State Highpoints – Tennessee - 6,643’ Clingmans Dome
Tennessee’s highest peak and the 17th highest US state summit, 6,643-foot Clingmans Dome, is located on the Tennessee/North Carolina border on the east side of Tennessee. Clingmans Dome is the highest peak in Great Smokey Mountains National Peak and is also the highest peak in both Swain (NC) and Seiver (TN) Counties. With 4,513 feet of prominence, Clingmans Dome is the most prominent peak in Tennessee. Only 41 feet shorter than nearby Mount Mitchell, Clingmans Dome is the third highest peak in the eastern US, and being in a national park, probably sees more visitors than Mitchell.
Clingmans Dome is a near drive up. There is a road to a parking lot just an easy half mile from the actual highpoint. To reach this parking lot from the west, take Exit 407 from I 40 onto TN State Highway 68 that merges with US 441 in Sevierville. Continue south on US 441 to Gatlinburg. It’s usually quicker to take the bypass around busy Gatlinburg. From the Sugarlands Visitor Center, go 13.3 miles on US 441 to Newfound Gap Overlook on your left. Go 0.2 mile past the Newfound Gap Overlook, turn right onto the Clingmans Dome Road, and follow this road for 7.0 miles to the parking lot. The Clingmans Dome Road is closed in winter.
The paved trail to the summit starts at the west end of the parking lot. To reach the summit, follow this sometimes steep but wide paved trail up the hill to the northwest. Near the summit, you will find the dramatic curved ramp that leads up to the viewing platform that is above the trees. From this platform, you will have expansive views in all directions. With care, this highpoint is wheelchair accessible. If you are interested in the highest natural ground, you will need to poke around in the woods below the viewing tower. This is a rough wooded area, and it is not clear exactly where the highest ground is.