Geography of Giles County, Tennessee

Giles County, located in southern Middle Tennessee, is characterized by its diverse geography, rich history, and scenic beauty. Covering an area of approximately 611 square miles, Giles County is known for its rolling hills, fertile valleys, and numerous waterways shaped by its geographical features. Check climateforcities to learn more about the state of Tennessee.


Giles County lies within the Highland Rim region of Tennessee, situated between the Appalachian Plateau to the east and the Nashville Basin to the west. The county’s landscape is characterized by rolling hills, limestone bluffs, and fertile river valleys, with elevations ranging from around 500 feet above sea level in the valleys to over 1,200 feet in the hillier areas.

The county is traversed by several major rivers, including the Elk River, which flows through the central part of the county, and the Richland Creek, which forms part of the western boundary. These rivers, along with numerous smaller creeks and streams, provide habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife and offer opportunities for fishing, boating, and other recreational activities.


Giles County experiences a humid subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and mild, damp winters. The climate is influenced by the county’s inland location and its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, which contributes to the region’s relatively mild winters and warm summers.

Summers in Giles County are hot and humid, with average high temperatures ranging from the upper 80s to the low 90s Fahrenheit. Heatwaves are common during the summer months, with temperatures occasionally reaching into the 100s. Thunderstorms are frequent, bringing heavy rainfall and occasional gusty winds.

Winters in Giles County are mild, with average high temperatures typically in the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit. While snowfall is infrequent, light snow and ice can occur occasionally, particularly in January and February. However, most winter precipitation falls in the form of rain.

Spring and fall are transitional seasons in Giles County, characterized by fluctuating temperatures and changing foliage. Spring brings warmer weather and the blooming of flowers, while fall sees temperatures gradually cooling and the onset of colorful foliage as the leaves change before winter sets in.

Rivers and Lakes

Giles County is home to several rivers, streams, and lakes, which play a crucial role in the region’s ecology, economy, and recreation.

The Elk River is the largest river in Giles County, flowing through the central part of the county from north to south. The river provides habitat for a variety of fish species, including bass, catfish, and sunfish, making it popular among anglers. The Elk River also offers opportunities for boating, kayaking, and wildlife viewing.

In addition to the Elk River, Giles County contains several smaller rivers and streams, including Richland Creek, Campbell Creek, and Sugar Creek. These waterways provide habitat for fish and wildlife and offer opportunities for fishing, canoeing, and birdwatching.

Giles County also contains several lakes and reservoirs, both natural and man-made. One of the largest lakes in the county is Shoal Creek Reservoir, located near the town of Pulaski. This reservoir offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and picnicking, attracting visitors from across the region.


The vegetation of Giles County is predominantly composed of forests, grasslands, and agricultural fields.

Deciduous forests cover much of the county, consisting of species such as oak, hickory, and maple. These forests provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species, including deer, turkeys, and songbirds, and contribute to the county’s scenic beauty and recreational opportunities.

Grasslands and meadows are also common in Giles County, particularly in the valleys and low-lying areas where agriculture is prevalent. These grasslands provide habitat for grassland birds, small mammals, and pollinators, as well as grazing land for livestock.

Agriculture is a major land use in Giles County, with large tracts of land devoted to the production of crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat, as well as livestock grazing. The fertile soils of the region, combined with adequate rainfall and a favorable climate, support a thriving agricultural industry that contributes to the local economy.

Human Impact

Human activity has had a significant impact on the geography of Giles County, particularly in terms of agriculture, urbanization, and transportation.

Agriculture is the primary economic activity in Giles County, with farming and ranching providing livelihoods for many residents. Large-scale crop production and livestock farming contribute to the local economy and provide food and fiber for domestic and international markets.

Urbanization and suburban sprawl have led to the conversion of agricultural land and natural habitats into residential and commercial developments in some parts of Giles County, particularly around the larger towns and cities such as Pulaski and Ardmore. While this has brought economic growth and opportunities to the region, it has also raised concerns about habitat loss, water pollution, and traffic congestion.

Transportation infrastructure in Giles County includes highways, railroads, and airports, which facilitate the movement of goods and people within the region and beyond. Interstate 65 runs north-south through the county, providing access to major cities such as Nashville and Birmingham. Railroads, including the Norfolk Southern Railway, serve industrial facilities and agricultural markets in the county, while airports in nearby towns offer connections to regional and national destinations.


In conclusion, Giles County, Tennessee, offers a diverse array of geographical features, including rivers, forests, and agricultural fields. The county’s humid subtropical climate, with its warm summers and mild winters, influences life in the region and shapes activities such as agriculture, recreation, and tourism. While human activity has altered the landscape, efforts to conserve and protect the county’s natural resources ensure that its geography remains a defining feature of the region for generations to come.