The Appalachians are a great highland system of North America, the eastern counterpart of the Rocky Mountains. Extending for almost 2,000 miles from the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador to central Alabama in the United States, the Appalachian Mountains form a natural barrier between the eastern Coastal Plain and the vast Interior Lowlands of North America. As a result, they have played a vital role in the settlement and development of the entire continent. They combine a heritage of natural beauty and a distinctive regional culture with contemporary problems of economic deprivation and environmental deterioration. The Appalachians are among the oldest mountains on Earth, born of powerful upheavals within the terrestrial crust and sculpted by the ceaseless action of water upon the surface. The two types of rock that characterize the present Appalachian ranges tell much of the story of the mountains’ long existence.
The Appalachian Mountain system was once almost totally covered with forest. Today some of the best and most-extensive broad-leaved deciduous forests in the world still flourish in the Appalachians and bordering areas, notably in southern Appalachia. To the north are the red spruce and balsam fir, which grow at the highest elevations, Others consist of northern hardwoods...sugar maple, buckeye, beech, ash, birch, and red and white oak. Farther south are hickory, poplar, walnut, sycamore, and at one time the important and—before they were destroyed by blight—plentiful chestnuts.
Items needed for a hike: