List "Tennessee P1Ks" By ChrisinAZ Notes: By nature, the list of Tennessee P1Ks is not an exact one, thanks to the uncertainty of summit contours and true summit locations, as well as old mining operations that have literally removed the summits (and therefore prominence!) of certain mountains. Indeed, one peak, Bryson Mountain in Claiborne County, would exist on this list for purely historical reasons; its summit has been mined away and Logmont BM in Kentucky now holds the prominence for that peak, per LiDAR data.
However, between the list as is, and these notes, there is an exhaustive account of every possible bump that one would need visit to truly claim ascents of any and every 1000' prominence peak in Tennessee. Included are two error range peaks, Black Mountain, and the Holston River Mountains HP. While several of the peaks on this list lie partially or entirely on private land, as of this writing, none appears to have insurmountable access issues.
Below are the peaks, with brief descriptions...
1. Clingmans Dome. This 4000' prominence peak and highest point of Tennessee, two counties, and a national park should need no introduction. However, at least one close inspection of the border indicates the true summit may lie, just barely, entirely in North Carolina. This would change the elevation of Tennessee's highpoint only trivially, but make it lose all its prominence. For those not willing to split hairs though, it remains Tennessee's prominence king. Reachable by a short paved trail from a spur road closed during the winter months.
2. Roan High Knob. Lies on national forest land on the NC state line, just across Carvers Gap from the famous series of balds that are one of the most scenic sections of AT in the Southeast. Highest point in two counties. The summit lies just past the highest overnight shelter on the entire trail, atop a complex of boulders, and is reachable from Carvers Gap or by paying a few dollars to drive higher up to Toll House Gap during summer months. Of note, as of this writing, the true summit is just past a tape barrier for an area closed for revegetation.
3. Big Bald. Highest point in Unicoi County and a fantastic sweeping 360-degree view. Reachable by the AT via equally-difficult hikes from the north or south, or via a gentle half mile trail from the Wolf Laurel resort complex if permission can be obtained.
4. Big Frog Mountain. The highest peak in Polk County, most prominent summit entirely in Tennessee (though just a few tenths of a mile north of the Georgia border!), and deep in the Cohutta Wilderness, this summit offers no views, but plenty of solitude and public access via trails from the west. Several trails converge near the top.
5. English Mountain. Highest point in Jefferson County, and visible from much of the area surrounding the Smokies, the highpoint is reportedly on hunting club land, and the common starting points in a subdivision to the south can have access issues. The summit is viewless but The Lookoff west of the peak has splendid views.
-LiDAR update: the highest ground actually appears to be the contour 0.2 mi SW of the traditional summit, by about 5'
6. The Flag Pole, AKA Cross Mountain, is one of the highest points on the Cumberland Plateau and the highest peak in two counties. This is coal country. The approach and summit now appears to be owned by the Windrock ATV park, as are two other peaks on this list, and a permit may be required to make this one legal. A rough but doable drive-up from Briceville.
7. Oswald Dome. An obscure peak with no views, with a rough but doable road and a short road walk, this one doesn't have a lot of redeeming value except for its prominence. Some of the approach may offer nice recreational activities, however.
8. Hall Top. Dwarfed by its neighbors but nevertheless imposing, this peak has been seen by millions who pass through the mountains on I-40. Roads from the east are public but atrocious, and 4WD is a must. From the west, you pass through a brief signed stretch but the summit appears to be on national forest land. If you can brave the several missing steps at the base of the fire tower, unparalleled views of the northern Smokies await!
9. Cove Mountain. Most easily hiked from the national park side, though a rough road goes all the way to the top from the west if permission can be gained. Stop at beautiful and popular Laurel Falls on your way up. A weather station and some limited views west await you at the summit.
10. Gravel Knob and Camp Creek Bald. Both peaks lie on the NC state line and vie for the Greene County highpoint, while a third peak on the massif, Green Ridge Knob, lies entirely in NC. While Green Ridge Knob is likely the highest of the three, technically all three need to be climbed to claim the prominence. Should Green Ridge Knob conclusively be proven to be highest, this entry would no longer be on the list, but for now it stays. Gravel and Green Ridge Knobs are reachable by a moderately strenuous AT hike and a bit of bushwhacking, while Camp Creek Bald is a near drive up with a funky observation tower on the summit.
-LiDAR update: Camp Creek Bald is substantially lower than the other two. Green Ridge appears higher than Gravel by 1.5 to 2', depending on the data set used, therefore technically this entry drops off the list
11. Chimneytop Mountain. This impressive little pinnacle lies on private land near the Tri-Cities area and is visible from I-81. It is the Hawkins County highpoint. Permission must be gained from landowners at the base, from which a steep ATV track and short bushwhack lead to this cliffy summit with a small, viewless observation tower. Exploring down the narrow ridge may lead to better views.
