The Potomac State Forest is a special place, as it retains the vestiges of the wildness that used to make Western Maryland the first frontier for expansion-minded colonials. While the Allegheny Range of the Appalachian Mountains is puny by western standards, the mountains proved a formidable obstacle to many heading west.
The Appalachians are beautiful, rolling mountains, older by many centuries than the Rockies. Maryland’s tallest mountain, Backbone Mountain, forms the northwest ridge of the land that comprises Potomac State Forest. The summit of Backbone (3,360 feet) is farther to the southeast, near the West Virginia border. But the ridge runs north, spilling its rainwater and snowmelt along several "runs" as they make their way to the Potomac River, some 1,000 feet below.
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