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||Clingman's Dome is perhaps the best vista in the North
Carolina mountains for Sunset appreciation. |
Getting There:Clingman's Dome straddles the border of North
Carolina and Tennessee between Cherokee and Gatlinburg on Hwy. 441 in the
Great Smoky Mountains. The 30 mile drive between these two vacation hotspots
is one of the finest around. As
you climb to the top of the the Smoky Mountains from Cherokee, follow the signs. A
turn-off that is clearly marked will be on your left. The parking area provides a spectacular
panorama that all can enjoy.
- The paved trail from the parking lot to the observation
deck is short (1/2 mile or so), yet can be difficult once you factor in
the altitude and the climb. Remember though, it's downhill on the return.
The Appalachian trail winds its way across the summit of the mountain here as well,
so you can literally have a field day!
Comments:Depending on the weather, since there are really dozens of quality
vistas along this route, I'd rather save my walking for Gatlinburg.
However, the vista, as well as the exercise can hardly be beaten. In the next few miles past the
turn-off to Clingman's Dome, there are several great stopping points to
rest or relax.