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Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome – Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Want to see the majestic views of the Great Smoky Mountains from the highest elevation in the national park, and indeed the highest elevation in the state of Tennessee? Head to Clingmans Dome! Clingmans Dome has an observation tower, which offers gorgeous 360 degree mountain views. The tower requires a 1/2 mile hike on a paved trail. The trail has a slight uphill incline all the way to the tower. Don’t let the slight incline fool you, though! With the high elevation (6,643 feet above sea level), the air is thinner and the half mile can be challenging. There are spots along the way to stop to catch your breath if needed. We’ve gone with many people of different ages and fitness levels and have found that most people need to stop once or twice on the way up.

If someone in your travel party is nervous about the hike to the dome or has mobility issues preventing them from doing so, this stop is still worth it. The views from the parking lot are absolutely gorgeous! Those who don’t want to make the trek to the dome have a lovely place to wait for those who do.

Clingmans Dome is a great place to head to if the temperatures in Pigeon Forge are very high, as the temperatures at Clingmans Dome are 10-20 degrees cooler.  For us, this is generally one stop (the best stop) as we explore the sites on Newfound Gap road. We spend most of a day exploring sites on Newfound Gap, including Clingmans Dome. We always pack a picnic lunch, drinks and snacks to have along the way.

The road to Clingmans Dome closes during the winter. Visit the website for the National Park before you head out so you can know if there’s any closures in the park. Additionally, the park now requires parking passes.  Learn about the parking tags by clicking here.


Distance From Miles
Forgotten Forest (coming soon) 45.8
Eagles Ridge North (The Bigfoot Lodge & Yeti’s Retreat) 34.1
Brookstone Village (Bigfoot Crossing, Hoedown Hideaway and Southern Comfort) 30.9


View from the Clingmans Dome Parking Area

View from the Clingmans Dome Parking Area

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