The Landscape of the Piedmont
Pine Mountain, Meriwether, Harris & Talbot counties, Georgia
When one utters the name "Pine Mountain" as a place name, one must include a modifier as there are at least 27 "Pine Mountains" in Georgia! There is, to many, only one Pine Mountain as it is the "first mountain" from both the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean when heading inland.
This Pine Mountain, while far from the tallest, is the longest. It exceeds 1,000 feet for much of its 20 mile span and reaches 1,395 feet on Dowdel's Knob in F.D.R. State Park. These are the southernmost high elevations in the eastern United States.
The Flint River bisects the ridge near its eastern end creating an impressive landscape now protected in Sprewell Bluffs State Park where the northeastern slope drops nearly 400 feet to the river.
When folks call it the "first mountain", they include Oak Mountain as part of the Pine Mountain "range", as Oak forms a parallel ridge in front of Pine Mountain. While not quite as impressive, it still reaches just over 1,200 feet at its greatest height and averages just under 1,000 feet over its 15 mile length. Pine Mountain Valley lies between them with an average elevation of about 750 feet.
The slopes of Pine Mountain can be steep; the southwest face of Dowdel's Knob is a hefty 18%! With these slopes and hard, crystalline rock, there are many habitats that mimic those of the Blue Ridge, about 150 miles to the north. Since it is at the boundary of the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, communities of all three provinces can be found on Pine Mountain, making it an ecologist's paradise.