Description - Tennessee divides naturally into three "grand divisions" ‹ upland, often mountainous, East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee with its foothills and basin, and the low plain of West Tennessee.
Copyright: National Park Service
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Tennessee is rich in U.S. history as well as natural history. In the central region of the state three nationally recognized Civil War battlefield sites exist: Fort Donelson National Battlefield, Shiloh National Military Park and Stones River National Battlefield and Cemetery. Natural landmarks within the region are the Tennessee River, which flows south from Kentucky, on the western perimeter of the region, into Alabama, then north again into eastern Tennessee. The Cumberland River flows through the northern reaches of central Tennessee, winding its way through Nashville. Natchez Trace Parkway is one of the biggest attractions in the area. It is an ancient pathway turned scenic highway that leads between Natchez, Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee.
Eastern Tennessee is best know for the nationally administered properties in the region. The Big South Fork National River and National Recreation Area lies along the border with Kentucky, encompassing nearly 125,000 acres of scenic river valleys. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park also lies on the northern Tennessee border with most of the park in Kentucky. The eastern border of the state is protected from north to south. The Cherokee National Forest encompasses 625,000 acres of this area with the lands of Great Smoky National Park comprising the remaining border lands with North Carolina.
Recreation - Recreation opportunities in this state are as diverse as the landforms within it. National and state forest lands provide facilities for hiking, camping, picnicking and mountain biking. Several lakes lie within the state, natural and man-made, providing access to fishing, boating and swimming.
Climate - Tennessee has a temperate climate with short, mild winters. The average annual snowfall for the state is 12 inches. Spring comes in early March bringing flowering trees and shrubs, and warmer weather. Spring temperatures average between 45 and 70 degrees F. Summers full force arrives in the region by mid May, bringing warm weather and higher humidity. The mountains of eastern Tennessee are a great place to escape the hot summer temperatures as the higher elevation cools the air slightly. Cooling fall temperatures bring crisp air and brilliant foliage colors. Mid to late October is a good time to visit the region to experience the fall color change.
Tennessee is located in the southeastern region of the United States. Kentucky lies north of Tennessee with Alabama and Georgia to the south. Traveling eastward from Tennessee you'll reach North Carolina and after crossing the Mississippi River to the west you'll reach Arkansas and Missouri.