About the Mountain

Ecological Importance of Pine Mountain

Pine Mountain represents one of the last great contiguous stretches of unfragmented forest in Kentucky. And while other parts of the region have been developed, strip-mined or heavily logged, Pine Mountain remains relatively untouched. Positioned at the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains, the mountain offers commanding views of Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee. If ever there was a hope of preserving an ecological legacy for future generations of Kentuckians, this is it. The mountain has remained a refuge in the face of increasing human intrusion, mainly because it is a rugged nearly roadless mountain that is guarded by jutting sandstone cliffs, tangled rhododendron thickets and large, prehistoric land slides laden with car-sized boulders. Even when deer and turkey were driven out of most of the region, Pine Mountain
remained a refuge for wildlife native to the area. Today the mountain serves as the travel corridor for black bear re-entering the state from Virginia and Tennessee. It provides habitat for the newly restored elk, and is the home of many species of native Kentucky flora dependent upon the unique physiographic and climatic conditions found only in the Appalachian highlands, and specifically on the Pine Mountain ridgeline.  Rose Pogonia, Frostweed, and the largest known populations of Yellow Wild Indigo in the Commonwealth are here for your discovery while hiking the Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail. Breached by only six roads in 110 miles, the mountain represents a significant unprotected wilderness area.