The highest elevation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Clingmans Dome standing at 6,643 feet above sea level. This peak straddles two states and is the tallest peak in Tennessee and the third tallest peak in North Carolina. Clingmans Dome is also the highest peak on the 2,174 mile Appalachian Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine.
It was freezing the day we visited Clingmans Dome. I don’t mean it was just cold. It was 29 degrees and the road to the Dome was closed. It had snowed the night before and there was still ice on the roads. Fortunately, we were in luck as they did open the road just after noon but it was still in the 30’s with strong winds on top of the peak.
When we drove to the Dome the first time, that morning, the scenery was amazing, there was ice and snow on the trees and with the way the sun was hitting the trees, the whole side of the mountain was glistening.
Clingmans Dome is not an easy place to visit. Besides the cold, wind, and closed roads, there is a precipitous half-mile hike to the observation tower. The hike is so steep, they have benches every 30 feet or so and some people could not make the climb.
When you do make it to the top, the tower has a winding ramp to the 360 degree view on the top. The day we were there, parts of the ramp and outlook landing were still icy from the snow and freezing temps. You can see for 100 miles from this outlook spot on a clear day.
The views from Clingmans Dome and even the parking lot were so spectacular it was hard to select the best pictures for this post!
You will enjoy the Clingman Dome views if you decide to visit the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Consider this stop a high priority on your must do list.
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