|Stretching 440 miles from east to west, Tennessee characterized by 6 main land regions; The Blue Ridge, the
Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region, the Appalachian Plateau, the Highland Rim, the Nashville Basin, and the
Gulf Coastal Plain.
Blue Ridge: The Blue Ridge area lies on the eastern edge of Tennessee, on the border of North
Carolina. This region of Tennessee is characterized by high mountains, including the Great Smoky Mountains,
the Chilhowee Mountains, and the Snowbird Mountains. The average elevation of the Blue Ridge area is 5,000
feet above sea level. Tennessee's highest point, Clingman's Dome, at 6,643 feet above see level, is found
in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region: Stretching west from the Blue Ridge for approximately 55 miles
is the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region. This area of Tennessee is covered by fertile valleys separated
by wooded ridges. The western section of the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region, where the valleys become
broader and the ridges become lower, is called The Great Valley.
Appalachian Plateau: To the west of the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region lies the Appalachian
Platieau. Also called the Cumberland Plateau, this area is covered with flat-topped mountains separated
by sharp valleys. The elevation of the Appalachian Plateau rises to 1,500 to 1,800 feet above sea level.
Lookout Mountain, southwest of Chattanooga and in the southern section or the Appalachian Plateau, provides
views of seven states.
Highland Rim: To the west of the Appalachian Plateau lies the Highland Rim, an elevated plain that
surrounds the Nashville Basin. The northern section of the Highland Rim is sometimes called the Pennyroyal
Nashville Basin: Surrounded by the steep slopes of the Highland Rim is the Nashville Basin. The
Nashville Basin is characterized by rich, fertile farm country.
Gulf Coastal Plain: West of the Highland Rim and Nashville Basin lies the Gulf Coastal Plain. The
Gulf Coastal Plain is, in terms of area, the predominant land region in Tennessee. It is part of the large
geographic land area that begins at the Gulf of Mexico and extends north into southern Illinois. In
Tennessee, the Gulf Coastal Plain is divided into three sections that extend from the Tennessee River, in
the east, to the Mississippi River in the west.
The easternmost section consists of hilly land that runs along the western bank of the Tennessee River. This section
of the Gulf Coastal Plain is about 10 miles wide. To the west of this narrow strip of land is a wide area of
rolling hills and streams that stretches all the way to Memphis in western Tennessee. This area is called
the Tennessee bottoms or bottom land. In Memphis, the Tennessee Bottoms end in steep bluffs overlooking the
Mississippi River. To the west of the Tennessee Bottoms, is the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, less than 300 feet
above sea level. This area of lowlands, flood plains, and swamp land is sometimes referred to as The Delta region.
( Tennessee Close-up )