Are you staying at White Oak Lodge and Resort, and are you a fan of sweeping vistas? Then we have great news for you! Great Smoky Mountain National Park officials recently announced that rehabilitation work on the Clingman’s Dome Observation Tower has been suspended. This means that you can get stunning panoramic views of the Smokies this winter.
Originally the 45-foot tall Observation Tower would remain closed throughout the winter. However, workers finished ahead of schedule with much needed repairs on walls, columns and stone masonry.
There will be another short, two-week closure in spring to finish the final overlay.
About Clingman’s Dome
Clingman’s Dome refers to the mountain and is located in both Tennessee and North Carolina. At 6,643 feet, it is not only the highest point in Tennessee, but also the highest peak along the Appalachian Trail. When conditions are favorable, you can see up to 100 miles in the distance from the Observation Tower. Unfortunately, air pollution often limits the viewing distance considerably. If you are fortunate enough, you may be able to see as many as seven states!
How to Get There
Keep in mind that from December 1 to March 31 you can’t reach the Observation Tower by car, since Clingman’s Dome Road will be closed, which is usual for this time of year. Hikers or cross-country skiers can still use the road. Alternatively, take the Appalachian Trail from the parking area at Newfound Gap. Plan accordingly, and give yourself plenty of time. Round trip is about 16 miles, so start early. Make sure to dress in layers, as it can get cold on Clingman’s Dome.
Whether you like the prospect of a hiking adventure, or prefer smaller crowds at Clingman’s Dome, visiting this landmark during the winter months can be very rewarding. After your visit warm up by the fireplace of your White Oak Lodge and Resort cabin or condo.
How many states were you able to see from the observation deck at Clingman’s Dome? Share your comments (and panorama photos) with us!