12. Scott Mountain. This lies on the north side of the famous Cades Cove, on the border of the national park. A series of trails from Cades Cove will get you close, then it's a steep but straightforward bushwhack to the top. Nearby Cerulean Knob offers limited views.
13. Holston High Point. The mountain and approach are largely on national forest land, though the actual summit is an FAA radar station that is off limits (though not physically inaccessible). A second candidate spot exists just south of the radar station, and is accessible via a short bushwhack. This summit is the highest point in Sullivan County. I imagine views would be quite nice from atop the cleared main summit. Be aware the road up this peak is closed in the winter months!
14. Mount Guyot. In terms of sheer physical effort, this summit is likely the crux of this list; the easiest approach entails 16 miles roundtrip and 4400' of gain with a bushwhack at the end! This summit, the queen of the Smokies, the Haywood County highpoint, and the second highest peak in Tennessee, is a worthy objective despite its general lack of views high up. Easiest approach is from Cosby. Climb Old Black too while you're up there.
15. Greentop. The mountain is covered in fancy houses but the summit itself is accessible, a drive-up on steep paved mountain roads, and offers some fine views from atop the fire tower on the summit. Pigeon Forge is also visible.
16. Hinch Mountain. The next of the FAA radar station mountains, this one is reachable by rough, but generally passable roads from the east or west. High ground lies inside a large fenced in area, but rumors say there may be a spot one could squeeze through if they wished. It is the Cumberland County highpoint.
17. Sassafras Knob. This peak lies on national forest land and offers no views. The last spur road is overgrown and will have to be walked. Your walk may begin far earlier if there are downed trees across the road on your approach!
(17.5. Bryson Mountain. This summit, deep in coal mining country and just a few tenths of a mile from the Kentucky state line, is Claiborne County's highest peak. Unfortunately, mining has lopped a few dozen feet off the summit, enough to make Logmont BM, across the state line into Kentucky, the new prominence king for the area. If you should still wish to climb it, gnarly bushwhacking or gnarlier roads offer access from a valley to the northeast. Doing a loop hike with give you some nice views, or at least as nice as you're going to get around these parts, and access issues seem minimal.)
18. Pinnacle Mountain. In a public park just outside of Johnson City, and the highpoint of Washington County. An increasingly bad road, which should not even be attempted by non-4WD vehicles unless dry, leads to just a steep few tenths of a mile from the summit. The miserable drive is worth it, though--an observation tower gives some very nice views toward the Roan Highlands and surrounding country. This park also closes in winter.
19. Spring Mountain. This easy hike along the AT from the south is viewless but pleasant enough. Two summits need to be visited, both about equidistant from the shelter near the saddle between the two, one lying entirely in Tennessee. Nearby Rich Mountain is a drive up with an observation tower with views of everything except, oddly, Spring Mountain itself. The approach road is closed in winter months.
20. Unaka Mountain. This pleasant, gentle mountain is like a little brother to Roan Mountain, and the summit is a peaceful grove of pines. It lies on national forest land on the NC state line, and nearby roads and summits such as Beauty Spot offer much better views.
21. Chestnut Mountain. AKA Conasauga BM, this lies on national forest land and is reachable by trail and a short easy bushwhack. There are no views but you'll likely have solitude. The McMinn County highpoint, Starr Mountain, lies nearby but requires starting from a different trailhead.
22. The Bald. This peak is on private land, with uncertain access, and is best approached from roads in a small subdivision east of the peak. Rough ATV roads and a bushwhack get you to the viewless summit.
23. Mount LeConte. The highest peak entirely within Tennessee, this is one of the premier summits of the Smokies and the Southeast, with its four summits, six trails to the top (none easy), and storied summit lodge. However, only High Top need be visited for prominence chasers, though it's the least rewarding of the four summits. Alum Cave is the most straightforward route to the top and a fantastic hike; the gentlest route is probably the AT from Newfound Gap and the Boulevard Trail.
24. Stone Mountain. This summit, along with its partner Pond Mountain in NC, exist in a quasi-public parcel of land near the TN/NC/VA tripoint and near Mt. Rogers, Virginia's highpoint. It is unclear whether Pond or Stone is higher; if the former, this peak would likely drop off of this list but for now you might as well climb them both. The route starts from hunting land in NC and goes over Pond Mountain, before descending to the saddle between the two and passing some tree farms. There is an abandoned house just below the summit of Stone. Those so inclined may go half a mile steeply down the north ridge to the state tripoint.
