View from the observation tower
Clouds, precipitation, and cold temperatures are common at Clingmans Dome. Temperatures at the dome can be 10 -20 degrees cooler than in the surrounding lowlands. In fact, the cool, wet conditions on Clingmans Dome's summit make the spruce-fir forest that grows there a coniferous rainforest. Dress in layers and be sure to bring a jacket, even in summer. We took these photos on an usually chilly July morning with temperatures in the mid 30s!
Although Clingmans Dome is open year-round, the road leading to it is closed from December 1 through March 31, and whenever weather conditions require.
Besides the trail to the summit, there are several trails that start on Clingmans Dome Road and parking area. The Appalachian Trail (AT) crosses Clingmans Dome, marking the highest point along its journey from Georgia to Maine. The Forney Ridge Trail leads to Andrews Bald, a high-elevation grassy bald (read more about this hike).
Directions: Turn off Newfound Gap Road 0.1 mile south of Newfound Gap and follow the 7-mile-long Clingmans Dome Road to the large parking area at the end.
PDF Map Downloads: Great Smoky Mountains Driving Map | Great Smoky Mountains Hiking Trails
The road to Clingmans Dome in late fall with a frozen wall.
What is the hemlock woolly adelgid that is killing the hemlock trees in the Smokies?