Excerpt From 101 Travel Bits: Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Clingmans Dome
Time for an excerpt from our book, 101 Travel Bits: Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Today's excerpt is from the book's entry on Clingman's Dome - the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
"Clingmans Dome, at 6,643 feet (2,025 m) tall, is the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the third tallest mountain in the United States east of the Mississippi River. At the peak of the mountain, visitors will find an observation tower, where on a clear day you can see over 100 miles (160 km) and seven states.
When settlers moved into the area, they called Clingmans Dome “Smoky Dome.” Because of this nickname and its height, there are some who claim that the “Old Smoky” referenced in the song “On Top of Old Smoky” is a reference to Clingmans Dome.
Despite its height, reaching the top of Clingmans Dome is easier than reaching any other mountaintop in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A paved road leads to a parking lot just a few hundred feet below the summit, and the summit itself is reached by a paved trail. Those heading to Clingmans Dome should know that the temperature at the top of the mountain is often significantly cooler than the lower portions of the mountains around it. It is also often cloudy and rainy at the top of Clingmans Dome when the weather is nicer elsewhere in the park. It rains so much at the top of the mountain that the forest that grows at the summit is considered a coniferous rainforest."
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