Clingmans Dome – Easy to Moderate (N 35.5545, W -83.4950): Clingmans Dome is the highest peak in the Smokies and Tennessee–6,642 feet. The view is astounding when the weather’s good. Start early–later in the day the parking area gets crowded and the air gets hazier. A few trails branch off but keep climbing the 0.7 mile to the summit tower that corkscrews its way above the peak. The circular viewpoint has a bench and illustrated plaques point out distant peaks. Use your clearest day for this hike – maybe after a summer cold front. The roundtrip is about 1.5 miles.
Directions: Take US 441 (Newfound Gap Rd.) to the crest of the park at Newfound Gap and turn west on Clingmans Dome Rd. The parking area is 7.6 miles west of Newfound Gap. The Clingmans Dome Rd. is closed in winter, from December 1 through March 31.