Smoky Mountain NP – Clingman’s Dome

We decided to visit Clingman’s Dome today.  At 6,644 feet it is Tennessee’s highpoint.  Vickie and I have been here before on our quest to touch the highest point in each state (We currently have 47 of them done!).  We left the Elkmont campground where the weather was mostly sunny and 65.  When we got to the parking lot to begin the short ½ mile walk to the summit it was foggy & 32 degrees with 5” of fresh snow. The approach to the 54’ high lookout was an eerie sight, sort of like something from an old science fiction movie.

We walked to the top of the lookout and got the ‘normal’ view, clouds.  (so no summit pictures-nothing to see).  We walked back down to the parking lot and came across a busload of kids from Florida who have never seen snow!  They were very excited, screaming, laughing and running up the trail.  Most of the boys were in shorts and T-shirts with some sort of tread-less sneakers.  The girls were wearing yoga pants and flip flops, huddling together and walking arm-in-arm up the trail.  All of them were complaining about the cold only 100 yards into the 1000 yard uphill walk.  What they didn’t realize was a 35 MPH wind was waiting for them at the top of the tower!  I am from Minnesota and used to the cold, I only wore a long pants, a windbreaker and a T-shirt, but i was still chilled at the top.

We left before the kids came back and invaded the parking & rest rooms.  We’ve had enough of winter this year in Minnesota and we headed back down to warmer weather.

Next stop Laurel Falls!





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