25. Snowbird Mountain. Reachable by either the AT or by a steep, gnarly drive-up from the west, this is the third of the FAA radar station summits. There are nice views of the northern Smokies from this semi-open summit, near famous Max Patch.
26. Stout Knob. This obscure summit rises above LaFollette, is surrounded by farmland to the south and coal country to the north, and is best reached via the Tackett Creek WMA from the north via a series of old ATV tracks. Be cautious during hunting season! The Cumberland Trail passes very close to the summit, and a longer route is possible by following this from the east or west. There may be a trailhead on the south side of the mountain that leads to Wilson Gap.
27. Neddy Mountain. This steep, rocky little peak rises abruptly from US-25 and the French Broad River near Newport, and is surrounded on most sides by private land. However, the south slopes are on national forest land, and from a pullout on US-25, one can make a steep, but straightforward bushwhack to the treed in summit. A few homes sit a short distance below and northeast of the summit, and were one to possess both landowner permission and a 4WD vehicle to reach the houses, they could make short work of this peak.
28. Doe Mountain. A pleasant ridge just outside of Mountain City, the highest summit lies within the Doe Mountain Recreation Area, a popular OHV park which allows hiking with purchase of a $3 permit (at the time of writing, must be prepurchased online due to COVID-19). While numerous hiking options exist, the most straightforward route is to follow Trail 1 4.5 miles to the summit turnoff, where a fire tower with spectacular views awaits.
29. Short Mountain. One of two such named peaks on this list, this summit looks to be a tough nut to crack; it lies entirely on private property, and the road to the top goes through a large, active silica mine! However, should one acquire landowner permission, the summit can be reached via a short but brutally steep trip up overgrown ATV tracks and bushwhacking from the north. True high ground lies outside the fenced in radio tower area, and some limited views are available to the east.
30. Buffalo Mountain. Also located in the Windrock OHV park, this one is a near-drive-up for most vehicles on a paved and good gravel road. The last spur road to the top is signed no entry, and a fence surrounds high ground, which is signed against trespassing, but could perhaps be accessed by a truly determined individual. A land use permit is required, but an ATV is not. Several vantage points near the top offer sweeping views.
31. Lone Mountain. The summit lies in a state forest, popular with horseback riders, though the final trail to the top is overgrown and for hiking only. While the summit is viewless, Coyote Point offers nice views off the south end of the mountain.
32. Unnamed Peak 2770. This long ridge just off the Foothills Parkway has a couple of approach options. One may be able to proceed along the ridge from a neighborhood to the northeast, should one get permission. A thousand-foot bushwhack, generally mild, can be made from a pullout on the Parkway. Lastly, there appears to be an all-on-ATV-trail route possible by starting just west of the southern start of the Foothills Parkway at some power lines by hiking up an easement through private property, but the vertical gain will be much more. Limited views are available from the power line cut a bit NE of the summit.
33. Roundtop. This steep, pointy little summit lies on the national park boundary, and is best reached from the trailhead at Wear Cove Gap to the east. The trail gently ascends, passing within feet of several private homes, and one may choose when to break away from the trail and bushwhack steeply to the top. Some limited views are available near the top in winter.
34. Stallion Mountain and Frozen Head. These two summits lie in or near the eponymous Frozen Head State Park. While Frozen Head boasts a summit tower with lovely views, with a shorter hike from Armes Gap to the east or much more strenuous routes from the west, Stallion is by far the more obscure summit. It can likely be combined with Frozen Head via a few miles of old dirt road walking, or can be accessed via the questionably-public Scott County highpoint candidates which are not on this list. Stallion requires a short and easy bushwhack from the nearest old road, and has no views.
35. Walnut Mountain and Walnut Mountain Lookout. The traditional prominence owner of this pair, Walnut Mountain, exists in the large North Cumberland OHV Riding Area, which entails a daily permit and either a fun ATV ascent or a slightly miserable slog to the summit ridge, where fantastic views await from a lookout just below the summit. However, the summit ridge has been considerably mined away, and the remaining high ground is now nearest the westernmost of three summit contours on the map. Walnut Mountain Lookout, just off the approach drive from the east, is a very quick walk to a fire tower that may be climbable, but requires driving past significant private signage and a house whose occupants may not be friendly to your presence.
