its first 15 miles, this low and (let's face it) somewhat
uninteresting 40-mile crest marks the Virginia-West Virginia border. Despite John Denver's song "County Roads", in which he sings "Almost Heaven/West Virginia/Blue Ridge Mountains/Shenandoah River", this insignificant chunk of the massive Blue Ridge is all West Virginia can claim. The Shenandoah River and its namesake valley, paralelling the ridge to the west, is also in West Virginia for only 15 miles. Strangely, though, the Appalachian Trail Conference is headquartered in Harpers Ferry, WV. This means that the umbrella organization for all hiking clubs that maintain the 2,000 mile long Appalachian Trail is in the state with by far the least amount of A.T. mileage, 15 measly miles that are shared with neighboring Virginia.