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Highland County is located in the Allegheny Mountains midway between the eastern border of West Virginia and western border of the famed Shenandoah Valley. The headwaters of the James and Potomac Rivers are located here. The contrast of its high, narrow ridges forested in hardwoods and our broad, open valleys is breathtaking.
Often referred to as "Virginia's Switzerland" this land of high mountain valleys, sheep and cattle grazing farms and vast woodlands is known for its pristine scenic beauty and rural charm. It is one of the least populated counties in the east and boasts one of the highest mean elevations of any county east of the Mississippi River.
The average elevation of Highland County is 2,832 feet, which is the 16th highest average elevation among counties in the Eastern United States. The highest elevation in the county is 4,545 feet in the Allegheny Mountains and the lowest elevation is 1,625 feet near the Cowpasture River southwest of Patna.
Highland County contains parts of the George Washington National Forest concentrated mainly along the county's western and eastern borders, and the Highland Wildlife Management Area, held by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The national forest and Highland Wildlife Management Area combined account for 71,455 acres, or approximately 28% of the county's total land area.