At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is Great Smoky Mountains National Park's highest point. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the second highest point east of the Mississippi. Only North Carolina's Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) rises higher.
Clingmans Dome is a popular Park destination. Located along the state-line ridge, it is half in North Carolina and half in Tennessee. The peak is accessible after driving Clingmans Dome Road from Newfound Gap, and then walking a steep half-mile trail. A paved trail leads to a 54-foot observation tower. The Appalachian Trail crosses Clingmans Dome, marking the highest point along its 2,144 mile journey.
Vistas from Clingmans Dome are spectacular. On clear, pollution-free days, views expand over 100 miles and into seven states. However, air pollution limits average viewing distances to 22 miles. Despite this handicap, breathtaking scenes delight those ascending the tower. It is a great place for sunrises and sunsets.
Although Clingmans Dome is open year-round, the road leading to it is closed from December 1 through April 1, and whenever weather conditions require. People can hike and cross-country ski on the road during the winter. FREE Visitor Information
The cool, wet conditions on Clingmans Dome's summit make it a coniferous rainforest. Unfortunately, pests, disease, and environmental degradation threaten the unique and fragile spruce-fir forest. Dead trunks litter the area, and dying trees struggle to survive another year. Berries thrive in the open areas, and a young forest will replace the dying trees.
WEATHER: Cloudy days, precipitation, and cold temperatures reveal the hostile environment atop Clingmans Dome. Proper preparation is essential for a good visit. Weather conditions atop Clingmans Dome change quickly. Snow can fall from anytime between September and May. Get a current weather forecast here before heading to the tower.
Although the Appalachian Trail spans the entire range of the Appalachian Mountains, one of the most popular parts of the trail is in the Smoky Mountain region. The AT crosses Clingmans Dome which borders Tennessee and North Carolina. Hikers will encounter graded switchbacks, steep climbs, undulating ridges or rocky scrambles. The path is often rugged and narrow. Many areas are rocky.
This section of the Trail is remote, with long, strenuous climbs. The high ridges along the North Carolina-Tennessee border are prone to winter weather.
A Clingmans Dome Sunset is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. Amateur and professional photographers form a line at the Clingmans Dome area approximately 45 minutes prior to sunset.
This is one of the most breathtaking events you will ever witness as the sky displays spectacular scenery of clouds, mist, and the sun as it throw off many shades of red and orange before it moves straight across the sky and slides perfectly into a white circle.
The sunset process takes a few minutes, so be prepared to take an extended series of photographs as this miraculous performance occurs. View images here. Clingmans Dome Revealed
Fall Photo Tour
Fall foliage at Clingmans Dome and in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must see. Leaves begin to change to rich shades of red, orange, and yellow in mid-October. Views from Clingmans Dome are magnificent and a drive over Newfound Gap Road.
A drive into nearby Gatlinburg will be rewarding as you discover many great restaurants to whet your cool weather appetite. From steak houses to mom and pop diners, take your choice.
If you choose to head to Cherokee from Clingmans Dome, you will find some really good mom and pop restaurants which serve up a hearty breakfast, tasty lunch, and for dinner -- some of the best food you will ever enjoy. Fall photo tour
Mountain Vacation Cabins
Mountain Vacation Cabins provide you with all the amenities of home and more. Imagine yourself relaxing in a hot tub on the deck of your cabin as you overlook mountain vistas. The cool air is invigorating, but the warmth of the water prepares you for a hearty mountain breakfast or relaxes you before you sit in front of a blazing fire before bedtime.
You can choose from a romantic honeymoon cabin, a larger cabin for a family getaway, or a big cabin for your group retreat.
Avoid stress and make your reservation online at any of our associated cabin rentals here.