Have you ever wanted to know what it would feel like to be on top of the world? Well, if you’re in the Smoky Mountains, you won’t have to wonder anymore! One of my favorite parts about finally living in Tennessee again, is that we are only an hour and a half from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s a beautiful, ever-changing place that is a must-see if you are near the east side of the state! Because it is so beautiful and so diverse I will be devoting several blog posts to the park. So, this is part one: Clingman’s Dome.
Located technically in North Carolina, this scenic overlook is the highest point in the Smoky Mountains. It soars to a whopping 6,643 feet! With heights like that you are able to get a 360° view of the entire park and see roughly 20-100 miles in the distance.
To get to Clingman’s Dome, just follow the signs throughout the park. There is a 7 mile road to get to a parking lot about a half mile from the observation tower. There are restrooms in the parking lot and I suggest you make a pit-stop before the hike up to the observation tower.
To get to the observation tower to get the 360° view, you just follow the trail up the mountain from the parking lot. Now, I will say that it is a pretty straight up-hill hike to the tower. Thankfully there are lots of benches on the way up that makes the sojourn a little less strenuous. We happily felt some light raindrops which cooled us off, as well.
Another good thing is that there is a significant temperature difference from the bottom of the mountain and the top. Down below it was about 80°F and at the top it was about 60°F so I would suggest a light jacket if you get cold easily. That is also important to know for the cooler months, so you can bring the appropriate cold weather gear. You’ll also notice a change in greenery at the top. You will mostly see spruce & fir trees, due to the high amount of rainfall and the cooler temps!
Once you make it to the top, we suggest celebrating that you made the hike! After the celebration just follow the circular ramp up the tower.
The views are spectacular! There is just something so thrilling to see clouds forming below you.
After you have taken in all the glory of the Smokies beneath you, you can head back down to the parking lot. Some of our friends enjoyed a quick rock climb on the boulders near our car. You can also get some pretty neat views from that as well!
I highly recommend taking a wander through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There is really so much to be seen and admired. If you are in the area make sure to take a trip up to the top of Clingman’s Dome for an unforgettable experience!