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Clingmans Dome Lookout Tower Access

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Distance0.0mi
Elevation Gain21ft
Trailhead Elevation6,621ft
Top6,621ft
Elevation Min/Max6600/6621ft
Elevation Start/End6621/6621ft

Clingmans Dome Lookout Tower Access

Clingmans Dome Lookout Tower Access is a hiking trail in Swain County, North Carolina. It is within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is 139 feet long and begins at 6,621 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 21 feet. This trail connects with the following: Appalachian Trail and Clingmans Dome Trail.
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icon7 Total
Palos Hills,
Pathfinder | 78 pts
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
8/8/2018
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Skokie,
Pathfinder | 131 pts
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
8/20/2008
Guide book from National Park rates this as Difficult because of severe incline - it's not easy but it's not difficult. Wear some decent shoes even though the trail is paved. So many people are wearing flip-flops during the summer months that it is crazy. Take time to view the trail environment as you ascend - it is very nice.
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Barrington,
Pathfinder | 160 pts
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
3/28/2008
Due to the weather conditions rain and fog and a late start we walked the road instead of the AT. Visability was about 50 feet!This is a 14 mile hike round trip from the gate at Clingmans Dome road or the AT at Newfound Gap. The road is closed to cars December 1st to march 31st. Walking is permitted. Well worth the trek even though we could not see anything at the top. Approx 5.5 hours for trip.
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Nashville,
Pathfinder | 131 pts
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
9/22/2007
Our late September trip to the Smokies found us exchanging mid 80 degree weather in Pigeon Forge for low 60 degree weather atop Clingman's Dome. The parking lot was quite full, as was the paved trail leading to the observation tower. While the grade of the initial half mile was daunting at first, the sight of an elderly tour group uptrail convinced us to forge ahead. Atop the dome, the view was spectacular and clear to the north and east, while storm clouds arrived from the southwest. Over the next half hour, we were able to watch the power of weather as temperatures dropped further and we were engulfed by fog. Our approximately 1 mile hike down from Clingman's Dome led us off the paved path and onto a short section of the Appalachian Trail. Every few yards along the hike, we were again able to sneak views to the right while dense white clouds walled us from the south. The difference looking right to left was eerily beautiful as we could only imagine the mountains we knew were nearby. A short but rocky and slippery connector trail brought us back to the parking lot. After completing the hike, we recommend doing it the reverse of our course -- hiking the connector trail and AT first, then completing the loop back to the parking lot on the paved path. In this way, you avoid crowds for most of the trip and climb to the summit more slowly.
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LAMAR,
Adventurer | 311 pts
3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars
11/3/2006
tip: do not do this hike on a cold day! we did this right after our chimney tops hike and were already tired anyway. the temp at the parking lot was 27 degrees and the wind chill had to be around 0 or less. you "hike" up a paved path for a little over 1/2 mile to the dome. the dome is pretty neat and has great views. it was so cold and the wind was blowing so hard, we didnt stay in the dome long enough to read the signs in it. the hike was ok but only do it if you have time to drive the long distance to it. the andrews bald hike is in the same starting point which is one we are going to do hopefully spring of 07.
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Williamson,
Explorer | 30 pts
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
8/9/2006
I recommend this highly and in September. No traffic, no crowds, and less heat! It's absolutely perfect! It can be 85-95 degrees in Gatlinburg, while 70-80 degrees at Clingmans Dome during September. I've been here in July, August, and September, been fogged in to the point you can't see 1 foot in front of your face. If this happens, don't give up! Return another day, for a 360 degree panaramic view that's well worth the 1/2 mile walk from the parking lot to the observation deck. Benches are placed along the way to rest for those that might be a little out-of-shape! Also, from the base of the observation deck, you can walk along a section of the Appalachian Trail and get a picture of the observation deck from that vantage point. I love the Smokies!
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Fayetteville,
Pathfinder | 110 pts
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
11/2/2002
Great trail. I planned and did the whole loop in two days though. I knocked out the first 12 miles the first day and stayed at the lookout tower to camp which was awesome. The first 5.5 mile was simple and scenic with the river, and it was easy to decide to continue on to the top. It was a good push up though, but not too bad. (bring something to relax the muscles like asprin or something to ensure a good nights sleep). It gets cold up there off season of course, and the combination of cold, stiff and sore can make for a miserable night. A couple of relaxers took care of that though. The next day was all downhill. I would do this one again anytime if there weren''''t so many to do in the area. Here is a link to the photos I got during my hike. Enjoy. http://www.ncmtb.com/mountsterling.htm
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Trail Information

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Nearby City
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Parks
Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible
Accessibility
Hiking, Cross Country Skiing
Additional Use
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: 865-436-1200, nps.gov/grsm
Local Contacts
Great Smoky Mountains National Park map; Trails Illustrated #229 Great Smoky Mountains National Park; USGS Clingmans Dome and USGS Silers Bald
Local Maps

Trail Log