Things to Do in Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome is the tallest mountain in the Great Smoky, and also the highest point in Tennessee. It is the best place to see the sunrise and sunset on a clear day. You even get to see more than 100 miles. If you love to hike or just want a relaxing scenic drive Clingmans Dome is the perfect destination.

Clingmans Dome has lots to offers from stunning views of the mountain range to hidden streams. Before you head to Clingmans check out the weather conditions as the road will be blocked in case of harsh weather conditions. If you plan your trip on a clear sunny day you could see the 100 miles mountain range

Go For a Scenic Drive

If you love long drives along with the mountain range, driving from Newfound Gap Road to Clingmans Dome is the perfect route for you. It is one of the most popular and beautiful 7-mile drives of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You get access to the highest point of the park with pullouts that any photographer would love. The views of mountain valleys, sculpted ridges, and a variety of woodland are stunning views to capture.  

The trailhead leads to the Clingmans Dome’s observation tower. The road is closed from December 1 through March 31 due to the weather condition. Clingmans Dome and observation tower are open year-round. They have a large parking area, restroom, and visitor center at the end of the drive.

Clingmans Dome Observation Tower

The Clingmans Dome observation tower gives a 360° view of the Smokies. The spectacular view is not missed by any visitors, even travelers are willing to climb the half-mile steep path to reach the tower.  If you like to hike you can go for Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Trail which is a 1.2-mile trail located near Bryson City. 

The best time to hike is from April until November, you get to see beautiful wildflowers. Pets and bicycles are not permitted on the trail to the observation tower, or on any other trails in the tower. If you are biking there is a bike rack located near the beginning of the trail you can park your bikes and walk to the top.

Picnic at Chimneys Picnic Area

Chimneys Picnic Area has 68 picnic sites with a heavy-duty grill and picnic table. From Sugarlands Visitor Center US 441, drive 4.4 miles toward Cherokee. The park signboard directs the entrance road to Chimneys Picnic Area. It is also the most popular picnic area in the Great Smoky. 

They even have designated parking spots for each picnic site. The picnic area is next to the West Prong Little Pigeon River, so most of the picnic sites are next to the river. Be Careful of black bears because the picnic area is an active bear habitat. Make sure you take all the safety precautions and also clean your picnic area.


The climb to the Chimney Tops is one of the most popular hiking trails in Great Smoky that every hikers love. There are even benches along the trail to the observation tower so you can relax. the trail end are the top of the observation tower, with stunning mountain view. Chimney Dome have trail for all level of hiker from short trails to challenging trails.

There are also many other trails near Chimney Dome with breathtaking views and adventure.

  • Spruce-Fir Nature Trail
  • Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Trail
  • Fork Ridge Trail
  • Indian Creek Trail
  • Deep Creek Trail
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