Clingmans Dome is in the Great Smoky National Forest. Well known for it’s beautiful views, at 6,644′ it is the highest mountain in the Smokies. On a clear day, you can see 7 states from the top: Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. Our visit to the famous summit was rainy and cloudy but we didn’t let that stop us! We made it to the top and I’m sure the views would have been amazing if it weren’t for those pesky rain clouds. The very steep, paved trail leading to the dome was a real cardiac workout. Thankfully, there were several benches strategically placed along the way.
The flowers and birds we saw as we walked, were beautiful. A group of Cedar Waxwings were watching us as we trekked up the half mile trail. They didn’t mind the rain so why should we?
An interesting fact to note about Clingmans Dome, it is the highest point on the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). The 2,200 mile A.T. stretches from Georgia to Maine, passing through 14 states. Hiking enthusiasts from all over love to hike it and about 224 miles of the trail follow the North Carolina/Tennessee border.
We took the A.T. a few feet off the Clingman path just so we could say we were on it.
Another point of interest in the Smoky Mountain National Park is the Mingus Mill. The historic 1886 working, water-powered turbine Grist Mill is open to the public and free to tour.
There is so much to see and do in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This part of the country holds limitless opportunities to see and enjoy God’s creation. Pack a lunch and take a drive, you never know what you might find, most of it free and educational. Next week, we’ll tell you about our hikes to some beautiful waterfalls in Bryson City, NC and one near Lake Glenville, NC. If you’re looking for a great place to stay in Western North Carolina check out www.moonshinecreek.com!