Dome, at 6,643 feet above sea level, is the highest point in
the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is the second
highest point in the eastern United States. Clingmans Dome
is only second in height to Mount Mitchell at 6,684 feet.
Clingmans Dome is the highest point on the Appalachian
Trail which runs across this peak and nearby Newfoundland
On a clear day you can see over one hundred miles and
seven states, although the norm is about twenty two miles.
The weather can change quickly on Clingmans. Be prepared
with warm clothing when you take the one half mile hike up
the steep walkway to the Clingmans observation tower which
rises 54 feet above the mountain peak. The road from
Newfoundland Gap to Clingmans is closed from December 1st to
April 1st even though you can hike or cross country ski the
7 miles to the peak.
The Clingmans Dome Air Quality Station is located
6,510 feet above sea level making it the highest monitoring
station in eastern North America.
When you visit the peak, you will notice most all of
the older spruce fir trees are dead. This is due to a
parasite insect , the Balsam Woolly Adelgid, which attacks
the fir trees. They were brought to the United States from
Japan by accident in the 1950's . This insect has been
devastating to the fir trees in the US and until recently,
there was no effective way to combat it. In the 1990's
researches went to Japan and found a beetle which eats the
Balsam Wooly Adelgid and their eggs. These beetles, similar
to a ladybug, have been released in the area to help protect
the forest. New spruce fir trees are rapidly replacing the
old, dead trees, but it will be many years before Clingmans
will be home to the large trees that inhabited the area only
a few years ago.
Below you will see several pictures of the Clingmans Dome
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