The Cumberland Mountains are a mountain range in the southeastern section of the Appalachian Mountains. They are located in southern West Virginia, western Virginia, eastern edges of Kentucky, and eastern middle Tennessee, including the Crab Orchard Mountains. Their highest peak, with an elevation of 4,223feet (1,287m) above mean sea level, is High Knob, which is located near Norton, Virginia.
According to the USGS, the Cumberland Mountain range is 131 miles (211 km) long and 20 miles (32 km) wide, bounded by the Russell Fork on the northeast, the Pound River and Powell River on the southeast, Cove Creek on the southwest, and Tackett Creek, the Cumberland River, Poor Fork Cumberland River, and Elkhorn Creek on the northwest. The crest of the range forms the Kentucky and Virginia boundary from the Tennessee border to Russell Fork River.
Variant names of the Cumberland Mountains include Cumberland Mountain, Cumberland Range, Ouasioto Mountains, Ouasiota Mountains, Laurel Mountain, and Pine Mountain. They are named for Prince William, Duke of Cumberland.
Geology and physiography
The Cumberland Mountains are a physiographic section of the larger Appalachian Plateau province, which in turn is part of the larger Appalachian physiographic division.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tennessee) is involved with the conservation of the mixed mesophytic forests within the Northern Cumberland Plateau. The conservation organizations include The Nature Conservancy, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council with focus on the Cumberland Plateau.