At an elevation of more than 6,600 feet, this is the third-highest peak east of the Rockies, only a few feet shorter than the tallest, Mt. Mitchell. From the parking lot (where there are restrooms) at the end of Clingmans Dome Road, walk up a paved, but steep, ½-mi trail to an observation tower offering 360-degree views from the "top of Old Smoky." There's also a small visitor contact center and bookshop(open April-November). Temperatures here are usually 10-15°F lower
than at the entrance to the park near Cherokee or Gatlinburg. Clingmans Dome Road is closed to vehicular traffic in winter (December–March), but if there's snow on the ground you can put on your snowshoes and hike up to the peak.
Clingmans Dome Rd., 7 mi from U.S. 441, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina, 28719, USA
865-436-1200-park information line
Apr 18, 2006
This is a steep uphill hike the whole way, and on a clear day may be worth the effort. There are benches to stop and rest on the way up, remember to take a bottle of water. From the top the views are spectacular on a clear day.