How Did the Mountains Get Their Names?

Listen To This Article - Click Play

Clingmans Dome in the SmokiesWhen you visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you will experience pure relaxation as you take in the mountain scenery and crisp mountain air. Have you ever wondered where the mountains got their names? Here’s what we know:

When Arnold Guyot, a Swiss geographer, would measure mountains, he would typically name them. When the U.S. Geological Survey became active, they accepted the names that Guyot created, or named mountains after those who were responsible for creating the national park.

Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and also the highest in Tennessee. Clingmans Dome stands at 6,643 feet above sea level. Clingmans Dome was named after a North Carolina Senator, Thomas Lanier Clingman. He believed the mountain was higher than any other mountain in all of New England. When Guyot measured, Thomas Clingman was correct.

Mount Kephart

Mount Kephart, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was named for Horace Kephart. Horace was an American travel writer, as well as an advocate for the national park. He wrote about his life in the Great Smoky Mountains and was later named a father of the national park for his dedication to creating the park.

Mount Collins

Mount Collins was named for Bobby Collins, a local Smokies guide before the Civil War. Collins actually lead Guyot up peaks while carrying large thermometers and barometers. These were the only tools used to measure mountains at the time.

Looking for more information about the national park? Click HERE to check out Visit My Smokies’ page filled with information about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While you’re there, you can find everything you need to know about hiking trails, auto tours and wildlife viewing.


Line Login Icon

Sign Up

Already have a login ? Login


Please login to your account.

Create Your Account