Friday, February 24, 2017

Clingmans Dome - Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Tennessee and North Carolina

Clingmans Dome on the Tennessee/North Carolina border is 6,643 feet above sea level. It is the tallest mountain in Tennessee, and the third tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River. There is a 45 foot tall observation tower located at the summit of Clingmans Dome. Part of the Appalachian Trail runs across Clingmans Dome. But that trail isn't the only way to reach Clingmans Dome. You can drive up most of the mountain. However, you will have to climb up the last 1/2 mile via a paved yet steep trail.

Location: Clingman Dome is located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.

Cost: Completely Free - though plan for the area to be crowded if you are there on a holiday or a weekend.

Operating Seasons and Hours: The observation tower is open year round.  However, Clingmans Dome Road from Highway 441 to the parking lot is closed from December 1st to April 1st every year.

Official Website:

Date of Visit: Sunday October 9, 2016

This was the second stop of the third day of our road trip to Tennessee and Kentucky in the fall of 2016. We'd spent the previous night at the Cosby Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is one of the crowning jewels of the Appalachian Mountains. Sprawling over 500,000 acres of tree covered mountains, this national park is an amazing wilderness area that isn't too far from civilization.  There are many trails, campgrounds, and visitor centers throughout the park.  You can also drive up to the highest peak in Tennessee- Clingman's Dome. And all of this is free to visit.

Location: Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles the boarder of Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina.  Gatlinburg is the nearest town on the Tennessee side.

Cost: The park is free to visit.  Camping starts at $14 in the front country campgrounds.

Operating Seasons and Hours: The park is open all day every day of the year.  During the winter certain roads, visitor centers, and campgrounds  are closed.

Official Website:

Dates of Visit: Saturday, October 8, and Sunday October 9, 2016.

This was the location where we stayed night of the second day, and spent most of the third day of our road trip to Tennessee and Kentucky in the fall of 2016. We'd randomly discovered Bryson City in North Carolina in the afternoon, and then crossed back to the Tennessee side of the park where our campground was located.


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