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city, seat of Buncombe county, west-central North Carolina, U.S. Asheville lies in the Blue Ridge Mountains, at the junction of the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers. It has a mild climate and is built on an uneven plateau at an elevation of about 2,200 feet (670 metres). Asheville is the eastern gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee Indian Reservation and is the headquarters of Croatan, Nantahala, Pisgah, and Uwharrie national forests. Nearby Mount Mitchell, at 6,684 feet (2,037 metres), is the highest point in North Carolina and the highest peak east of the Mississippi River.