Great Smoky Mountains, TN, Clingmans Dome

Bryson City, TN
Length: 1.00 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

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 At 6,643 elevation, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s a steep climb, so expect to go slowly with toddlers walking or get a butt burn carrying (it’s too steep for strollers), but the view will be worth the grind. On a clear day, you can get a 360-degree view of the Smoky Mountains and can see as far away as 100 miles.

There are plenty of bathrooms at the base before the hike up to the dome, but remember if you have potty-training littles to check in with them. The hike up to the dome is paved but not recommended for those in wheelchairs because it’s very steep. If you need to stop and rest, there are benches all along the climb.

Clouds, fog, and colder temperatures are common at Clingmans Dome. Expect it to be 10 to 20 degrees cooler than the lower areas. Bring a light jacket. You may not need it on the climb, but after sweating on the way up, you could get chilly on the way down.

A lush spruce-fir forest surrounds the dome thanks to all of the moisture, and if you want to hike beyond the 0.5-mile haul up to the lookout of the dome, dip into the forest and hike along the Appalachian Trail or find the Forney Ridge Trail that leads to Andrews Bald, a high- elevation grassy bald.

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Paved
Elevation gain 332 ft.
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains Yes
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly No
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles

Trail highlights



“The views were spectacular but it was a clearer day which helped! Toward the end of the trail near the parking area or kids enjoyed climbing on a large boulder area. There is also an area across from that with lots of benches and great views. There are great views from the whole area including the parking lot.” —JENNIFER CAMPBELL


There is plenty of parking which is great! However, this is a very steep trail so once you park, even though it’s paved, plan on walking slowly. Bikes or wheelchairs are not allowed on the trail due to it’s steep nature, so skip the stroller. Jennifer suggests taking a carrier in case your kiddos needed a ride. “They walked up and down a good part of it but did get tired as it got steeper. A hiking harness would have helped!”

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $0.00

Park at the Clingmans Dome Trail head within Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

Trail Contributor

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Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.