Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Trail is a 1.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Bryson City, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until November.

Length 1.2 mi Elevation gain 331 ft Route type Out & Back
Kid friendly Nature trips Walking Bird watching Forest Paved Views Wild flowers Wildlife No dogs
Description
Waypoints (5)
Facilities
Contact
Tips
Getting There

At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Only Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) and Mt. Craig (6,647), both located in Mt. Mitchell State Park in western North Carolina, rise higher. The observation tower on the summit of Clingmans Dome offers spectacular 360 views of the Smokies and beyond for visitors willing to climb the steep half-mile walk to the tower at the top. On clear days views expand over a 100 miles. Unfortunately, air pollution often limits viewing distances to under 20 miles. 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. Although Clingmans Dome is open year-round, the road leading to it is closed from December 1 through March 31, and whenever weather conditions require. It's seven miles to the end of Clingmans Dome Road and there are scenic pullouts with endless views of ridges and valleys along the way. The road ends in a large parking area from which a 0.5 mile trail leads to the summit. The trail is paved but steep, and leads to an observation tower on top. Pets and bicycles are not permitted on the paved trail to the observation tower, or on any other trails in the area. A bike rack is located near the beginning of the paved trail to park bikes while walking to the top. You will need to bring a lock with you to secure your bike. Besides the trail to the summit, there are several trails that start on Clingmans Dome Road and parking area. The Appalachian Trail (AT) crosses Clingmans Dome, marking the highest point along its journey from Georgia to Maine. The Forney Ridge Trail leads to Andrews Bald, a high-elevation grassy bald.

Directions: Turn off Newfound Gap Road 0.1 mile south of Newfound Gap and follow the 7-mile-long Clingmans Dome Road to the large parking area at the end.

Official National Park Service website http://www.nps.gov/grsm/

Although Clingmans Dome is open year-round, the road leading to it is closed from December 1 through March 31, and whenever weather conditions require.

Directions: Turn off Newfound Gap Road 0.1 mile south of Newfound Gap and follow the 7-mile-long Clingmans Dome Road to the large parking area at the end. Mileage to Clingmans Dome: from Cherokee-25 from Gatlinburg-23

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (1581)
Photos (1292)
Recordings (937)
Completed (5517)
View user's profile page
Liz Geller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 22, 2020
HikingGreat!

Beautiful views – even the parking lot views are as good as those from the tower. Interesting reading at the tower about all the different views you can see. Get there by 10AM if you want to avoid the crowds.

View user's profile page
Thristan Cecil
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 22, 2020
Hiking

Amazing views, but it’s overcrowded(shoulder to shoulder) and large majority of people there aren’t wearing masks. I went mid-week, at a recommended time, and cars were overflowed about a mile down from the parking lot. Nice family spot, but definitely slightly disappointing after hiking Mount LeConte. If you see cars stopped a mile away from parking lot, do yourself a favor and save an hour and turn around, just be sure to alert those in the line behind and in front of you.

View Thristan's Recording
View user's profile page
Dean Nolan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 22, 2020
HikingGreat!

Visibility was great. Could see Mt. Mitchell and Mt. Pisgah. Went at 3, really crowded but then cleared out by 4.

View user's profile page
Nancy Heil
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 21, 2020

Hiked early around 8 am. No crowds, cloudy yesterday early, we were above the clouds which made for beautiful pics. The tower had beautiful 360 degree views.

View user's profile page
Henry Hampton
Gray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 21, 2020
Great!

Coming up at night is special.. no one else in the dome. Clear as a bell this evening.. so many stars

View Henry's Recording
View user's profile page
Jeff Wilson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful views.

View Jeff's Recording
View user's profile page
Steve Seward
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 20, 2020
Hiking
View Steve's Recording
View user's profile page
Eve Williford
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2020
Hiking
View Eve's Recording
View user's profile page
Jen Thewesterntrek
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2020
Hiking

This trail is very steep, but paved. They have benches along the way for rests. I do like the tower as you can get above tree line for a different view. You can also jump on the Appalachian Trail from this trail.

View user's profile page
Sydney Mouser
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2020
HikingGreat!
View user's profile page
Andrew Huang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 19, 2020
HikingGreat!

It’s steeper than you’d think but was a nice hike on a paved road. Views were great though!

View user's profile page
Matthew C
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 19, 2020
Hiking
View Matthew's Recording
View user's profile page
Stephanie Attanasio
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2020
Hiking

Such a beautiful view from the top! Worth the hike up. It’s a paved trail but very steep. Plenty of places to stop of rest along the way if needed. Busy, but lots of parking spaces.

View user's profile page
KACIE ALEXANDER
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 18, 2020
HikingGreat!

We did Andrews Bald first then took the AT bypass trail to Clingman’s dome. It was not too crowded on the bypass and it was a nice trail. We took the paved path back to the parking area. Views were AMAZING!

View user's profile page
Michael Taylor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 17, 2020

Beautiful. Went at sunrise and watched the sun come up over the mountains. Highly recommend going early to watch the sunrise

View user's profile page
Matthew Redecker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 17, 2020
Hiking

Good way to start your morning in the Smoky’s!

View user's profile page
Annie Wallace
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 17, 2020

It was worth the long drive and steep incline. Go early to avoid large crowds and go on a clear day for the best view.

View user's profile page
Cara Murphy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 15, 2020
HikingGreat!

Very steep incline for approximately .6 miles, but there are many benches along the way for you to catch your breath! It was very foggy today, so the views were nonexistent. Make sure to visit on a clear day because the views are incredible!

View user's profile page
Eric Lauer-Hunt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 15, 2020
Hiking
View Eric's Recording
View user's profile page
Erin Beaber
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 12, 2020
Hiking

Started to rain halfway, overall easy and nice overlook even with clouds

View Erin's Recording
View user's profile page
Jared Hoopingarner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 12, 2020
Hiking

Great. Kinda busy, and it rained, but the trail was nice and would have been great on a clear day

View Jared's Recording
View user's profile page
Syed Rahman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 12, 2020
HikingGreat!
View Syed's Recording
View user's profile page
Sarah Benda
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 11, 2020
Hiking

A must do if you are visiting the park! The views are great and it’s also just fun to drive up there. That said, the path is very crowded and decently steep. Noticed a lot of people having a hard time.

View Sarah's Recording
View user's profile page
Jacob Tucker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 11, 2020
Hiking

Crowded at the top. Steep trail. Noted it was difficult for many older or out of shape hikers.

View user's profile page
Sandy Paterson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 10, 2020
HikingGreat!

Great views from the top. Pretty steep inclines.

View user's profile page
mike martin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 10, 2020
Hiking
View mike's Recording
View user's profile page
Anna Sheffield
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 10, 2020
WalkingGreat!

Lots of people. Great views. The trail is completely paved. It gets a little steep, but it’s short.

View user's profile page
Deidra Barclay
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 10, 2020
HikingGreat!

Beautiful views. And a beautiful drive to get there.

View user's profile page
Kendra McClanahan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 10, 2020
Walking

Amazing views! Get here early if you want to enjoy the view without the crowds! We got there at 8:30 on a Tuesday and at one point we’re the only ones at the top. The paved path is fine, fairly steep - my shins are sore today - but short so manageable. I’d add one of the other trails in the area - we went to Andrew’s Bald - if you’re looking for an actual hike.

View user's profile page
Matt Moore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 10, 2020
HikingGreat!

Steep, paved, and crowded. But a must do while in the Great Smokey NP.

Showing results 1 - 30 of 1581