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Clingmans Dome

Intermediate
 4.3 (3) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Visit the highest point in Tennessee for sweeping, 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains and forest.


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Map Key

1.3

Miles

2.1

KM

Out and Back

6,646' 2,026 m

High

6,319' 1,926 m

Low

327' 100 m

Up

326' 99 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (5°)

46%

Max Grade (25°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Geological Significance · Historical Significance · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly This short, easy-to-follow trail is perfect for the entire family—the views are incredible and the tower is a fun goal. While it is paved, the trail may be too steep for strollers.

Clingmans Dome Road is closed December through April for weather—check with the NPS for condition updates.

Overview

Generally an agreed upon must-do when visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park—the views can't be beat, nor can summiting the third highest point west of the Mississippi!

Need to Know

This is one of the most popular attractions within Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so be prepared to encounter crowds and potential parking challenges!

Because of its elevation, Clingmans Dome often has weather that's drastically colder than the rest of the park, so bring extra layers and know that the summit is often cloudy and windy.

Description

To access the trailhead, turn off Highway 441 S around Newfound Gap onto Clingmans Dome Road which will end at the trailhead, visitor center, and parking lot. Enjoy the drive—the views are spectacular along the way and abundant pull-offs present opportunities to stop along the way.

The paved trail departs from the west end of the parking lot. Stop in at the visitor center to get oriented and learn about the flora and fauna, and natural and cultural history of the area. Steadily sloping upwards, the trail winds through the spruce and fir forest, offering glimpses of the surrounding views, until it reaches the observation tower.

Often compared to a flying saucer, the observation tower itself is a fascinating experience. Ascend the full loop, up and around, to the top deck where the entirety of Great Smoky Mountains National Park spreads beneath you. From there, either head back to the parking lot, or hop on the Appalachian Trail for a mile or two for a longer hike.

Contacts

Shared By:

Amber Scott

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 3 votes

#3322

Overall
  4.3 from 3 votes
5 Star
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3 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#122

in North Carolina

#3,322

Overall
64 Views Last Month
314 Since Mar 18, 2020
Intermediate

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Photos

Plenty of mountains to view from Clingman's Dome.
Mar 31, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
Good morning, Great Smokies!
Aug 4, 2016 near Bryson…, NC
Great views from up here.
Jun 9, 2016 near Bryson…, NC
Below the observation deck.  There is a landing there which would make a great spot for lunch.
Nov 13, 2015 near Gatlinburg, TN
Heading to Clingmans Dome Observation Tower.
Aug 4, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
View from the very beginning of Andrews Bald!
Jun 28, 2018 near Bryson…, NC

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Check-Ins

Jul 6, 2020
Stephanie Cairney
Jun 19, 2020
Katherine Jane
Jun 16, 2020
Jacob Sensenig
Jun 13, 2020
Stephanie Dagen
May 20, 2020
Lisa Lynn
Aug 2, 2019
Anette Cheramie
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