Description - At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 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, stands higher.
The cool, wet conditions on the summit of Clingmans Dome make it a coniferous rain forest. 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 eventually replace the dying trees. 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.
- Clingmans Dome is a popular destination. Located along the Stateline ridge, half of it lies in North Carolina and half lies in Tennessee. The peak is accessible from Clingmans Dome Road and 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.
Recreation - People can hike and cross-country ski on the road during the winter. The Dome itself offers great vistas.
Climate - 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 before heading to the tower.
Clingmans Dome is located on the Tennessee side of the central region of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From Sevierville, travel south on U.S. Highway 441 for approximately two miles and turn left onto U.S. Highway 321. Follow this road for approximately 0.7 miles and turn left onto Newfound Gap Road. Continue for approximately one mile and turn right onto Clingmans Dome Road (this road is closed in the winter). Clingmans Dome is approximately one mile down the road.