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Clingmans Dome

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

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Clingmans Dome

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  • View from parking lot.- Clingmans Dome
  • Crowds heading up the trail to Clingmans Dome.- Clingmans Dome
  • The observation tower atop Clingmans Dome.- Clingmans Dome
  • Views from the Clingmans Dome observation tower.- Clingmans Dome
  • Views from Clingmans Dome observation tower.- Clingmans Dome
  • Views from the Clingmans Dome observation tower.- Clingmans Dome
  • Sunrise from the Clingmans Dome Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.- Clingmans Dome
  • Sunrise from the Clingmans Dome Road- Clingmans Dome
  • - Clingmans Dome
  • A spruce fir tree in the early morning light. The spruce fir forest is home to many threatened species and the endangered spruce-fir moss spider. Due to logging, pollution, and invasive insects, their fight for survival continues. - Clingmans Dome
  • First light of the day from the Clingmans Dome parking area. - Clingmans Dome
  • Early morning is a wonderful time to explore Clingmans, with less crowds and more beauty than you'll find in mid-day. - Clingmans Dome
  • A look back at the beginning of a new day from the Clingmans Dome observation tower. - Clingmans Dome
  • If you're going to Clingmans for the sunrise, arrive 30 minutes before the actual sunrise time to experience the vibrant and bold colors of first light. - Clingmans Dome
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Incredible views.
Cons: 
Crowds. Traffic congestion.
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Region:
Smoky Mountains, TN
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
340.00 ft (103.63 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.20 mi (1.93 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,300.00 ft (1,920.24 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The short paved trail to the summit is a popular tourist stop for good reason: Fantastic 360-degree views are to be found from the observation tower.

To get to Clingmans Dome, exit Newfound Gap Road and follow Clingmans Dome Road for approximately 7 miles. You will be greeted with stellar views to the south and down into the Forney Creek valley as you arrive in the parking lot. There is a visitor center located near the start of the trail where rangers can answer any questions you may have.

The trail proceeds for a half mile up to the observation tower at the summit of Clingmans Dome. The tower was built in 1959 and offers views that can stretch for up to 100 miles on a clear day. Just below the summit you will find a short spur trail that connects up with the Appalachian Trail. Jumping on the AT from Clingmans Dome is a great choice for many, and it offers a chance to escape the crowds and experience more backcountry in Smokies.

Please note that Clingmans Dome Road is closed from December 1 through March 31.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(6 within a 30 mile radius)

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(33 within a 30 mile radius)

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