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Tennessee Geography

Varied ranges of the Appalachian Mountain system cover the eastern third of Tennessee, including the Bald, Great Smoky, Holston, Stone, Unaka and Unicoi mountains.

Located along its border with North Carolina, Clingmans Dome (at 6,643 ft.) is the state's highest point. In fact, it's the third highest point in the Appalachian Mountain range; only Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina (6,684 ft.), and Mt. Craig (6,647 ft.) in Mt. Mitchell State Park rise higher.

To the immediate west of those mountains (stretching south to north) the Appalachian Valley is a series of lower ridges, hills, and very fertile farmland.

The Cumberland Plateau, a run of flat hills, valleys and round top mountains, stretches north from Chattanooga to the Kentucky border. Lookout Mountain (1,850 ft.), to the southwest of Chattanooga, provides views of seven states on a clear day.

West of the Cumberland Plateau, the somewhat flat highlands stretch east, and then drop down into the Nashville Basin, an area of productive farmland. 

The Gulf Coastal Plain extends across the southern states, on into southern Illinois. In Tennessee the plain begins as hilly land to the west of the Tennessee River, land that slowly levels-out as it approaches the state's western edge. In the southwestern corner (near Memphis) it becomes a swampy lowland flood plain ending along the steep bluffs fronting the Mississippi River Delta.

In this state of rivers, major ones include the Cumberland, Tennessee, and of course, the Mississippi. The Clinch and Duck are additional rivers of note.

Significant lakes (some used as storage basins) are found across Tennessee. Kentucky Lake is the largest man-made lake in the eastern United States.

For a closer look at the topography of Tennessee, view this topographic map

Tennessee Photographs

Rural Setting in Great Smoky Mountains

Tennessee landscape...
by Cody Wood
Buy This at Allposters.com

Tennessee Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Oak Ridge Anderson 865
Shelbyville Bedford 931
Camden Benton 731
Pikeville Bledsoe 423
Maryville Blount 865
Cleveland Bradley 423
La Follette Campbell 423
Woodbury Cannon 615
McKenzie Carroll 731
Elizabethton Carter 423
Ashland City Cheatham 615
Henderson Chester 731
Tazewell Claiborne 423
Celina Clay 931
Newport Cocke 423
Manchester Coffee 931
Bells Crockett 731
Crossville Cumberland 931
Nashville Davidson 615
Parsons Decatur 731
Smithville DeKalb 615
Dickson Dickson 615
Dyersburg Dyer 731
Somerville Fayette 901
Jamestown Fentress 931
Winchester Franklin 931
Humboldt Gibson 731
Pulaski Giles 931
Rutledge Grainger 865
Greeneville Greene 423
Tracy City Grundy 931
Morristown Hamblen 423
Chattanooga Hamilton 423
Sneedville Hancock 423
Bolivar Hardeman 731
Savannah Hardin 731
Rogersville Hawkins 423
Brownsville Haywood 731
Lexington Henderson 731
Paris Henry 731
Centerville Hickman 931
Erin Houston 931
Waverly Humphreys 931
Gainesboro Jackson 931
Dandridge Jefferson 865
Mountain City Johnson 423
Knoxville Knox 865
Tiptonville Lake 731
Ripley Lauderdale 731
Lawrenceburg Lawrence 931
Hohenwald Lewis 931
Fayetteville Lincoln 931
Lenoir City Loudon 865
Lafayette Macon 615
Jackson Madison 731
Whitwell Marion 423
Lewisburg Marshall 931
Columbia Maury 931
Athens McMinn 423
Selmer McNairy 731
Decatur Meigs 423
Madisonville Monroe 423
Clarksville Montgomery 931
Lynchburg Moore 931
Wartburg Morgan 423
Union City Obion 731
Livingston Overton 931
Linden Perry 931
Byrdstown Pickett 931
Benton Polk 423
Cookeville Putnam 931
Dayton Rhea 423
Harriman Roane 865
Springfield Robertson 615
Murfreesboro Rutherford 615
Oneida Scott 423
Dunlap Sequatchie 423
Sevierville Sevier 865
Memphis Shelby 901
Carthage Smith 615
Dover Stewart 931
Kingsport Sullivan 423
Hendersonville Sumner 615
Covington Tipton 901
Hartsville Trousdale 615
Erwin Unicoi 423
Maynardville Union 865
Spencer Van Buren 931
McMinnville Warren 931
Johnson City Washington 423
Waynesboro Wayne 931
Martin Weakley 731
Sparta White 931
Franklin Williamson 615
Lebanon Wilson 615

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.