Clingmans Dome (or Clingman's Dome) is a mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, in the southeastern United States. At an elevation of 6,643 feet (2,025 m), it is the highest mountain in the Great Smokies, the highest point in the state of Tennessee, and the highest point along the 2,174-mile (3,499 km) Appalachian Trail. It is the third-highest mountain in the Appalachian range.
It's seven miles to the end of Clingmans Dome Road and there are scenic pullouts with endless views of ridges and valleys along the way. The road ends in a large parking area from which a 0.5 mile trail leads to the summit. The trail is paved but steep, and leads to an observation tower on top.
Besides the trail to the summit, there are several trails that start on Clingmans Dome Road and parking area. The Appalachian Trail (AT) crosses Clingmans Dome, marking the highest point along its journey from Georgia to Maine. The Forney Ridge Trail leads to Andrews Bald, a high-elevation grassy bald.
Clingman's Dome is a high point in the Appalachian Range and offers views of the Smokies, overlooking North Carolina and Tennessee. The walk up to the observation tower is an easy, paved walk that is stroller friendly. It is usually crowded in the summer, but not so crowded that you can't enjoy the view.
After you drive to the parking lot, there is a steep walk to the top of the mountain. The walk is worth the view. It took us probably an hour or more to reach the top and get down again. There are several places to stop and sit for a few minutes before you start back up the mountain. Once you get to the top you have to walk up this circular ramp to the top where you can see 360 degrees around. You will be rewarded with fantastic views.
A highlight of the trek to the top is that you can walk on part of the Appalachian Trail. There is also a sign that you can take your picture with to prove you were on the Appalachian Trail.
It may take a while to get up to but it is worth the climb in the car. Make sure to bring a jacket, the temp will drop a good 20 degrees from the floor to the top of Clingmans dome. Be prepared that from the parking lot to the top of the mountain there is a pretty steep walk on a paved walkway. Take it slow. When we were present on the walk we had a baby black bear cub tumble onto the walkway from the bush then run down the hill. Go on as clear a day as possible to try and ensure a good view up at just over 6,000 feet.
One of the best views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Easily accessible for both young and old as the paved road ends in parking before you begin the short trek to the top. At the viewing station you are provided with a stunning 360 degrees of the beautiful mountains. Other hiking trails are near as well as the viewing station at Newfound Gap. Not to be missed opportunity for great views!
Clingman’s Dome earns its title at
6,643 feet and was named after U.S. Senator Thomas Lanier Clingman. It
is the tallest mountain in the Smoky Mountains National Park. A paved road leads to within 300 feet of the summit, and from
there visitors can walk a trail to the top. The area is developed
with picnic tables and restrooms.
Its kinda scary to me being a mom of a toddler doesnt help that any lol! I felt as if i was having to constantly watch him and hold his hand! The views are a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!! lol We walked the very steep half-mile trail to the peak and the observation tower! It will truly take your breath away and make you loose your stomach lol!
The drive up to Clingman's Dome is packed with beautiful scenery. The walk up to the top is a bit of a hike, but worth it when you reach the top and there are plenty of benches to rest on along the way. The view at the top is gorgeous and makes the climb seem like it was a piece of cake. The positive: going down is a lot easier:)
This was such a beautiful trip and totally worth every second. the roads are closed during some of the winter months because of the weather and the temperature is quite different than the one on the ground. i was 6 months pregnant and i made the treck to the top. you drive the majority of the way to the top of the mountain and then walk the last .5 mile. The walk is on a paved path with benches along the way to rest. once you get to the top you see an amazing view. you are literally standing in the clouds. you can watch the clouds blow right around you. We went right at sunset and watched the sun sink into the mountains and it was breath taking! be sure to bring a camera if you go. the view is amazing. also be sure to bring a jacket. there is quite a temperature difference!
Although we have enjoyed the Smokies before, this was our first experience at Clingmans Dome and we sure were missing an absolutely beautiful area. First let me tell you, make sure you have at least 1/2 tank of gas before taking this scenic, curvy, and steep drive. We had 1/4 tank and by the time we reached our destination, were down to our last 20 miles of gas. Granted, we have an SUV that doesn't get great mileage anyway but it was a little scary wondering if we would make it back to a gas station in time (which we did but I wouldn't want to do it again). Back to the review - even though we didn't have the best weather, it was inspiring to be there. It's a trip for young and old, people coming and going from all over the country (our kids love to see the different license plates when we travel). The observation tower is about .5 miles from the parking area and offers a 360 degree view. It is the highest mountain in the Smokies, the highest point in the state of Tennessee, and the highest point along the Appalachian Trail. It is the third-highest mountain in the state of North Carolina and the third-highest in the entire Appalachian mountain range. It was cold when we went - the normal temp that day at our hotel was in the high 80's and by the time we made it to Clingmans Dome, it had dropped to 63 degrees. Also, this road is closed during the winter so make sure to check the website before going. The best part - it's free!!!