36. Stone Mountain. This long ridge lies on national forest land, and the summit could theoretically be reached entirely on public lands if starting from the Limestone Cove picnic area (no overnight parking!). However, a much simpler approach can be made from the end of Escape Mountain Rd, after securing permission from the last house on the right. An easy bushwhack up a creek bed to an old road to a gap, then following the ridge SW to the summit, will give you a quick round trip with some limited views.
37. Unnamed Peak 3220 and Valley Forge Benchmark. Both lie on the Iron Mountain massif near Hampton, and 3220 can be reached via a steep bushwhack from the AT or the TVA dams. A long up-and-down ridge run on parts of the former AT with some bushwhacking and low-risk crossing of private property can get you to Valley Forge. Nice views from the power line clear-cut near the top of 3220.
38. Webb Mountain. This resort-cabin-covered summit outside of Gatlinburg could theoretically become part of the Foothills Parkway, were it ever to expand, and a stripe of national park land runs over the summit. A dedicated bushwhacker could access it via this stripe, but a much less complicated route exists from a private dirt road leading from just before the Almost Heaven Wedding Pavilion (the other end is gated). Simply bushwhack up the steep slopes through a recent burn area to the heavy brambles on the summit. Thanks to the burn, some nice views back to the northern Smokies exist.
39. Fork Mountain. Steep, brushy, miserable, and full of loose rocks, this one is for diehards only. One possibility entails parking at a gas station near the 19E/361 junction and gaining the NW gully to the relatively open summit. However, trying one's luck with landowners south of the summit would yield a shorter and potentially easier ascent.
40. Chuckey Mountain. The summit lies on national forest land, just feet off the yellow-blazed Meadow Creek Mountain Trail, which runs along the ridge crest of this long mountain. An obscure trailhead lies off Cedar Creek Cave Rd and is the easiest starting point; the trail becomes somewhat overgrown near the top. Some nice views are available along the ridge on the ascent. The trail continues several miles to a fire tower lookout, but this is not at the highpoint.
41. Pond Mountain. A reasonable dirt road from Hampton leads to the start of a poorly-maintained blue blazed trail at a road junction SSW of the summit. The trail starts flat on an old woods road, ultimately climbing steeply up a drainage and the south face to a poorly-maintained ridge. A benchmark and some limited views through the trees mark the highest ground.
42. Stone Benchmark. This rocky peak is much easier to access and climb than the map might make you think, but it's still a steep little climb--and probably one of the only ranked summits in Tennessee whose easiest route entails class 3! Most easily approached by a private road from the south that reportedly crosses into national forest land, the main west ridge of the peak. covered in a thick, low pine forest, hides a steep and rocky trail that will appear on no map. Occasional sweeping views from rocky outcroppings make the grueling steep climb worthwhile, though views at the summit itself are limited.
43. Waucheesi Mountain. For the bold passenger car driver, this one is a drive-up. A confusing series of dirt national forest roads lead from the Cherohala Skyway near Tellico Plains, and a map is strongly advised. The roads are steep and rocky in places, but doable in most cars on a dry day, and while the final summit road is steep it's actually in a bit better shape. There are some views on the drive but unfortunately none from the summit.
44. Thunderhead Mountain. This summit, the highest in Blount County and just east of the storied Rocky Top, is considered one of the harder county highpoints in the eastern US, simply due to its length and remoteness. However, it's all on well-maintained trail. The simplest route is from Cades Cove and will take most hikers the better part of a day. Views from Rocky Top are fantastic on a clear day.
45. Gregory Bald. This broad, gentle peak is a national park favorite due to its somewhat open summit bald and wildflowers. Unfortunately, Parson Branch Rd is indefinitely closed, so the easiest approach trail is now the Gregory Ridge Trail from the end of Forge Creek Rd, at the far end of the Cades Cove Loop. Be advised Cades Cove doesn't open to vehicles till 10am on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which may be a prohibitively late start in summer! The summit is also reachable from the south via Wolf Ridge.
46. Pilot Mountain. This steep, dramatic peak also lies in the Windrock OHV park, and a permit is required. From a saddle SE of the peak, reachable by passenger car, ATV trails lead high on the mountain, or one can simply bushwhack steeply up the ridge. Trees obscure some of the view, but this one is still an adventure! Be advised that the G1 route through Windrock that continues toward Buffalo Mountain, which is designated as "easy", reportedly deteriorates to the point of requiring 4WD at a minimum; if doing both summits in one day, take the long way around on highways!
