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.
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.
Bays Mountain Park
There is a nature park and planetarium located on Bays Mountain in Kingsport, featuring cross-cut viewing sections of beaver dams, bee hives, cave systems, and more. The outdoor park features otters, an aviary, and several free-roaming deer, as well as a wolf pen. Wolf howling sessions are held regularly, where people are allowed to howl with the wolves, spurring the wolves into howling even more. One popular activity is called the Barge Ride. This attraction features a ride through the Bays Mountain Reservoir on a pontoon boat while learning about the nature around you. The park also features a freeze-drying laboratory where animals of the region who die of natural causes are preserved for everyone to examine up close.
- Williams, "Fort Robinson on the Holston," East Tennessee Historical Society Publications, no.4 (1932)
- Samuel C. Williams, Dawn of Tennessee Valley and Tennessee History (Johnson City, 1937)
- Long, Howard. Kingsport: A Romance of Industry. Overmountain Press (October 1993)
- Wolfe, Margaret Ripley. Kingsport Tennessee: A Planned American City. University Press of Kentucky (November 1987)
- Bays Mountain Park website
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Bays Mountain