Peak Info:

At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the third highest point in the US east of the Mississippi River.

Parking: Parking is available at the Visitors Center. Note, the observation tower is up a 1/2 mile Steep paved trail!

Fees: No fees to park or visit.

Directions on PCs: Locate the Google map below the search box on the right-hand side of this webpage. Click “Get Directions” on the map pin details.

Directions on Tablets and Mobile Phones: Locate the Google map near the bottom of this page, just below the search box. Click “Get Directions” on the map pin details.

Google Earth image of the parking lot and trail to the dome.

Clingmans Dome offers some of the most impressive views of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park from above. You will have two options for viewing, either from the parking lot (a wise choice) or by following the steep 1/2-mile paved trail up to the Observation tower. If you do choose the trail, bring some water and take your time. It’s worth the walk, just be prepared!

Parking area in the center, steep trail on left

The paved trail is a little wider than a typical single-lane road. The slope is too steep for most wheelchairs and other mobility equipment. At the top of the trail, when the slope starts to even out, and the path veers to the right you are just about to the top.

Observation Tower and walkway

The observation area sits atop the mountain, with a long spiral walkway winding up. The slope is gentle, and the breeze that flows over the mountain will help cool you off, and is as welcome as ice cream!

Observation Tower walkway

The pathway winds from the ground up through and above the tree tops, giving you a great view of the mountains, and the top of the pine trees.

Lichen growing on a dead tree

The observation tower is well worth the steep walk, with stunning 360-degree views all around. We also took advantage of the cellular network that seemed to begin working again near the top of the mountain.

All in all, the cost of the trip up the paved trail was steep, but the payout was definitely worth it.

As you can imagine, the walk back down to the parking area was a breeze, with our only stop for a break at the gift shop at the bottom for water, and a kid’s bear hat.

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