Geography of the County
Madison County is a heavily (almost 75%) forested 452 square miles. Nearly 25% of the land is U.S. Forest Service land—the Pisgah National Forest. The French Broad River (the third oldest river in the world) flows north/northwest through the county almost cutting the county in half and paralleling the main street of downtown Marshall and crossing the Appalachian Trail in the town of Hot Springs. The Blue Ridge Mountain portion of the Appalachian Mountain chain runs through the county. Elevations range from 1250 feet (along the French Broad River basin near the border with Tennessee) to 5670 feet (at Bald Mountain which straddles the North Carolina/Tennessee border in the northeast portion of the county).