Newfound Gap to Clingmans Dome Trail

HARD 31 reviews

Newfound Gap to Clingmans Dome Trail is a 15.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Bryson City, North Carolina that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until December.

15.2 miles
3845 feet
Out & Back

wheelchair friendly



nature trips

trail running





wild flowers





old growth



no dogs

This section of the AT offers many views as well as a diverse geology Your hike begins at the highest peak on the AT, Clingmans Dome at 6643' but don't think it's all down hill from here.Over the 16.4 mi we'll call it GaK (Gaps and Knobs) RollerCoaster, you'll encounter 7 gaps, 4 knobs and 3 mountains.Head up the paved trail to the overlook.Go south on the AT for 4.6 mi until you reach Silers Bald Shelter for a lunch break.There is a sign at Buckeye Gap stating 1.8mi to Derrick Knob but it's more like 2.8mi until you reach the shelter for Day 1 of 10.6mi.The next 6.2mi is the most remote section of the AT in the GSMNP.4.1mi you will reach Beechnut Gap the last of these and welcome sight of switchbacks that will help you climb Thunderhead Mtn.First peak is marked by a benchmark and a stack of stones elevate you for a view.Then down to the third peak so obviously named Rocky Top, great lunch spot.1.1mi you will enter Spence Field and intersect with Bote Mtn Trail then to Anthony Creek Trail to Cades Cove Ranger Station for 11.5 mi on Day 2

15 days ago

Hiked from NFG overlook to the Dome. Tuff 15 miler. I’ve hiked all 6 ways to get up to Mt LeConte and i think it’s harder. This part of the AT doesn’t have a lot of wide switch backs like the LeConte trails. So even though the elevation change and length mite b less the way is harder. Plus it’s not just up. Many places u lose the elevation gain by plunging down a Ridge and then fight ur way back up. So.........even going back down u have challenging ups. But the beauty is well worth it. Mayb not many vistas but as one reviewer stated, it a magical forest.

1 month ago

2 months ago

4 months ago

Dont let this trail fool ya! Went down from Clingmans to NFG.. 9 miles. Up and down the whole way.. not easy!! But you can do it!

4 months ago

Wow am I tired. The serenity of this hike will stay with me a long time. Hard hike for a couple reasons, the terrain was rocky and rooty so you had to take your time, and the elevation changes were challenging and constant. It was so cool because it was like being in an enchanted forest that was there for you alone. MUST HIKE THIS TRAIL.

scenic driving
4 months ago


5 months ago

The trail was hard, especially the decent from Cliingmans Dome. Not many views, heavy canopy most of the trip. Definitely a good trip to gauge whether a person is ready to hike the AT!

5 months ago

It was a fairly good hike, but there's not much to see, except Clingman's Dome.

6 months ago

9 months ago

11 months ago

We parked our car at Newfound gap and took the AT trail up to Clingmans Dome. It was a beautiful hike with a lot of scenery, but not a lot of overlooks. There was beautiful forest views. Since the road was closed, we had Clingmans Dome to ourselves which was incredible. I'd recommend a trekking pole. We took the road back, and that's when our feet started to hurt from the pavement. However, there were a lot more mountain views than the trail. Being from Missouri, the 15/16 miles was a little tough, but not terrible at all. Definitely recommended when the road is closed. If we come again, we would go up the AT trail and down the road. Some parts of the AT trail would be hard to go down, even with a trekking pole.

11 months ago

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Monday, August 15, 2016

Did the 8 mile hike today from Clingmans Dome to Newfound Gap and it was gorgeous! Very misty, very cool and very wet up at Clingmans, so if you go be sure to wear appropriate shoes and dress accordingly. Trekking poles recommended. You don't get panoramic views of the mountains with this one, but the AT makes up for it with various wildflowers, gorgeous woodlands and ripe blackberries. :)

Monday, July 04, 2016

be sure to go on a clear day.. overcast see nothing at peak

Monday, June 20, 2016

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

We hiked from Newfound Gap to Double Spring Gap Shelter then back to Clingmans Dome. This was a real test for a couple of weekend hikers from Indiana. But there is something special about being on the AT. Whoever listed this trail as easy must be of Kryptonian origins.

Friday, August 07, 2015

We began this hike on the AT just down from the Clingman's Dome observation tower with our targeted destination at Newfound Gap, having left a couple of cars at Newfound to get us back to Clingmans. Total distance was just short of 8 miles, including the piece from Clingman parking to get on the AT. This is a good little walk providing a chance to see some old growth timber, some great views (although limited in summer) and interesting plant life. No wildlife spotted. Amazing how cool it is at these elevations so it's a great walk for the dog day heat of July/Aug. Trail was in great condition. Overall a nice little day hike.

Monday, May 25, 2015

From parking lot walk towards Dome path and the trail will be on your left. You will go down and around and up a creek bed to meet up with the Appalachian trail. The old growth forest is spectacular. I hiked 4 miles out and then came back since I was just hiking the day. Points of high elevation and fantastic views. I felt like I was in the clouds. Was my best hiking experience so far. Cannot wait to hike more of the Appalachian trail. Worth your time!