The Rhön Mountains are a group of low mountains in central Germany, located around the border area where the states of Hesse, Bavaria and Thuringia come together. These mountains, which are at the extreme southeast end of the East Hesse Highlands (Osthessisches Bergland), are partly a result of ancient volcanic activity. They are separated from the Vogelsberg Mountains by the Fulda River and its valley. The highest mountain in the Rhön is the Wasserkuppe (950.2 m) which is in Hesse. The Rhön Mountains are a popular tourist destination and walking area.
The name Rhön is often thought to derive from the Celtic word raino (=hilly), but numerous other interpretations are also possible. Records of the monks at Fulda from the middle ages describe the area around Fulda as well as more distant parts of the Rhön as Buchonia, the land of ancient beech woods. In the Middle Ages beech was an important raw material. Large scale wood clearing resulted in the "land of open spaces" (Land der offenen Fernen), 30% of which, today, is forested.
Lying within the aforementioned states, the Rhön is bounded by the Knüll to the northwest, the Thuringian Forest to the northeast, the Grabfeld to the southeast, Lower Franconia to the south, the Spessart forest to the southwest and the Vogelsberg mountains to the west.