Smoky Mountain Trail: Clingmans Dome

Smoky mountain river flowing in autumn fall leaves nature

Clingmans Dome – the observation tower is a concrete edifice standing atop the highest point in Tennessee, 6643 feet above sea level. The tower actually straddles the Tennessee/North Carolina State line, however North Carolina boasts a taller peak, Mount Mitchell, 70 miles to the northeast. Surrounding firs encroach upon the panoramic view from the top. Photographs at all compass points detail the peaks and other pertinent landmarks visible from the top. Sunsets and sunrises are spectacular from here on clear days. The trail is wide and paved, much more like a road. Benches are provided at several locations along the way. The climb is 400 feet in a half-mile. Most books list this as strenuous; for hikers it is easy to moderate. Although this trip is a quick view, it should not be passed. It is the highest point in the park; the view is excellent and it is the classic Smoky Mountain photo stop.