Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Clingman's Dome

The high point of our days in the Great Smokies (literally) was our walk up to the highest point in the park, Clingman's Dome.  We headed up the road that rose steadily south, starting to switchback once we got to the steeper valleys.

This was an early viewpoint where I started to learn about the wide range of forest types in the park, and in the Appalachians more generally, with different forest types occupying different elevations on the mountain slopes.  You may be able to pick out a tiny spot of white hoarfrost on the distant highest peak.

By the time we got near the top the forest was very different to that in the valleys, a complete switch from deciduous trees like tulip to evergreens and some stunted oaks, along with 'bald' patches.  This viewpoint looks south from the top, down the highway in North Carolina that had been closed due to a landslide.

The final walk to the peak is an easy climb up a wide paved trail that must get very busy at times.  We were astonished to find this lookout tower at the top, to give you a view out over the trees.  Quite a structure!

And the view was indeed spectacular, out over those mountains that give the 'Smokies', and the 'Blue Ridge' further east, their names.

And there was plenty of very heavy hoarfrost at this elevation, over 6000 feet.  We had a perfect bright sunny day too, if cold, so this was certainly a memorable day from our travels for us.

And this is one of our favourite pictures, looking over the increasingly blue ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains in the distance.


  1. Very beautiful scenery. That lookout tower is really something!

  2. So beautiful, the mountains don't look real, but in a good way!! I don't think I have ever seen a prettier frost!!

  3. Amazing vistas!

    I've heard a good deal about the people who got together to organize the idea of a national park there. It's a remarkable story.

  4. Clingman's Dome is one of the most famous places on the Appalachian Trail.

  5. Beautiful. That is some lookout tower!!

  6. I've enjoyed your last several posts. This is a part of the world we would like to visit but haven't made it yet. Thanks for sharing your trip!