The Appalachian mountain chain runs through the western part of the state. The highest peak, Mount Mitchell, in Yancey County, is 6,684 feet high, making it the tallest along the eastern coast of the U.S.
The Great Smoky Mountains make this area one of the country's top scenic attractions. Visitors can enjoy grand vistas of magnificent beauty driving through the mountain ranges on the world-famous, 250-mile Blue Ridge Parkway.
Two-thirds of the mountains are covered with hardwood forests, and in autumn, they create a brilliant, colorful display. Skiing is a popular winter sport, with some areas getting 30 inches of snow a year. Summers are cool and refreshing with low humidity.