If your upcoming trip to the Smokies includes an excursion into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, consider making Clingman’s Dome one of your stopping points. At 6,643 feet, this site is the highest point in the national park, in addition to being the highest point in Tennessee and third highest east of the Mississippi River.
On clear days, visitors can see points as far away as 100 miles. To get the best views, we recommend a short hike to the top of the observation tower, located at the summit. Signs along Newfound Gap Road (the main road connecting Tennessee and North Carolina) will direct you to the Clingman’s Dome parking area, which is about seven miles away on Clingman’s Dome Road. Along the way are several scenic pull-off areas if you’d like to make additional stops to enjoy views of expansive ridges and valleys.
Once you arrive at the parking area, it’s about a half-mile (although a steep half-mile) walk up the concrete ramp to the top of the tower. From there, you’ll enjoy 360-degree views of surrounding landscapes, covering both Tennessee and North Carolina.
In addition to the paved trail to the summit, several other trails begin along Clingman’s Dome Road and the observation tower parking area. The Appalachian Trail crosses the site (making it the highest point along the AT), and the Forney Ridge Trail leads to Andrews Bald.
Note that because of its elevation, it’s common to encounter clouds and precipitation at Clingman’s Dome, especially in certain seasons. The temperatures up there are usually 10 to 20 degrees cooler than in the surrounding lowlands, so be sure to plan and dress accordingly. Also note that Clingman’s Dome Road is closed from December through March, usually because road conditions are simply too treacherous to contend with during the winter months.
While staying in Gatlinburg, we hope that you’ll be spending your nights with us at Heartland Rentals. While we offer competitive rates on our cabin rentals in Gatlinburg, cheap does not describe the quality of accommodations you’ll receive. Our luxury cabins offer only the latest in amenities and décor, from hot tubs and fireplaces to cool game rooms and porches with awesome views of the Smoky Mountains.