Clingmans Dome Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC, TN
miles
LENGTH 1.3 MILES
DIFFICULTY 2.2 Easy
DURATION 1 hour
ELEVATION GAIN
360
feet
TRAIL TYPE
There And
Back Again
Clingmans Dome

December 01, 2018 - The 7 mile road leading to the Clingmans Dome parking area is closed between December 1st through March 31st every year. All trails are still open if accessing the area from a different trailhead.

Rising to an elevation of 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Smokies, Tennessee, and the third highest of the Southern Sixers. The paved trail to the 54 foot observation tower offers unparalleled views and is one of the shortest trails in the area, making this one of the most visited areas in the park. If you’re looking for solitude, look elsewhere.

Look for the 7 mile access road to Clingmans Dome just after Newfound Gap if coming from Gatlinburg. This road is closed from December 1 through March 31 and when there is particularly bad weather. If hiking in fall or early spring, call ahead to make sure the road is open. The large parking lot immediately tells you how much traffic this summit sees. Restrooms are available at the parking lot and just up the trail is an information center and store. But you don’t have to wait for the views; the parking area is home to massive views to the southwest, including Fontana Lake.

Although the paved trail is only .5 miles to the base of the observation tower, it gains 360 feet over the short distance. This is steep by most standards. Benches are available for those that need a break. As you climb, the view from the parking lot gets better and better, but only hints at the views to come. Just before reaching the observation tower, a couple of side trails split off to the left, connecting with the Appalachian Trail that passes nearby. This is the highest point along the entire AT, stretching from Georgia to Maine.

The 54 foot spiral observation tower at the summit of Clingmans Dome is the real reward. Taking the hiker above the surrounding trees, the tower offers expansive 360° views. From here, you can see Gatlinburg, Cherokee, Mt. LeConte, Thunderhead Mountain, and even Mount Pisgah and Cold Mountain in Pisgah National Forest. Information signs for each cardinal direction help locate notable peaks and other points of interest.

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Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Terrain Map Click to control map
Details
length1.3 miles
difficulty2.2 Easy
duration1 hour
features Paved Path  Summit  Views 
trail typeThere And Back Again
blazeNone
elevation gain360 ft.
park/forestGreat Smoky Mountains National Park
ranger districtGreat Smoky Mountain National Park
107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
865-436-1200 (dial 0 for the Visitor's Center)
parking feeNone
trailhead coordinates 35.556866, -83.496239 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°33.41, W 83°29.77 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 35°33'25'', N 35°33'25'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
35.556866, -83.496239 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°33.41, W 83°29.77 most GPS units use this one
N 35°33'25'', N 35°33'25'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
From US 441 head down the 7 mile Clingmans Dome Road. This road is closed from December 1st to March 31st.
Notes
For up to date park and road closures, visit GSMNP Alerts or follow @SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter.
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Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
5 (2)
eskeban-3 months ago
Outstanding view in the clouds
There was some clouds moving through rolling over the mountains beneath our feet. It was pretty magic. Let's just ignore the bathroom situation. Not good.
Easy-Medium | Hiked Summer 2018
hikethesouth-8 months ago
A High Point
It's the high point of the Smokies...literally! Nothing but amazing views, even from the parking lot.
Easy | Hiked Summer 2013
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