"Hiking to the top of the highest mountain in the park (6,643 feet) and the third highest in the East (Mount Mitchell is first at 6,684 feet, Mount Craig is second at 6,647 feet) is bittersweet. On one hand, there can be great distant views and you get to experience the extremes of life at this elevation—wind, rain, snow, fog, cold.
It’s not uncommon to leave Gatlinburg in sunshine and 55-degree temperatures and find it snowing on Clingmans Dome. On the other hand, you experience the extremes of humankind’s negative influence on the environment—smog, introduced pests, crowds, and bulldozed mountainsides. Clingmans Dome is an outdoor classroom and everyone should study here at least once."