Great Smoky Mountains National Park | CLINGMANS DOME REGION

Views from Clingmans Dome area

Views from Clingmans Dome area

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is oval shaped, and nearly all paved roads run around the perimeter. Only one road cuts through the center of the park, Highway 441, and it is at the halfway point on this road that you will find Clingmans Dome, making it the only interior area of the park accessible by vehicle. To reach the interior anywhere else requires hiking, and in most cases, overnight backpacking.

Clingmans Dome, which is actually reached by Clingmans Dome Road (a side road off of Hwy 441), is one of the more popular areas of the park because it offers the most spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains. There are also overlooks along Clingmans Dome Road that have great views.

View from an overlook along Clingmans Dome Road

View from an overlook along Clingmans Dome Road

Excellent scenic views. Vehicle accessible. As you can imagine, the overlooks and parking areas at Clingmans Dome are often packed. But once you get on the trails you will usually find yourself alone, and if you do see other people, you won’t see many.


There are dozens of hiking trails in the Clingmans Dome area, and over 800 miles of trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is not possible for me to hike all of them, but I did hike a few in each region. Here is a suggestion for two hikes that will lead to excellent views of the mountains.

Clingmans Dome Overlook Trail
Strenuous, 1.2-mile round trip hike to the best views in the park.

Forney Ridge Trail to Andrews Bald
Moderate, 3.8-mile round trip to Andrews Bald and great views of the Smokies.


Clingmans Dome Visitor Center

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Last updated on March 14, 2020
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