GSM view from Clingmans in winter
January 7, 2019

If you are a fan of cross-country skiing, you will love the unique opportunity to explore Clingmans Dome Road! This scenic, 7-mile road leads to Clingmans Dome, which is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi! If you are up for the entire journey, the observation tower on the summit of Clingmans Dome offers stunning panoramic views of the Smokies. Here are 3 more reasons to go cross-country skiing on Clingmans Dome Road:

1. Ideal Snow Conditions

Although Clingmans Dome Road is a popular tourist destination in the warmer months of the year, it is closed to all motorized vehicles from December 1st to March 31st. This means that you can practically have the road to yourself while enjoying the spectacular winter scenery! Due to the high elevation of the road, it usually gets more snow than anywhere else in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Since the road is closed all winter, it is never plowed and offers spectacular snow conditions for cross-country skiing! Note that Clingmans Dome Road is accessed via Newfound Gap Road, so just make sure that road is not closed due to snowy or icy conditions during your visit!

2. Visit the Observation Tower


Although you can hike to the observation tower at Clingmans Dome during warmer times of the year, there is something special about reaching the site on your cross-country skis! While the 14 mile round trip excursion is certainly an ambitious one for even the most avid cross-country skiers, the reward is well worth it. After all, there is virtually no other time of year where you can have the observation tower completely to yourself. Of course, you shouldn’t be completely on your own, as it is more safe and fun to have a partner with you on your journey. As with any outdoor sport in the Smokies during the winter, be sure to stay hydrated and dress in layers. Also, remember to let a friend or family member know when you are going cross-country skiing and when you expect to return.

3. Free Activity with Many Perks

Since there is no fee to access the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at any time of year, you can enjoy cross-country skiing on Clingmans Dome Road for free! This is much better than paying for expensive lift tickets at a ski resort and dealing with crowded lift lines. While you are cross-country skiing on Clingmans Dome Road, you will also have the opportunity to spot some wildlife in the Smokies. Keep an eye out for tracks in the snow and look deep into the forest as you never know what you might see. Other bonus perks of cross-country skiing are that it is easy to learn, excellent exercise and helps you to beat the winter blues!

Now that you are motivated to go cross-country skiing on Clingmans Dome Road, we hope that you have a fabulous time enjoying the beautiful winter scenery and crisp mountain air! For more fun activities, be sure to read more about visiting the Smoky Mountains National Park during the winter!