The Blue Ridge Mountain range of the Appalachian Mountains, primarily, run from southern Pennsylvania to northern Georgia. Notable elevations include Grandfather Mountain (approx. 5,964 ft.), Mt. Mitchell (approx. 6,684 ft.), and Clingman's Dome (approx. 6,643 ft.).
There seems to be some debate over the origin of the term "Blue" as used in the Blue Ridge Mountains. One theory suggests that the term arose from the abundance of eclogite rock formations which have a predominately blue color. These eclogites formed millions of years ago in a process known as "blueschist metamorphism."
The Blue Ridge forests include more than 158 species of trees including, mixed oak, tulip poplars, red spruce, chestnuts, fraser fir, and balsam fir. In these forests, are the most diverse number of salamander species in North America. There are approximately six species of the Desmognathus genus and twelve species of the Plethodon species. Other plants and animals found in this region include, but are not limited to, mussels, dogwood trees, bats, owls, deer, hummingbirds, and woodpeckers. There are also rare and endangered species such as some land snails and salamanders, orchids, big-eared bats, red wolves, loggerhead shrike, and red-shouldered hawks.