The vista is named for the Shawnee Ridge seen in the distance on clear days just below and to the left of Black Fork Mountain. Chert, a stone used to make tools and weapons, was plentiful on these ridges and attracted early native people to the area.
Tram Ridge is the most dominant feature in the foreground and if you look closely you can see a road that travels the ridge. “Trams” were the temporary rail lines built by the timber companies in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They were used to move logs from the slopes to the mills or to major rail lines.
The beautifully forested slopes are part of the Indian Nations National scenic and Wildlife Area. The abundance of game species has made these mountains prime hunting grounds for thousands of years. It is the opinion of most scholars that the mountain slopes were too steep for permanent habitation by prehistoric people. When LaHarpe, the French explorer, visited the area in 1719 he wrote in his journal that the area was abandoned except for an occasional Native American hunting party. Even the Choctaws, before they were relocated to Oklahoma, traveled from the Mississippi River Valley to hunt here.