Top 4 Things to Know About Visiting Clingmans Dome During Your Vacation

Top 4 Things to Know About Visiting Clingmans Dome During Your Vacation

One of the highlights of any vacation to the Smokies is a visit to Clingmans Dome! After all, this spectacular destination is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi! The observation tower on the summit offers stunning panoramic views of the Smokies and you can see more than 100 miles in the distance on clear days! Here are the top 4 things to know about visiting Clingmans Dome on your vacation:

1. Dressing for the Weather Conditions

The temperatures at Clingmans Dome are generally 10 to 20 degrees cooler than the surrounding lowlands, so you’ll want to dress appropriately for your visit! Even if you are planning on a vacation during the warmer summer months, you will want to bring a sweatshirt or jacket to keep comfortable at the summit! Also note that clouds and precipitation are common at the overlook, so be sure to pack umbrellas and ponchos in case the weather changes suddenly! 

2. Accessing the Summit

view from Clingmans Dome

Another important thing to know about visiting the landmark is how to access the summit! The easiest way is to drive along Clingmans Dome Road, which turns off of Newfound Gap Road near the Newfound Gap parking lot. This scenic 7-mile, one way road takes you just across the border into North Carolina and leads to a large parking area, where you’ll find a 0.5 mile trail leading to the summit. While the trail heading up to the observation tower is paved, note that it is quite steep and not considered wheelchair accessible.

3. Road Closure Information

An important thing to remember is that the road leading to the overlook is generally closed from early December to late March due to the weather conditions. The exact dates of these closures may vary so be sure to check the current road closures in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park if you’re planning to visit during the winter or early spring! When the road is closed, you can still hike the 7 miles to get to the observation tower if you’re up for the challenge! The road is also popular for cross country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months.

4. Other Hiking Trails in the Area

Andrews Bald in the Smoky Mountains

If you love to hike, you’ll find several other wonderful trails near Clingmans Dome besides the trail to the summit! The Appalachian Trail crosses right through the area, which actually marks the highest point along its journey from Maine to Georgia! Another nearby trail is the Forney Ridge Trail, which leads up to Andrews Bald for more incredible views of the Smokies! This is the highest grassy bald in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is named after Andres Thompson, an early settler who used the mountain for hunting.

Now that you’re familiar with everything you need to know about visiting the overlook, check out all of our awesome Clingmans Dome merchandise to commemorate your trip! Be sure to browse through our other Smoky Mountains products too, including apparel, tote bags, magnets and more!