Question:

What are the top 5 tallest mountains east of the Mississippi River?

Answer:

Mount Mitchell in North Carolina at 6,684 feet is the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains is 6,643 feet (2,025 m), and Grandfather Mountain in NC.

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Grandfather Mountain is a mountain, a non-profit attraction, and a North Carolina state park near Linville, North Carolina. At 5,946 feet (1,812 m), it is the highest peak on the eastern escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains, one of the major chains of the Appalachian Mountains. The Blue Ridge Parkway passes by the south side of the mountain and also passes over the nearby Grandmother Gap. It is located at the meeting point of Avery, Caldwell (highest point), and Watauga (highest point) counties.

Until 2008, Grandfather Mountain was privately owned and operated as a nature preserve and tourist attraction. It was and still is best known for its mile-high swinging bridge, the highest in America, built in 1952 by Hugh Morton. The bridge links two of the mountain's rocky peaks, and is known as the "swinging" bridge due to its tendency to sway in high winds. Morton inherited the mountain from his grandfather and developed the tourist attractions. He died on June 1, 2006 at the age of 85. After Morton's death, he donated all of his photographs, including many of Grandfather Mountain, Mildred the Bear, and many other aspects of life on the Mountain to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

North Carolina (Listeni/ˌnɔrθ kærəˈlnə/) is a state in Southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west, Virginia to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. North Carolina is the 28th most extensive and the 10th most populous of the 50 United States. North Carolina is known as the Tar Heel State and the Old North State.

North Carolina is composed of 100 counties. North Carolina's two largest metropolitan areas are among the top ten fastest growing in the country: its capital, Raleigh, and its largest city, Charlotte. In the past five decades, North Carolina's economy has undergone a transition from heavy reliance upon tobacco, textiles, and furniture making to a more diversified economy with engineering, energy, biotechnology, and finance sectors.

The Mississippi River is the chief river of the largest drainage system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States (though its drainage basin reaches into Canada), it rises in northern Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for 2,530 miles (4,070 km) to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 31 US states and 2 Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth longest and tenth largest river in the world. The river either borders or cuts through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Native Americans long lived along the Mississippi and its tributaries. Most were hunter-gatherers or herders, but some, such as the Mound builders, formed prolific agricultural societies. The arrival of Europeans in the 1500s changed the native way of life as first explorers, then settlers, ventured into the basin in increasing numbers. The river served first as barrier – forming borders for New Spain, New France, and the early United States – then as vital transportation artery and communications link. In the 19th century, during the height of Manifest Destiny, the Mississippi and several western tributaries, most notably the Missouri, formed pathways for the western expansion of the United States.

The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains range. This province consists of northern and southern physiographic regions, which divide near the Roanoke River gap. The mountain range is located in the eastern United States, starting at its southernmost portion in Georgia, then ending northward in Pennsylvania. To the west of the Blue Ridge, between it and the bulk of the Appalachians, lies the Great Appalachian Valley, bordered on the west by the Ridge and Valley province of the Appalachian range.

The Blue Ridge Mountains are noted for their bluish color when seen from a distance. Trees put the "blue" in Blue Ridge, from the isoprene released into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the characteristic haze on the mountains and their distinctive color.

Mount Mitchell is the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains and the highest peak in the eastern United States. It was the highest point in any state of the United States until Texas joined the union in 1845. The nearest higher point is Lone Butte in Colorado, 1189 miles (1913 km) west. Mount Mitchell is located near Burnsville in Yancey County, North Carolina, in the Black Mountain subrange of the Appalachians, and about 32 miles (51 km) northeast of Asheville. It is protected by Mount Mitchell State Park and surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest.

The mountain was named after Elisha Mitchell, a professor at the University of North Carolina, who determined its height in 1835, and fell to his death at nearby Mitchell Falls in 1857, having returned to verify his earlier measurements.

An old-growth forest (also termed primary forest, virgin forest, primeval forest, late seral forest, or in Britain, ancient woodland) is a forest that has attained great age without significant disturbance, and thereby exhibits unique ecological features and in some cases may be classified as a climax community. Old-growth features include diversity of tree-related structures that serve as diversified wildlife habitat that leads to higher bio-diversity of the forested ecosystem. Diversified tree structure includes multi-layered canopies and canopy gaps, high variance of tree heights and diameters, diversity of decaying classes and sizes of woody debris, and diversity of tree species.

