If you’re like me, you probably think of Clingmans Dome as just a high mountain peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But there’s so much more to it than that! Here are 5 things I never knew existed at Clingmans Dome.
1. Secret Tunnel At Clingmans Dome
Most people, including myself for the longest, never knew this existed at Clingmans Dome! The secret tunnel under Clingmans Dome was constructed in the 1930s by a group called the Civilian Conservation Corps. To reach the hidden tunnel, simply follow Clingmans Dome Road to the access point. Then, park your car and continue to walk 0.2 miles up the road. When you reach the big stone bridge, head down the hill, and you’ll see the tunnel! The tunnel kept hikers from crossing the road and prevented collisions between equestrian traffic and automobile traffic in the early days of the national park.
2. The Amount Of Balsam Trees At The Summit
I never knew that the top of the mountain would have so many Balsam trees that smelt like a Christmas Yankee Candle. Other than the views, the natural smell of the Holiday season truly made the whole experience that much more special and memorable. If there was a scent stand at the top of the summit, I would have bought multiple candles; it was such an invigorating, refreshing scent, especially after a long day of exploring the Great Smoky Mountains.
3. The Really Steep Climb At Clingmans Dome
I surely never knew that the steepest climb I’ve ever climbed existed here. This surprised me because of how steep the drive alone was to get to the top of the mountain. I believed the uphill climb was over once I parked my car – I was wrong! The half-mile trail to the summit of Clingmans Dome is paved but very steep. During the short hike, you will gain 332 feet, which makes the climb gradient almost 13%! However, THE CLIMB IS WORTH IT! You will feel so accomplished after the hike up to the top, and you’re immediately rewarded with spectacular 360-degree views of the Smokies!
4. You Can See 7 States At Clingmans Dome
I didn’t know this existed anywhere, to be honest – to see seven states from one location, but at Clingmans Dome, it is possible! On clear, pollution-free days, views expand over 100 miles and into seven states (Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, South Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, and Mississippi).
5. Clingmans Dome Is Accessible
One thing I didn’t know existed at Clingmans Dome until I reached the summit is that the pathway up is wheelchair-accessible and stroller accessible! Now, by all means, it will be a treacherous climb to push both because it is so steep. However, it is important to note because most people I’ve spoken to that have never been believed it doesn’t exist because it’s on the top of the mountain – BUT it does! Everyone should experience the amazing surreal views at the highest point of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Exploration Begins Here!
If you’re looking for a unique and beautiful place to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains, be sure to add Clingmans Dome to your list. There’s something for everyone there, whether you’re interested in nature, history, or just want some amazing views. Don’t forget to call us for discounts on your next trip!