Bays Mountain

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Chimneytop Mountain, highest part of the Bays Mountain ridge.

Bays Mountain is a ridge of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, located in eastern Tennessee. It runs southwest to northeast, from just south of Knoxville to Kingsport.

Its southern segment is relatively low in elevation (up to about 1,300 feet (396.2 m)). In some places it essentially merges with the surrounding plains, especially where it is bisected by the French Broad River and the Nolichucky River.

The northern segment of Bays Mountain reaches higher elevations, averaging above 2,000 feet (609.6 m) with peaks reaching up to 3,000 feet (914.4 m). It is not a single ridge, but rather a series of closely related ridges, some of which have names of their own. The highest peak is Chimneytop Mountain (3,117 feet (950.1 m)), a spur ridge south of the main Bays Mountain ridge.

Northernmost Terminus of Bays Mountain at Kingsport, Tennessee

Bays Mountain runs just south of the Holston River, which flows northeast to southwest. At Kingsport the Holston River curves east and south, splitting into three tributary forks that flow from Virginia to the northeast. Bays Mountain ends abruptly at this curve of the Holston River. Kingsport is on the north side of the river, directly across from the end of Bays Mountain, where two ridges meet in a "V" with an impounded lake (the old reservoir) between the ridges.

The name of Bays Mountain: Two Bays brothers settled in Southwest Virginia, Russell and Scott Counties about 1780. Bays Mountain received its name from this family as they were noted as great hunters.

Bays Mountain Park is a 3,550 acres (14.4 km2) acre nature park located on Bays Mountain in Kingsport, featuring cross-cut viewing sections of beaver dams, bee hives, cave systems, and more. The park includes a planetarium, live native animal displays, a nature center, 19th-century living farm museum and adventure course.


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