The town of Tazewell is situated on the northern slope of Wallen Ridge, the northernmost of a series of long, narrow ridges that comprise the Ridge and Valley Province of the Appalachian Mountains. Big Barren Creek rises in the western section of Tazewell and flows southwestward for approximately 10 miles (16 km) before emptying into the Norris Lake impoundment of the Clinch River. The streams in the eastern section of Tazewell are part of the watershed of the Powell River, a Clinch tributary that flows westward a few miles north of Tazewell.
Tazewell is centered just east of the junction of U.S. Route 25, which connects the town to Morristown to the southeast and Middlesboro, Kentucky to the north, and Tennessee State Route 33, which connects the town to Maynardville to the southwest and the upper Clinch Valley to the northeast.
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