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  Clingman's Dome is perhaps the best vista in the North Carolina mountains for Sunset appreciation.

Getting There:

Clingman's Dome straddles the border of North Carolina and Tennessee between Cherokee and Gatlinburg on Hwy. 441 in the Great Smoky Mountains. The 30 mile drive between these two vacation hotspots is one of the finest around. As you climb to the top of the the Smoky Mountains from Cherokee, follow the signs. A turn-off that is clearly marked will be on your left. The parking area provides a spectacular panorama that all can enjoy.


  • The paved trail from the parking lot to the observation deck is short (1/2 mile or so), yet can be difficult once you factor in the altitude and the climb. Remember though, it's downhill on the return.
  • The Appalachian trail winds its way across the summit of the mountain here as well, so you can literally have a field day!


Depending on the weather, since there are really dozens of quality vistas along this route, I'd rather save my walking for Gatlinburg. However, the vista, as well as the exercise can hardly be beaten. In the next few miles past the turn-off to Clingman's Dome, there are several great stopping points to rest or relax.