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The West Virginia. Cyclopedia


Back Allegheny Mountain

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Back-Allegheny Front near Alta in Greenbrier County

Back Allegheny Mountain, the first major ridge west of Allegheny Mountain, is one of the most distinctive landforms in West Virginia. Its steep eastern face forms a mountain wall 20 miles in length. Back Allegheny is one of the Allegheny Mountains and, like others in its group in eastern West Virginia, rises to more than 4,000 feet above sea level.

Back Allegheny parallels Cheat Mountain in its elongated course, but at its southern extent the two ranges join into a mountain mass capped by a broad summit, Thorny Flat, the second-highest point in West Virginia and the location of Snowshoe Mountain Resort. At its northern extent, at Gaudineer Knob, Back Allegheny continues northeastward as Shavers Mountain.

Three of the highest points in West Virginia are located along Back Allegheny, and each is the location of a distinctive tourist attraction.


Bald Knob & Cass Scenic Railroad

At 4,842 feet above sea level, Bald Knob is the highest point on Back Allegheny Mountain and third-highest point in West Virginia and the Allegheny Mountain system. The Cass Scenic Railroad transports passengers to the Bald Knob summit, which can otherwise been accessed by hiking. A firetower is located at the summit and an observation deck has been built on the eastern side of the mountain for the railroad.


Thorny Flats & Snowshoe Mountain Resort

At 4,840 feet above sea level, the southernmost summit on Back Allegheny Mountain is Thorny Flats, now site of West Virginia's largest ski resort, Snowshoe Mountain. Snowshoe is among the most distinctive ski resorts in the United States in that hotels, restaurants, and outfitters shops are located on top the mountain rather than at the base of the ski slopes.


Gaudineer Knob & Gaudineer Scenic Area

Gaudineer Knob rises to 4,439 feet above sea level at the northern terminous of Back Allegheny Mountain. Is is also the southern terminous of Shavers Mountain. The two mountains extend end-to-end together in one long wall more than 50 miles long. At Gaudineer the National Forest Service has established the Gaudineer Scenic Area, which contains more than 50 acres of virgin red spruce forest.


Topo Map of summit on Back Allegheny Mountain