Good to know: visit the Clingmans dome
Believe it or not, the hike to the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park isn’t as difficult as you might think, just half a mile away.
BRYSON CITY, NC – Planning a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but don’t know where to go?
Why not take a hike to the highest point in the park?
It’s called Clingmans Dome and believe it or not the hike to the top is not as difficult as you might think, just half a mile away. Here’s what you need to know before you go.
You can check the weather conditions before setting off with the park’s Clingmans Dome webcam.
Temperatures will be 10 to 15 degrees cooler, so you’ll want to dress in layers.
The journey takes about an hour and a half to two hours from Knoxville and an hour from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
There are many scenic exits along the 7 mile drive to Clingmans Dome Road.
The parking lot is crowded so you’ll want to get there early or be very patient.
The Clingmans Dome Visitor Center is located just past the parking lot. A small toilet is located in the parking lot.
It’s a steep 0.5 mile hike on an asphalt road to the top of the parking lot.
A 360-degree observation tower awaits you at the top.
Clingmans Dome, like the rest of the national park, is free.
It is located just over the state border on the North Carolina side of the Smokies.
The Appalachian Trail and Forney Ridge Trail, which leads to Andrews Bald, both connect to Clingmans Dome Road.
Even though it is paved, the trail to the top is very steep and not wheelchair accessible.
Animals and bicycles are not allowed on the trail.
Clingmans Dome Road is literally on the mountainside and features blind curves. Drive carefully and watch out for the drivers around you.
Clingmans Dome Road is generally closed from December to March.
It’s a very popular destination in the Smokies, so it will be crowded.
Not only is it the highest point in the park, but it’s also the third tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River, according to the National Park Service.
Comfortable walking shoes: The trail is very steep.
Jacket: It can be cold there all year round.
Water: It is important to stay hydrated.
Camera: You’ll want to take a photo (or 50) of the amazing views.