47. Raccoon Mountain. This steep-sided plateau just outside of Chattanooga sees some OHV traffic due to the presence of Aetna Mountain Adventures; an ATV is one possible way to the top, with permission. It is possible to drive up the rough, semi-public Aetna Mountain Rd from the east, though all but the most insane 4WD vehicles will have to give up and park a few hundred vertical feet below the edge of the plateau, just before a big muddy stretch, and walk the rest of the way. A car can make it to the small pullout with care. The summit area, just off an ATV trail, has signs warning against further travel north due to AMA private lands, but luckily, the second contour area to the NW is lower and need not be visited.
48. Green Mountain. This peak can be most easily reached by following a faint trail and bushwhack gently uphill from a small pullout at height of land along the Foothills Parkway from the west. This seems to follow a boundary between public and private land. There are some views toward the northern Smokies and Webb Mountain in winter near the summit.
49. Clinch Mountain. This peak contends with Newman Ridge for the highest point in Hancock County; however, the two somewhat separated peaks do not vie for prominence. Clinch, the far easier summit, is a drive up to a public fire tower with some views northwest.
50. Rocky Mountain and Unnamed Peak 2685. These peaks have become far more simple following completion and opening of the most recent section of the Foothills Parkway. There's a large parking area at Caylor Gap with good views toward the Smokies, from here a brief trail segment turns to simple bushwhacking up the ridge to the top of Rocky Mountain. 2685, another candidate, is best reached by a short drive north on the Parkway, parking at a pullout, and struggling up a very steep grassy slope to trees, or simply bushwhacking over another knob from Caylor Gap.
51. Luper Mountain. A tough nut to crack. The summit lies on a patch of private land, surrounded by a patch of public Wilderness Management Area land, surrounded by private land. Access is possible into the Luper Mountain WMA via a 4WD easement road off Millstone Mountain Rd; a capable vehicle is strongly recommended, and parking early and walking may raise the ire of locals. Should one make it into, or near, the WMA, a road walk and a short bushwhack will lead one to the summit area--signed, posted, and with a large hunting stand near the eastern summit. Visiting during hunting season is not advised! No thanks to Wayne Anthony at TIR, who summarily denied permission to hike in via their private forest.
52. House Mountain. This popular local hike in a state natural area is the highest point in Knox County, and offers fun hiking and fine views from multiple vantage points on the mountain. It is easily accessible and located outside Knoxville with a large parking area at the trailhead. A strenuous loop trail takes you near the top of both of the contending summits and takes a few hours to complete.
53. Short Mountain. This Short Mountain, the highest point in Cannon County is the westernmost summit on this list and is quite isolated. Several radio towers adorn the summit plateau, and while the mountain is all private land, the rough, narrow road to the top appears to be unrestricted. There are three potential highest contours. The northern candidate entails a five minute walk down an old lane with brambles and downed trees to a mostly viewless area of high ground. The middle area is likely highest, and has a fire tower in a large fenced-in yard, but should one wish to access the fenced-in area, there are multiple options for the intrepid trespasser. The third, southern area is visibly lower and need not be bothered with.
54. Ripshin Ridge. If one is able to gain permission from those at the house beyond Hall Lake, this summit is straightforward. Follow an old woods road steeply up to High Rock with its spectacular views--well worth the short side trip!--and continue to high ground at the southern contour. The northern contour is considerably lower, and need not be visited. If permission cannot be obtained, an entirely public, but much more arduous route may be possible from a pullout at around 3200' on Roaring Creek Rd.
55. Big Fodderstack. This summit, the Morgan County highpoint, lies across Armes Gap from the much better known Frozen Head, and both peaks can be hiked from the same trailhead. The initial route is inside the state park, but as one follows steep ATV trails up toward the summit, private land is entered. The top boasts a small clearing with some radio equipment and minimal views to surrounding peaks.
(56. Black Mountain. This mountain, the most prominent between Hinch and Luper mountains, is within the error range to be a potential TN P1K. A near-drive up near Crab Orchard in a park, one can simply walk the remaining road to high ground just outside a fenced in radar installation. However, neglecting to take an hour or two to explore the far more interesting trails ringing the summit plateau, with their numerous clifftop views, rock formations, and exploring, would be doing oneself a great disservice.)
(57. Holston River Mountain and one point SW. This pleasant range just outside Kingston is the other TN summit with an error range prominence sufficient to make the list. Most any hike would start from the center of Bays Mountain State Park, which hosts a lake, a nature center and wildlife exhibits included in the cost of admission, and even a planetarium! Multiple ways to the summit exist, and exploring other ridges and vantage points in the park can be worthwhile. The actual main summit has an observation tower lofty enough to provide distant, sweeping 360-degree views on a clear day. The other summit candidate can be easily reached by following trails along the ridge.)