What's At the Corners of Virginia?

Virginia's corners are clear on two, maybe three sides... but the northwest corner is not obvious
Virginia's corners are clear on two, maybe three sides... but the northwest corner is not obvious
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

Virginia has a relatively clear "corner" on the southeast edge, False Cape State Park. On the southwest edge of the state, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is easy to identify as the corner.

You can drive from the southeast to the southwest corners on Route 58, the longest road in Virginia. It stretches from the city of Virginia Beach to Cumberland Gap in Lee County.

The contrast in the physical environment from the Atlantic Ocean to Cumberland Gap is obvious, even through a bug-encrusted windshield at 55 miles per hour. If you visit in person, there are also obvious differences between the politics, economics, and basic cultural lifestyles in Virginia Beach vs. Lee County.

Route 58 - western edge
Route 58 - western edge
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation

Cumberland Gap, the mountain pass through which Daniel Boone led colonists into Kentucky along the Wilderness Road, is not at the exact southwest corner of Virginia
Cumberland Gap, the mountain pass through which Daniel Boone led colonists into Kentucky along the Wilderness Road, is not at the exact southwest corner of Virginia
Source: US Geological Survey (USGS), Middlesboro South 7.5x7.5 topograhic quadrangle (2013)

What about the other corners of Virginia? One possibility for the northeast corner: the City of Alexandria.

is Alexandria (or National Airport in Arlington County,  or a chunk of Fairfax County near Mount Vernon) the northeast corner of Virginia?
is Alexandria (or National Airport in Arlington County, or a chunk of Fairfax County near Mount Vernon) the northeast corner of Virginia?
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

Another option: chose a point on the Atlantic Ocean near Chincoteague.

is this the northeast corner of Virginia?
is this the northeast corner of Virginia?
Source: National Park Service, Assateague Island National Seashore Park Map
NOTE: on the map above, north is to the left, not towards the top of the map. If you persist in thinking that all maps must be oriented with north at the top, just like the ones on the wall in elementary school, then turn your head or swivel the computer monitor 90 degrees to the right... John Smith's maps drawn in the early 1600's are also oriented so north is to the left.
north arrow on Assateague map

Finding the eastern edge of the state, much less the northeastern corner, may be confusing on maps that simplify the geography of the state. Some maps fail to identify the two counties on the Eastern Shore (east of the Chesapeake Bay) as part of Virginia:

national parks in Virginia
Question: what's missing from this map
showing National Park Service units in Virginia?
Eastern Shore
Answer: the Eastern Shore...

Determining the northwestern tip of Virginia - well, that's the hardest choice...

where is Virginia's northwest corner?
where is Virginia's northwest corner?
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

Links

watersheds of Virginia
Virginia and its watershed boundaries
Source: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Soil and Water Conservation Programs
shaded relief of Cumberland Gap
Can you spot the southwestern tip of Virginia
without the political boundaries drawn on the image?
(the US Geological Survey Middlesboro South topographic quad might help...)


Boundaries and Charters of Virginia
Virginia Places