Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, standing at 6,643 feet. It’s also the highest point in the state of Tennessee, and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. The Clingmans Dome Observation Tower is a popular spot for visitors to catch a Smoky Mountain sunrise or sunset. It’s on the summit of Clingmans Dome and offers 360-degree views of the Smoky Mountains and beyond. On clear days, the views stretch for more than 100 miles. However, fog and air pollution typically limit the views to under 20 miles.
When is Clingmans Dome Open?
The Clingmans Dome Observation Tower is open year-round. However, the road leading to it closes seasonally from early December through late March.
Directions to Clingmans Dome
To get to Clingmans Dome, turn off Newfound Gap Road .1 mile south of Newfound Gap. Then, follow Clingmans Dome Road to the large parking lot at the end. It’s 7 miles to the end of Clingmans Dome Road. Along the drive, there are scenic pull-offs where you can stop and admire the gorgeous views. The road ends at a large parking area. From the parking area, you’ll hike a paved, but steep, half-mile trail to the top of the observation tower.
Although Clingmans Dome Road is closed in the winter, you can still hike to the observation tower. However, keep in mind that the hike is 7 miles one way. If you’re a fan of cross-country skiing, this sport is popular along Clingmans Dome Road in the winter.
Clingmans Dome Weather
Because of its high elevation, temperatures are often about 10 to 20 degrees colder on Clingmans Dome than other parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You’ll want to be sure to bring extra layers and rain gear when you visit Clingmans Dome.