Clingmans Dome

Several days into the trip and we finally made it to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  First stop was Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee and the infamous Appalachian Trail.  Views here looking over the mountain range are normally quite amazing, however today Mother Nature had other plans.

Driving up the 7 mile access road, visibility ranged from 100 yards to 100 feet thanks to dense fog, mist, and strong wind gusts.  It only got thicker as we reached the parking area.  Kelly would later joke that I am cursed by unexpected weather and today she was correct.

The 0.5 mile hiking trail is completely paved to the summit making it relatively easy, but it does gain several hundred feet of elevation sharply.  Views all hidden by fog.

The Appalachian Trail crosses with Clingmans Dome trail.  Kelly wanted photos with the sign – does this officially make us AT section hikers?

At the summit there is a 45-foot observation tower with a winding concrete walkway.  Once again, views were obscured by fog…

Back at the parking lot, balaclava-clad ninja Kelly wanted to re-create a photo she took earlier this year mainly as a joke due to today’s lack of mountain views.  Minutes later, the park rangers closed the roads for weather and kicked us out.  We drove back down the mountain in the dark using low-gears and headed to the hotel in Gatlinburg for the night.

Hiking Data

The trail from parking lot to summit is only around 0.5 one way and gains elevation sharply, but thanks to the paved path it isn’t very difficult.  The wind and fog/mist made it more challenging and wet than normal today.  Checked off another highpointing location on the list – that makes 2 for the year!

Lat = 35.5627556 , Long = -83.4984970 -- Show at Google Maps

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