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‘On top of Old Smoky’ is Clingmans Dome (elevation 6643ft), the park’s highest peak. At the summit, a steep, half-mile paved trail leads to an observation tower offering a 360-degree view of the Smokies and beyond. It can be cold and foggy up here, even when the sun is shining in Sugarlands, so bring a jacket. The tower resembles something of a flying saucer, with a gently curving ramp leading up to the top.
Panels around the viewing platform indicate names of the surrounding peaks and distant places of interest.
As one of the must-see sights in the park, Clingmans Dome gets crowded, especially in the summer. Note that the 7-mile access road to Newfound Gap Rd is closed to vehicles from December through March. The viewpoint is open year-round, however, for those willing to hike in – take care on the trails, which can be icy even in March or April.