December 1, 2021

This is one of the BEST hikes you’ll ever experience! Our first time to Clingmans Dome and it did not disappoint. For us this drive was about an hour from our location, I’m including the Google map below so you can find the best directions for your drive. Clingmans Dome is located on the boarder of Tennessee and North Carolina. The dome is located in Bryson City, NC.

Google Plus Code: HG43+QG Bryson City, North Carolina

Clingmans Dome is a mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina in the southeastern United States. Its name in Cherokee is Kuwahi or ᎫᏩᎯ, meaning “mulberry place.” Besides the trail to the summit, there are several trails that start on Clingmans Dome Road. The Appalachian Trail crosses Clingmans Dome, marking the highest point along its journey from Georgia to Maine.

Appalachian Trail, Clingmans Dome, North Carolina, NC, Smoky Mountains

“The Appalachian Trail is a 2,180+ mile long public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers.” (Nation park Service:

Taking a quick break and Exploring!

Once you get to the parking area (always busy), you can spend some time checking out the scenery at the overlook. We went in the evening so the sun was perfect for our photos. Our son loved the views and really enjoyed the hike too. He is 12 and the hike was fully paved so this was not a difficult hike, it is however steep and you will feel it when you get to the top. Be prepared and don’t forget your water and comfortable shoes!

little ones scale 5
Little Ones Scale
Clingmans Dome Parking Lot View
Breathtaking Views!

This was our view from the parking lot, even before we got to the top we were blown away by the view. One thing to take note of if your planning a trip, the road to Clingmans Dome is normally closed from December 1 until April 1. So make sure you plan accordingly.

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Clingmans Dome Taking a Break! Drink some water!

From the parking lot, seven miles west of Newfound Gap, walk the steep half-mile path to the 54-foot observation tower for a 360-degree view of the Park. Clingman’s Dome is definitely worth the 1/2 mile steep hike. The path is paved and there are benches along the way, in case you need to rest. On a clear day, the views are absolutely stunning. I would highly recommend getting there early.

Clingmans Dome Parking Lot

On clear days, see more than 100 miles. No pets or bikes allowed on the trail to the observation deck, and in our opinion Clingmans Dome is a little too steep for wheelchairs. Plan accordingly for this Hike!

Clingmans Dome Views
Clingmans Dome Observation Tower
Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Ramp

Fun Fact:

The 45-feet tall observation tower was built in 1959 to allow visitors an opportunity to see the mountains and valleys surrounding Clingman’s Dome with an unobstructed view.

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Clingmans Dome Observation Tower
Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Views

Fun Fact:

At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest peak in the Smokies and the third highest east of the Mississippi.

Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Views

We hope you get a chance to visit such a beautiful spot. We went in late November so most of the leaves had already started to fall and all of the colors of the Smokies were in full swing. If you get a chance to visit, leave us a comment and let us know how your trip was!

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