Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Trail, Appalachian Trail
Location: Sevier County, Tennessee, U.S., North Carolina, U.S.
Features: Mountain views, nature trips, wildlife, hiking
Table of Contents
About Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Trail, Appalachian Trail
Clingmans Dome is a mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, in the southeastern United States. At an elevation of 6,643 feet, it is the highest mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the highest point in the state of Tennessee, and the highest point along the 2,192-mile Appalachian Trail.
Clingmans Dome Observation Tower was built in 1959, the 45-foot concrete observation tower features a circular observation platform accessed by a spiral ramp. The ramp is 375 feet in length, and rises at a 12 percent grade, in synch with the Clingmans Dome Trail. The platform, 28 feet (8.5 m) in diameter, allows spectators a 360-degree panorama of the surrounding terrain. Cantilevered signs point out the various peaks, ridges, cities, and other features visible in the distance. Depending on the haze, visibility ranges from 20 miles (32 km) on hazy days to 100 miles (160 km) on a very clear day. Unfortunately, air pollution often limits viewing distances to under 20 miles.
Top 3 Adventure Hacks
Clouds, precipitation, and cold temperatures are common at Clingmans Dome. Temperatures at the dome can be 10 -20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than in the surrounding lowlands. In fact, the cool, wet conditions on Clingmans Dome’s summit make the spruce-fir forest that grows there a coniferous rainforest. Proper preparation is essential for a good visit. Dress in layers and be sure to bring a jacket, even in summer.
2) Planning your trip
Before planning your trip, check current condition. Always be aware of the threat of storms, lightning, snow and be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions. It is always best to Check the weather forecast. For News release such as updated park news, cautions and alerts, maps, and guides to the park, stay connected through social media sites on Facebook, Instagram, and website.
3) Things to bring
Come prepared for everything you need for a day in the park, make sure to pack plenty of water, snack, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, bug spray/insect repellent, appropriate footwear, and dress for the weather. You can find the essential gear you need in our outdoor adventure shop.