Newport is located at 35°57?48?N 83°11?48?W / 35.96333°N 83.19667°W / 35.96333; -83.19667(35.963318, -83.196542). The town is situated along the Pigeon River in an area where the Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains descend into the French Broad and Nolichucky drainage basins. English Mountain rises prominently to the southwest and Hall Top Mountain rises to the southeast, with the Pigeon River cutting a valley between the two. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park boundary passes some 10 miles (16 km) to the south.
The confluence of the French Broad, Nolichucky, and Pigeon occurs 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Newport in an area once known as Forks-of-the-River. This area now comprises the northeastern section of Douglas Lake, which was created by an impoundment of the French Broad by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1940s. The French Broad eventually merges with the Holston River in Knoxville to form the Tennessee River, some 30 miles (48 km) to the west.