Mount Davis, Pennsylvania,
sure to check out my photo album from July2001 visit]
Hurricane Fran obscured the summit tower.
Elevation: 3,213 Feet
Mount Davis Natural Area
(on Negro Mountain)
Forbes State Forest
PO Box 519 (Del. Rt. 30E)
Laughlintown, PA 15655
39 47 10N/079 10 34W
Mount Davis Natural Area, Forbes
State Forest, Somerset County, southwest Pennsylvania 10 miles west of
I climbed Mount Davis in the midst
of Hurricane Fran on September 7, 1996.
It certainly added drama and cut down
on the crowds to a drive up peak.
Mount Davis is the summit of 30-mile
long Negro Mountain (which has been P.C.'d from its earlier name). According
to legend (which is officially emblazzoned in a bronze tablet on the summit),
the name reflects a resident who was slain by Indians while attempting
to rescue a white party. Mt. Davis itself is named for the man who surveyed
We drove out the Pennyslvania Turnpike
to within about 100 miles of Pittsburgh in the midst of the hurricane before
turning south on the highpoint rich Highway 219 through Meyersdale.
Signs clearly pointed the way to Mount
Davis. However, emergency lights were flashing and a camera crew scampered
through the bottom of a hill in the middle of town. A light chocolate-colored
stream oozed through town. Water gushed out of pumps on either side as
buildings attempted to drain their basements.
A bearded Amish man rode through the
water in his horse and buggy. I followed suit. The rain let up.
As we neared the summit, a thick fog
rolled in and we could several trees had fallen. We kept going up past
a radio tower, past the Mount Davis Picnic Area, and past a blue sign on
the road proclaiming "The Highest Point in PA" (the other sign was covered
with graffiti proclaiming "Rats").
Just opposite the sign was a short
trail to Baughman Rocks (the handicap accessible trail was the Eagle Scout
project) where you gaze upon several deeply creviced rocks and read the
tale of where Mr. Baughman ("an ill-tempered man") threw one of his sons
The road to the high point observation
tower (South Wolf Rock Road) begins just down the hill (about a mile from
the picnic area). At the base of the silver-colored observation tower are
several bronze tablets describing the region's geological and human history.
At the top of the tower is a bronze relief map of the region.
Even though Mt. Davis is the lowest
of the closely bunched state highpoints that dot the Appalachians from
here to Georgia, the weather was decisively different at the summit --
colder, wetter and more windy. Naturalists report that trees here are indeed
more stunted. The summit is punctuated by frost heave rock formations where
a rock is thrust upward at the center of concentric circles. The USGS summit
marker is on top of one of these.
From here we took the road down through
Salisbury, which is a picturesque mountain community with American flags
flying on every pole. Two hours and 50 miles later down 219 we were on
top of Backbone Mountain in Maryland.