Tennessee Mountains > Preface


This book gives an overview of Tennessee's three easternmost physiographic provinces. Although these were often the first areas visited by white settlers, they remain the most remote. Protected by their geologic ramparts, these lands offer a wealth of opportunities to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of vast public acreage. This book guides you from the rugged Cumberland Plateau, across the undulating Valley and Ridge province, to the Unaka Mountains.

From the gorge of the Big South Fork River to the dramatic, misty peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains, we describe the geology and natural history of each area while directing you to hiking trails, campgrounds, fishing holes, bicycle and horseback-riding trails, whitewater, and scenic highlights.

As we travel through each region, we uncover historic sites and recreation areas as varied as the remains of historic Utopian societies on the Cumberland Plateau and the site of the 1996 Olympic whitewater event on the Ocoee River.

We share with you the knowledge of countless park rangers, geologists, and naturalists, as well as tidbits from our combined 45 years of personal experiences in Tennessee's mountains. We hope that you'll be inspired to learn and experience this beautiful portion of the Southeast yourself. Our appendixes furnish you with good sources for more information.

Carpe diem!

—Vernon and Cathy Summerlin

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