Clingmans Dome TrailEasy

Clingmans Dome Road

Clingmans Dome Trail

Distance (One Way)

0.6 miles

Elevation Gain

331 feet


Clingmans Dome Road

Trail Description Written by Caroline Sullivan

The peak of Clingmans Dome is accessible after driving Clingmans Dome Road from Newfound Gap, and then walking a steep half-mile Clingmans Dome Trail. A paved trail leads to a 54-foot observation tower. The Appalachian Trail crosses Clingmans Dome, marking the highest point along its 2,144 mile journey.

At 6,643 feet, Clingman's Dome is Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s highest point. It is the highest point in Tennessee. Clingmans Dome is a popular Park destination. Located along the state-line ridge, it is half in North Carolina and half in Tennessee. Find more info on the national park website.

Clingmans Dome is one of the most-visited places in the Smokies and it’s easy to see why. You can see up to 100 miles in each direction from the observation tower. The walk to the summit is fun for the entire family, as the short walk is on a paved trail -- perfect for even for those pushing strollers or in a wheelchair.

It’s important to know that even though the Clingmans Dome Trail is paved, it is also very steep. You’ll gain 332 feet in elevation on the short walk, making the gradient along the trail almost 13%. Don’t worry -- you’ll find benches along the way to take in the view and catch your breath.

On a clear day, you’ll see 7 states when you reach the peak of Clingmans Dome Trail: Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. Even on the cloudy or smoky day, the view is worth the hike.

Clingmans Dome Trail intersects with a few other trails along the way. You’ll find that it crosses paths with the Forney Creek Trail and Forney Ridge Trail. These paths will let you get to the peak without using the Clingmans Dome Road and parking lot, which is closed from Dec. 1 to March 31.

#bird watching
#clingmans dome
#kid friendly
#stroller friendly
#wheelchair friendly

Trail Difficulty Scales Explained

Elevation Grade


Fairly Steep

Paul Petzoldt Scale






Shenandoah Scale






Hiker Tips & Trivia

  • The elevation at Clingmans Dome seriously changes the weather. You might find it to be 20 degrees cooler at the summit than in the lowland areas of the park. It can be windy and sometimes damp/humid at the peak. It might be wise to bring a jacket!

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The above list of hiking trails in the Smokies is incomplete and constantly being updated. If you have information or photos you would like to contribute, please contact [email protected].

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