One of the best memories I have of two years in Missouri in the army at Ft. Leonard Wood was the trip my wife and I made to Tennessee and the Great Smokies. As I remember, the most difficult thing was finding a parking space. Great views in all directions and I came to an understanding of how the "Great Smokies" got their name. I'd love to do this one again. Several bears that were panhandling created a traffic jam on the road up. : )
In the early 70's I saw the summit forest intact. Beautiful elfin forest of Red Spruce and Fraser Fir(Balsam). Since then it has become a sad reminder of bug importation- Euro aphid and Acid Rain. Walked up in summer 86 from Cades Cove over Thunder Head etc. took two nights out. and hitch hiked out with a one-eyed driver, a Vietnam Vet who had a handy beer cooler in the back. "Help yourselves boys and pass me some. One has to negotiate a long canyon
from Sugarlands back to Cades Cove but our Odin like driver with Meade by Miller was more than up to the task.
I've never climbed Clingman's Dome. I always drive up and stroll to the tower. Of my four trips, three of them found the summit in its usual overcast mantle of clouds. The last time, though, in 1999, the air was clear and the view amazing. As with the rest of the high country along the spine of the Southern Appalachians, it's horrifying to see the effects of acid rain on the healthy evergreen climax forests I hiked through as a youth. I'm glad I saw them at their peak, but the destruction of those forests by pollution still horrifies and enrages me.
Brutal cold in April - but no tourists. Nice views of the Smokies from the tower. The tower reminded me of a marble race toy we had when we were kids.
I got to the parking lot at about 7:00 on what would later be a crowded summer Sunday. Early in the morning, however, I had the whole place to myself, except for a nice couple from Georgia. The views were nice, except for the dead trees. I'm sure the place was truly stunning before the trees died. It's too bad the Park Service can't (or won't, what ever the case may be) do anything to save them. I encountered a verly large (and brave) doe on the way down. Get there early to avoid the crowds!
Highpoint number 6 for Dy and I.
I drove the scenic route between Chattanooga and Kentucky by going over the Great Smoky Mtns National Park and also driving to the this lofty summit. It is disappionting to see the adelgid destroying the alpine forests up there. The fall colors lower down were spectacular.
Snowy and cold when I was there. I was tempted to bivy near the tower. I never did make it out to the next shelter - too much snow and downed trees. I slept in the restrooms at the gap. Running water and a toilet!!!
Also climbed again 23 Apr 2007 to finish off the Mountain to Sea Trail. It was much easier this time!
Had a nice two day trip.
Hit this peak on two different occasions when I did 3 and 4 day treks in this area in the mid 90's.
When we reached the summit winds were approaching 60 mpg. The background of all our pictures turned out white due to fog and rain. It was cold and wet... We had a blast!
"lonely" mountain with a "great" view (5 Miles) on lots of dead trees.
Use the Clingman's Dome parking lot as a jumping off point for a lot of aour backpacking trips. The mountain is crowded most of the year except for mid December thru mid March when you have to hike 7 miles to reach it. Views are spectacular year round.
Hiked Newfound Gap to Silers Bald and back. Average 2 feet of snow on trail, and lotsa ice. Beautiful, quiet, and peaceful.
Nice mountain, and very nice view from the top! One of the 50 state high-points as well. Definitely a nice national park to go visit (Great Smoky Mountains NP).
Started at the top, did a 4 day loop and returned to the top via Forney Ridge.
Walk up a paved trail after the wind gave us fits trying to get the jackets on in the parking lot...
I also crossed on the AT but not on a complete hike through.
Hiked over Clingmans Dome on my 1995 AT thru-hike. This was a new "elevation record" for me at the time.
Since I couldn't find any reasonable hiking information before arriving at the park I just drove to this summit - a problem that SP goes a long way to fixing ;-). Although I didn't find any snow, I was pretty surprised at all the rime and clear ice I found - in fact it only took a few minutes before my car windows were completely coated with ice (no visibility) once the sun went down. I was lucky enough to have the summit tower to myself on both the evening of the 4th and the morning of the 5th. The scenery and views were amazing though my photos should be rescanned sometime.