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List "Eastern Continental Divide peaks" By Tom Layton

Notes: This list is intended to include all named or ranked peaks along the Eastern Continental Divide, the watershed that separates the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.


As of May 2014, I believe this list is substantially complete, except for a few uncertainties in PA, south GA, and FL. (The most recent additions: Johns Creek Mtn VA added 2014-07-26, Preston WV COHP added 2013-12-02, several Henderson NC peaks added 2013-12-24.) I welcome additions, corrections, or other comments. Email TommyL810@hotmail.com.


The northern end of the Eastern Continental Divide (ECD) is in Potter County PA at the triple divide of the Mississippi, Susquehanna, and St. Lawrence rivers.


The southern end, by definition, is the tip of the Florida peninsula. For all practical purposes, the divide is meaningless once you get south of Orlando into the Everglades basin, which has been radically altered by drainage canals. The southernmost point I've identified in the LoJ database is the Bradford FL county highpoint.


On USGS quads in the Southeast, the ECD is labeled as the Tennessee Valley Divide from Young Lick Mtn GA to Sandy Flat Church west of Blowing Rock NC.
The ECD generally follows the Blue Ridge from Rabun Bald GA to a point south of Roanoke VA near milepost 140 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Then it turns NW, zigzags around the headwaters of the James and Shenandoah rivers, and follows the Alleghany Front west of the Potomac through WV, MD, and into PA.


The highest point on the ECD is Calloway Peak (5,964 feet) on Grandfather Mtn NC. Otherwise, it reaches a mile high only at Standing Indian and the southern tip of the Black Mtns (Pinnacle and Graybeard). All 91 mile-high ranked peaks in the Southeast are either fully or partly on the Gulf side of the divide.


The ECD spans eight states but touches the state HP only in SC and MD. (For comparison, the only state HP on the western Continental Divide is WY.)


The Appalachian Trail generally follows the ECD northbound from Young Lick Mtn GA to Ridgepole Mtn NC. After that, their paths cross only twice--along the Craig-Montgomery VA line at Bruisers Knob and in Giles VA on Lone Pine Peak. It is interesting how they parallel each other: South and west of Roanoke, the ECD follows the Blue Ridge and the AT runs along more westerly ridges. North of Roanoke, this is reversed, as the AT follows the Blue Ridge but but the ECD runs further west in the Alleghanies.


There are 28 county high points along the ECD. (I've included counties with multiple HPs if at least one of the candidates appears to be on the ECD.) Starting at the northern end:


--PA: Cameron


--MD: Garrett


--WV: Preston, Grant, Randolph


--VA: Highland, Craig, Bath, Giles, Patrick, Carroll


--NC: Surry, Wilkes, Watauga, Caldwell, McDowell, Macon, Clay.


--SC: Pickens


--GA: Rabun, Banks, Henry, Crawford, Peach, Wilcox, Ben Hill, Irwin


--FL: Baker, Bradford


There are 10 triple divide points on the ECD, eight of them of them along the eastern rim of the Mississippi basin. Following the ridge line southbound:


--Potter County PA (Mississippi, Susquehanna, St. Lawrence).


--Somerset County PA (Mississippi, Susquehanna, Potomac)


--Watering Knob VA (Mississippi, Potomac, James)


--Brush Mtn VA (Mississippi, James, Roanoke)


--Carroll/Patrick County VA (Mississippi, Roanoke, Pee Dee)


--Blowing Rock NC (Mississippi, Pee Dee, Santee)


--Sassafras Mtn SC (Mississippi, Santee, Savannah)


--Young Lick Mtn GA (Mississippi, Savannah, Apalachicola)


--Lula GA (Savannah, Apalachicola, Altamaha)


--Dooly County GA (Apalachicola, Altamaha, Suwanee)


There are two prominent cities on the ECD, Atlanta GA and Blacksburg VA (coincidentally the homes of Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech). In the Atlanta area, the ECD is marked by a mural on DeKalb Avenue and an obelisk in Duluth. However, the line skirts the Atlanta-area COHPs and barely misses Stone Mtn.


Curiously--even antithetically--two large bodies of water lie across the divide. The Okeefenokee Swamp in GA and Lake Okeechobee in FL both have outlets to the Atlantic as well as the Gulf.

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