Augusta County is centrally located in the historic and scenic Shenandoah Valley in west-central Virginia. Staunton is an important educational, retail, commercial, and governmental center. Waynesboro is a significant commercial and industrial nucleus. Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro share similar characteristics and are economically interrelated.
Augusta County is bounded on the west by the lower elevations of the Allegheny Mountains and on the east by the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The County is surrounded by the Virginia counties of Albemarle, Bath, Highland, Nelson, Rockbridge, and Rockingham, as well as Pendleton County, West Virginia. The headwaters of two major rivers, the James and the Potomac, are located in Augusta County.
Interstates 81 and 64 intersect at the eastern edge of the city limits of Staunton. Augusta County is approximately 85 miles north of Roanoke; 100 miles west of Richmond; 150 miles southwest of Washington, D.C.; 200 miles northwest of the Port of Hampton Roads; and 190 miles north of Greensboro, North Carolina. The Augusta County-Staunton-Waynesboro area is approximately midway between New York and Atlanta.
Augusta County, formed from Orange County in 1738 and named for Augusta, Princess of Wales and mother of King George III, is the second largest county in Virginia, encompassing 968 square miles of diverse terrain. There are seven magisterial districts within the County. Staunton and Waynesboro are independent cities and Craigsville is an incorporated town within the County's boundaries.
The Augusta County-Staunton-Waynesboro area lies primarily within the Valley and Ridge Physiographic Province which is characterized by gently rolling and hilly valleys, as well as gradual mountain slopes.
The extreme eastern edge of the County is within the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province, which is distinguished by sharp mountain peaks. Elevations range from 1,050 to 1,800 feet above sea level in the Shenandoah Valley. The Blue Ridge Mountains and the Allegheny Mountains have many peaks which exceed 3,500 feet above sea level. The level areas of the County are located in the vicinity of Fishersville, Middlebrook, Spottswood, Stuarts Draft, Swoope, Waynesboro, and Weyers Cave.
Soils in the Shenandoah Valley range from carbonate and shale soils to alluvial soils along rivers and streams. Colluvial soils derived from the weathering of sandstone and shale are found in the foothills paralleling the valley. The Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains are covered with shallow, rocky, excessively drained soils. The predominant geological structure underlying the Augusta County-Staunton-Waynesboro area is a complex formation of limestone and calcareous shale, with small amounts of sandstone and chert.