Clingmans Dome - 6,643 feet


Summited on 6/30/02 - Highpoint #5 of 50

Mark on the summit of Clingman's Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on 6/30/02.  

I summited Tennessee after having done North Carolina earlier in the day. The drive to Clingman's Dome is anything but fun. You have no choice but to drive through what seems to be the worst tourist town in America, Cherokee NC. The traffic was absolutely horrendous and the touristy garbage along the side of the road was beyond tacky. Thankfully I was going north whereas the bulk of the traffic was going south. I finally made it to the road to Clingman's Dome and it started to rain on the way up. I pulled into the parking lot as the skies fully opened up and dumped heavy rains. I was on a tight schedule so I couldn't afford to wait out the rain, I put on the rain gear and headed up the half mile trail to the summit. I passed all kinds of people that were getting soaked coming back down the trail. To my great surprise, when I got to the summit the rain suddenly stopped and I was the only one there. The summit of Clingman's Dome has probably the most unusual feature of any highpoint. It has a 'flying saucer'. The saucer allows you to get above the trees and actually see the views. As it had just stopped raining the views were not particularly spectacular, but I did enjoy a solid 20 minutes of solitude on the summit before the next person showed up. I beat feet out of there and drove to the trailhead where I managed to make camp just as it got dark and started to rain. A cold dinner being my final reward for a day's efforts.

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