10 Beautiful Mountains in Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Laurel Falls
© Weidman Photography/Shutterstock.com

Written by Drew Wood

Updated: October 16, 2023

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Tennessee is a beautiful state with diverse rural landscapes. The Mississippi River lowlands in the west transform into the Great Smoky Mountains in the east – the most-visited National Park in the country. They are part of the larger Appalachian chain that runs all the way from Newfoundland, Canada to Alabama. Unlike the Rocky Mountains, the much older Appalachians are heavily eroded and tree-covered, even on their highest peaks. This makes them especially beautiful in the fall as the leaves turn. In this article, we look at 10 of the most beautiful mountains in Tennessee. Maybe on your next vacation, you can see them all!

Tennessee is a mostly rural state, stretching from the Mississippi River to the Appalachian Mountains.

©USDA / CC0 – Original / License

1. Clingman’s Dome

At 6,643 feet, Clingman’s Dome is the tallest mountain in Tennessee and the third highest east of the Mississippi River. From the observation tower, it’s possible to see for a distance of 100 miles. However, due to air pollution, most often the view is limited to 20 miles. If you’d like to see it for yourself, head to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg. The Appalachian Trail crosses Clingman’s Dome, so it’s a great way for hikers to get up close and personal with the mountain. Watch out for American black bears; an estimated 1,500 of these mammals roam the park!

Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, Gatlinburg

Clingman’s Dome has an accessible observation tower where visitors can see miles of mountain views.


2. Mount Guyot

Nearly as tall as Clingman’s Dome, Mount Guyot measures 6,621 feet in height. Note that it should not be confused with another mountain of the same name. The one in Colorado has shear rock surfaces along its sides and peak, while the one in Tennessee is located in the Great Smoky Mountains and is completely tree-covered. It’s near Clingman’s Dome and sits astride the Tennessee-North Carolina border, with its highest peak on the Tennessee side.

Mount Guyot

Mount Guyot sits on the Tennessee-North Carolina border.


3. Mount LeConte

Mount LeConte is a 6,593-foot peak located at the intersection of five hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s not far from Rainbow Falls, the highest waterfall in the state. Hikers recommend taking the Rainbow Falls hiking trail that follows LeConte Creek up the mountain. It’s a bit of a challenging trail for beginners but rewards visitors with a great view of the Falls.

Mount LeConte

Mount LeConte sits at the intersection of five hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

©Sara Parlier/Shutterstock.com

4. Mount Chapman

Mount Chapman is 6,643 feet tall and named after one of the founders of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s more remote than some of the other mountains on our list, but a worthy destination for experienced hikers. The Appalachian Trail comes within 200 feet of the summit. It’s also possible to hike from the base to the summit and back in one day, if you take the 5.3-mile Snake Den Ridge Trail. It’s a challenging trail and not suitable for beginners.

mount Chapman

Mount Chapman offers a hiking challenge worthy of experienced hikers. Beginners beware!


5. Mount Buckley

Mount Buckley in Great Smoky Mountains National Park stands 6,580 feet high. It is actually a sub-peak of Clingman’s Dome. Mount Buckley’s trail is part of the Appalachian Trail and makes a loop only 1.5 miles long. It is considered a manageable short hike for inexperienced hikers, children, or others who want to enjoy the wilderness without having to train like an Olympic athlete.

Mount Buckley

Mount Buckley is a sub-peak of Clingman’s Dome and is considered a short, easy hike for beginners.

©Thomson200 / Creative Commons – Original / License

6. Old Black

A thick pine forest grows on Old Black, all the way to its 6,370-foot summit. Going to the top could feel underwhelming, as the views are obstructed by the overgrown forest. You won’t be able to see vast distances, as you can from some of Tennessee’s other Smokey Mountain peaks. However, it is not as crowded, so you might have a better chance of spotting wildlife. It’s also quite possible to get turned around and lost in the forest, so don’t go without camping supplies, food, water, and the best trail maps available.

Old Black

The dense forests of Old Black make it a dangerous hiking choice for unprepared hikers.

©Brian Stansberry / Creative Commons – Original / License

7. Roan High Knob

Roan High Knob, a 6,286-foot mountain, is located in Roan Mountain State Park near Kingsport. It’s on the Appalachian Trail. You’ll find a small cabin, which is the highest-elevation shelter on the entire trail. Roan High Knob is best reserved for intermediate or experienced hikers, but those who make the effort will enjoy working their way through fresh-smelling balsam fir forests on their way to spectacular views at the summit.

Roan High Knob

Roan High Knob rewards experienced hikers with spectacular sweeping vistas.

©Brian Stansberry / Creative Commons – Original / License

8. Big Bald

Big Bald is 5,515 feet high and is the highest peak in the Bald Mountains, a chain that is part of the Smoky Mountains. From Erwin, it’s only 6.5 miles to the top, but the trail is steep and rugged, so it takes about four hours each direction. Keep in mind that due to the dense forest, it will get dark earlier than expected, so allow plenty of time and take flashlights along with spare batteries. There’s a good chance you’ll see American black bears, white-tailed deer, raccoons, and even elk, which have been reintroduced to the state.

Big Bald

Big Bald is the highest peak in the Bald Mountains, a sub-range of the Smoky Mountains.

©Brian Stansberry / Creative Commons – Original / License

9. Chimney Tops

It’s a steep climb up the 4,800-foot elevation of Chimney Tops in the Smoky Mountains, but worth it for the unforgettable views. The hike starts by crossing back and forth three times over a cold mountain stream. Though the hike is only 3.5-miles round trip, it’s the most dangerous of any we’ve listed in this article. The last quarter mile of the trail has been heavily fire-damaged and is closed to the public after many injuries, search and rescue operations, and a fatality. Although the trail is quite strenuous and dangerous, it is popular with experienced hikers.

smokey mountain park Chimney tops

The trail up Chimney Tops winds back and forth over a beautiful mountain stream.


10. Big Frog Mountain

Big Frog Mountain is located in the Big Frog Wilderness, an area in Cherokee National Forest. It’s part of the Blue Ridge Mountain chain, a sub-range of the Appalachians. It sits on the border between Tennessee and Georgia, rising to an elevation of 4,224 feet. The mountain gets its name because explorers and settlers thought it bore a resemblance to a very big frog. A network of trails crosses the mountain. Those visiting in late May or early June will be treated to large patches of rhododendrons blooming on the western side of the mountaintop.

Big Frog Mountain Tennessee

Big Frog Mountain is beautiful in any season.

©Kevin Eldon / Creative Commons – Original / License

You Can’t Go Wrong

There are some 1,799 named mountains in Tennessee and they’re all beautiful in different ways. We’ve described only a few of the largest and most popular peaks with hiking trails so you can explore them up close. But even lesser-known peaks have their own charm and wildlife, perfect for building amazing memories.

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About the Author

Drew Wood is a writer at A-Z Animals focusing on mammals, geography, and world cultures. Drew has worked in research and writing for over 20 years and holds a Masters in Foreign Affairs (1992) and a Doctorate in Religion (2009). A resident of Nebraska, Drew enjoys Brazilian jiu-jitsu, movies, and being an emotional support human to four dogs.

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