Old-growth forests tend to have more large trees and standing dead trees, multi-layered canopies with gaps resulting from the deaths of individual trees, and coarse woody debris on the forest floor.

In peak bagging terminology in the United States, the Southern Sixers refers to the group of mountains in the southern states of North Carolina and Tennessee with heights of at least six thousand feet (1829 m). The southern sixers are the tallest group of mountains in the eastern United States and the only peaks in the Appalachian Mountains besides New Hampshire's Mount Washington to exceed 6,000 feet.

Most of these mountains are located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (abbreviated GSMNP in the list), Mount Mitchell State Park (MMSP), along the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP), or in Cherokee or Pisgah National Forest. There are several, though, that are located on private property. All of these mountains are located within 32 miles (51 km) of the North Carolina - Tennessee border, with 12 on the state border itself and many more on various county borders.

The Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) is a long-distance trail, for hiking and backpacking, that runs across North Carolina from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. The trail's western endpoint is at Clingman's Dome, where it connects to the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Its eastern endpoint is in Jockey's Ridge State Park on the tallest sand dune on the east coast. The trail is envisioned as a scenic backbone of an interconnected trail system spanning the state. As such, the trail's route attempts to connect as many trail systems and natural scenic areas as practicable. A little over half of the trail is complete in multiple, disconnected segments across the state.

The Mountains-to-Sea State Park Trail was made an official land-based unit of the state park system by the General Assembly on August 2, 2000. Since that time, the State Trail unit has grown to encompass 691 acres (280 ha) in three tracks and 87 acres (35 ha) in conservation easements. Each of these tracks is leased to local governments for management as nature parks, under the guidance of the NC Division of Parks and Recreation (NCDPR). The vast majority of the foot trail is located on lands not directly managed as part of its associated state park unit.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road in the United States, noted for its scenic beauty. It runs for 469 miles (755 km) through twenty-nine Virginia and North Carolina counties, mostly along the Blue Ridge, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains. Its southern terminus is on the boundary between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina, from which it travels north to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and offers access to the Skyline Drive. While the two roads join together end-to-end, they are separate and distinct entities, built as two different projects and managed by two different National Park Service units. The Blue Ridge Parkway was built to connect Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Parkway, while not a "National Park," has been the most visited unit of the National Park System every year since 1946 except one (1949). Land on either side of the road is owned and maintained by the National Park Service and, in many places, parkway land is bordered by United States Forest Service property. The Parkway will be depicted on North Carolina's version of the America the Beautiful quarter in 2015.

Pisgah National Forest is a National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. It is administered by the United States Forest Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture. The Pisgah National Forest is completely contained within the state of North Carolina. The forest is managed together with the other three North Carolina National Forests (Croatan, Nantahala, and Uwharrie) from common headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina. There are local ranger district offices located in Pisgah Forest, Burnsville, and Nebo.

The Pisgah National Forest covers 512,758 acres (2,075.06 km2) of mountainous terrain in the southern Appalachian Mountains, including parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Balsam Mountains. Elevations reach over 6,000 feet (1,800 m) and include some of the highest mountains in the eastern United States. Mount Mitchell, in Mount Mitchell State Park, is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River and lies just outside the boundary of Pisgah National Forest. The forest also includes tracts surrounding the city of Asheville, the city of Brevard and land in the French Broad River Valley. Recreational opportunities include hiking and backpacking, among others. The land and its resources are also used for hunting, wildlife management, and timber harvesting, as well as the North Carolina Arboretum. The forest lies in parts of 12 counties in western North Carolina. In descending order they are Transylvania, McDowell, Haywood, Madison, Caldwell, Burke, Yancey, Buncombe, Avery, Mitchell, Henderson, and Watauga counties.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a United States National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site that straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The border between Tennessee and North Carolina runs northeast to southwest through the centerline of the park. It is the most visited national park in the United States. On its route from Maine to Georgia, the Appalachian Trail also passes through the center of the park. The park was chartered by the United States Congress in 1934 and officially dedicated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940. It encompasses 522,419 acres (816.28 sq mi; 2,114.15 km2), making it one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States. The main park entrances are located along U.S. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) at the towns of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Cherokee, North Carolina. It was the first national park whose land and other costs were paid for in part with federal funds; previous parks were funded wholly with state money or private funds.

