Appalachian Trail: Clingman Dome to Cades Cove

HARD 25 reviews

Appalachian Trail: Clingman Dome to Cades Cove is a 23.9 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November.

23.9 miles
3,402 feet
Point to Point




nature trips

trail running




wild flowers


no dogs

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 Optional 2nd night stay at Spence Field Shelter, 3rd day continue on the AT to Russell Field and connect to Russell Field Trail and to Anthony Creek Trail to Cades Cove Ranger Station.

3 months ago

stunning views...beautiful trail. well marked and maintained.

6 months ago

We didn’t do any part of the hike, this review is about some inaccurate info in the trail description. The description of the hike says dogs are allowed, but we were told by park rangers that dogs are not allowed on any section of the AT and are allowed on only two trails in the GSMNP.

trail running
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

It's a gnarly run. The downhill from Spence Field to the Cove will trash your knees if you aren't careful.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Beautiful views, very hard trail

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Short hike but cool because we got to see a lot of mountains because we were really high up! My daddy was pretending a bear was following when he kept throwing rocks ahead of us!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Very cool and short hike. We only did 2 miles. Really cool view!

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Excellent views of the Smoky Mountains. The hike up to the lookout allows for 360 degree viewing of the Smoky Mountains. Of note, the hike is truly uphill for half a mile.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I hiked this trail with my son last November. We had an awesome time doing this together. This hike on the AT was what made me curious about this app. I don't hike much without it now.

rock climbing
Saturday, July 16, 2016


Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Pretty with a bit of everything, challenges dense woods with more people than I would have expected.

Friday, July 01, 2016

sweet thanks

Saturday, June 18, 2016

One of the best I've done. Very pretty and enjoyable.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

It was great! Beautiful scenery. Will do again soon.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Spent 2 days on this one, starting at Clingman's Dome, only the first mile is spent ascending to the top, which was good cardio. The remaining trip is spent descending, which is a bit tough on older joints. Worth the trip, worth the pain. Not a heavily used trail, we saw maybe 10 people until we were about 2 miles from the finish. Not much wildlife to report, a few tracks here and there, and some bear scat. Ample vegetation changes as you change altitudes. Take note of the multiple colors if mushrooms you will encounter during the descent. Remember your rain gear, and strongly recommend hiking poles, the terrain is not always stable, but plenty of opportunities for photos! Don't expect cell service anywhere as well.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What can one say about the AT? It is such a great trail all the time. The army of volunteers who keep it up do an amazing job. We liken it to a highway.

Moderate to strenuous most of the way. Amazing vistas along the way. Great people as well. The AT is much more than a simple trail. For many it's a life changing experience. If nothing else it will leave you with many fond memories & maybe some painful ones as well.

Clingman's Dome is the second highest peak east of the Mississippi River, right after Mt. Mitchell in NC.

1 month ago

2 months ago

6 months ago

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Friday, August 25, 2017

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017