Great Smoky Mountains National Park
From black bears to salamanders. Old-growth forests to spring wildflowers. Log cabins to grist mills. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a myriad of opportunities for exploring and discovering both the natural and cultural history of these ancient mountains.
Operating Hours and Seasons
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Some areas of the park may be closed temporarily due to construction, weather, etc. For updated information about closures, contact the national park information line at (865) 436-1200.
Entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is FREE. The park is one of the only major national parks that does not charge an entrance fee.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Points of Interest
At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the highest point in Tennessee and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Only Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) and Mt. Craig (6,647), both located in Mt. Mitchell State Park in western North Carolina, rise higher. The observation tower on the summit of Clingmans Dome offers spectacular 360° views of the Smokies and beyond for visitors willing to climb the steep half-mile walk to the tower at the top.
On clear days views expand over 100 miles.
Clouds, precipitation, and cold temperatures are common at Clingmans Dome. Temperatures at the dome can be 10 -20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than in the surrounding lowlands. In fact, the cool, wet conditions on Clingmans Dome's summit make the spruce-fir forest that grows there a coniferous rainforest. Proper preparation is essential for a good visit. Dress in layers and be sure to bring a jacket, even in summer.
Although Clingmans Dome is open year-round, the road leading to it is closed from December 1 through March 31, and whenever weather conditions require.
It's seven miles to the end of Clingmans Dome Road and there are scenic pullouts with endless views of ridges and valleys along the way. The road ends in a large parking area from which a 0.5-mile trail leads to the summit. The trail is paved but steep and leads to an observation tower on top.