Before the arrival of European settlers, the region was part of the homeland of the Cherokees. Frontierspeople began settling the land in the 18th and early 19th century. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, beginning the process that eventually resulted in the forced removal of all Indian tribes east of the Mississippi River to what is now Oklahoma. Many of the Cherokee left, but some, led by renegade warrior Tsali, hid out in the area that is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Some of their descendants now live in the Qualla Boundary to the south of the park.

The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains range. This province consists of northern and southern physiographic regions, which divide near the Roanoke River gap. The mountain range is located in the eastern United States, starting at its southernmost portion in Georgia, then ending northward in Pennsylvania. To the west of the Blue Ridge, between it and the bulk of the Appalachians, lies the Great Appalachian Valley, bordered on the west by the Ridge and Valley province of the Appalachian range.

The Blue Ridge Mountains are noted for their bluish color when seen from a distance. Trees put the "blue" in Blue Ridge, from the isoprene released into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the characteristic haze on the mountains and their distinctive color.

The Great Smoky Mountains are a mountain range rising along the Tennessee–North Carolina border in the southeastern United States. They are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, and form part of the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province. The range is sometimes called the Smoky Mountains and the name is commonly shortened to the Smokies. The Great Smokies are best known as the home of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which protects most of the range. The park was established in 1934, and, with over 9 million visits per year, it is the most-visited national park in the United States.

The Great Smokies are part of an International Biosphere Reserve. The range is home to an estimated 187,000 acres (76,000 ha) of old growth forest, constituting the largest such stand east of the Mississippi River. The cove hardwood forests in the range's lower elevations are among the most diverse ecosystems in North America, and the Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest that coats the range's upper elevations is the largest of its kind. The Great Smokies are also home to the densest black bear population in the Eastern United States and the most diverse salamander population outside of the tropics.

Mount Mitchell is the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains and the highest peak in the eastern United States. It was the highest point in any state of the United States until Texas joined the union in 1845. The nearest higher point is Lone Butte in Colorado, 1189 miles (1913 km) west. Mount Mitchell is located near Burnsville in Yancey County, North Carolina, in the Black Mountain subrange of the Appalachians, and about 32 miles (51 km) northeast of Asheville. It is protected by Mount Mitchell State Park and surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest.

The mountain was named after Elisha Mitchell, a professor at the University of North Carolina, who determined its height in 1835, and fell to his death at nearby Mitchell Falls in 1857, having returned to verify his earlier measurements.

The geography of North Carolina falls naturally into three divisions or sections—the Appalachian Mountains formed mostly by the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, the Middle or Piedmont Plateau, and the Eastern or Tidewater section, also known as the Coastal Plain. North Carolina covers 53,821 square miles (139,396 km2) and is 503 miles (810 km) long by 150 miles (240 km) wide. The physical characteristics of the state can be pictured as a surface spread out upon a vast declivity, sloping down from the summits of the Smoky Mountains, an altitude of near seven thousand feet, to the ocean level.

North Carolina (Listeni/ˌnɔrθ kærəˈlnə/) is a state in Southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west, Virginia to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. North Carolina is the 28th most extensive and the 10th most populous of the 50 United States. North Carolina is known as the Tar Heel State and the Old North State.

North Carolina is composed of 100 counties. North Carolina's two largest metropolitan areas are among the top ten fastest growing in the country: its capital, Raleigh, and its largest city, Charlotte. In the past five decades, North Carolina's economy has undergone a transition from heavy reliance upon tobacco, textiles, and furniture making to a more diversified economy with engineering, energy, biotechnology, and finance sectors.

The United States is a country in the Northern Hemisphere, Western Hemisphere, and the Eastern Hemisphere. It consists of forty-eight contiguous states in North America, Alaska, a peninsula which forms the northwestern most part of North America, and Hawaii, an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. There are several United States territories in the Pacific and Caribbean. The term "United States", when used in the geographical sense, means the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands of the United States. The country shares land borders with Canada and Mexico and maritime (water) borders with Russia, Cuba, and the Bahamas in addition to Canada and Mexico.

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