County Guide

In 1847, 416 square miles of spectacular mountain terrain were formed into Highland County out of portions of Bath and Pendleton counties.

The county received its name from its prevailing high altitude; it has one of the highest mean elevations of any county east of the Mississippi River.


The county has a rich historical tradition. During the Civil War, the Battle of McDowell, a significant battle in Stonewall Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign, was waged in Highland County. The Town of Monterey was established in 1848. Originally named Highland, the town was renamed in honor of the Mexican town where General Zachary Taylor defeated the Mexican Army during the Spanish-American War.


Highland County was built around the richness of its natural resources. Wool remains one of Highland’s major agricultural commodities. In 1990, the county ranked third in the state in the number of sheep.

The county is typically one of the largest wool-producing counties in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


To learn more about the local government, taxes and finances, education and living conditions of Highland County, read excerpts from the Economic Overview Bath and Highland County.


::: For a complete copy of the report, contact the Highland County Chamber of Commerce.
The report, Economic Overview Bath and Highland County,
is a publication produced by the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission