Skip to Main Content

Clingmans Dome.

Clingmans Dome

Field review by the editors.

Bryson City, North Carolina

The Space Age observation tower at the summit of Clingman's Dome was criticized as "flashy and conspicuous" by National Park purists when it opened in 1959. It's promoted as a great place to see sunrises and sunsets -- with a potential range of 100 miles -- but the smokey haze of the Smoky Mountains often gets in the way. Also, the summit is sometimes foggy and 20 degrees colder than the base of its seven-mile access road. Summertime visitors in shorts and t-shirts can be in for an uncomfortable surprise. Snow can fall any time between September and May.

The 45-foot-high tower puts visitors at 6,688 feet, four feet higher than the summit of Mount Mitchell, making Clingmans Dome the highest (assisted) natural point east of the Mississippi.

Clingmans Dome is named for North Carolina senator (and Confederate general) Thomas Clingman, but for some reason it isn't spelled with an apostrophe.

Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome Rd, Bryson City, NC
Access road open April-Nov. Tower open year-round. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Road to NowhereRoad to Nowhere, Bryson City, NC - 7 mi.
Museum of Salt and Pepper ShakersMuseum of Salt and Pepper Shakers, Gatlinburg, TN - 11 mi.
Space NeedleSpace Needle, Gatlinburg, TN - 11 mi.
In the region:
Statue of Junaluska, Savior of Andrew Jackson, Lake Junaluska, NC - 30 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in North Carolina

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in North Carolina.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Create and Save Your Own Crazy Road Trip! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

North Carolina Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Cooter's Place, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (Sep 18-24, 2023)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings