Clingman’s Dome TrailEasy

Clingmans Dome Road

Easy
Clingman’s Dome Trail

Distance (One Way)

0.6 miles

Elevation Gain

331 feet

Trailhead

Clingmans Dome Road

Trail Description Written by Caroline Sullivan

The peak of Clingman's Dome is accessible after driving Clingmans Dome Road from Newfound Gap, and then walking a steep half-mile Clingman's Dome Trail. A paved trail leads to a 54-foot observation tower. The Appalachian Trail crosses Clingman's 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. Clingman's 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.

Clingman's 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 Clingman's 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 Clingman's 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.

Clingman's 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 Clingman's Dome Road and parking lot, which is closed from Dec. 1 to March 31.

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

Trail Difficulty Scales Explained

Elevation Grade

10%

Fairly Steep

Paul Petzoldt Scale

1.3

Easy

5

10

15

Shenandoah Scale

20

Easiest

50

100

150

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!

Photo Gallery (10)

Trail Map

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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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