I told you about our stay in Tennessee a few weekends ago. Although I mainly focused on our outings within the city, and left out what we did during the day. Since we only had one day to check out the National Park we wanted to make the best of it. Upon waking up, and having a bagel breakfast at the campsite, we began to make our way to Clingmans Dome.
Along the way we picked up a set of hardcore-outdoor enthusiasts, who were trying to make their way to a place that happened to be along our route. They were very nice fellows who, by 10 or 11 o'clock, had already biked like 14 miles, and were planning to do a loop hike of an equally astonishing number of miles. I mean we were half their age and couldn't imagine keeping up with the likes of them! Despite their best efforts to get us to try another hike, after dropping them off, we continued on our way to Clingmans Dome.
One of the primary reasons the hikers were attempting to deter us from going to Clingmans Dome was due to it's popularity amongst tourists. I didn't really care how many other folks were going to be there, I just wanted to go and see for myself. We dealt with a large amount of tourists in Gatlinburg, it couldn't be that bad!
The "trail" was a very steep 0.5 mile concrete walkway to an observation tower that was constructed in 1959. To be honest, I can't see why it's such a popular destination amongst tourists because that hike was mighty strenuous. I mean, you didn't get any switchbacks, you went straight up! Cody and I were troopers, and left the rest of the tourists to eat our dust as they stopped to take breaks every 20 steps. Cody even reprimanded me when I stopped to snap a quick photo because it messes up our momentum.......he's a slave driver I tell ya'!
At the tip-top of the 54 foot observation tower, you are standing at the highest point (6,643 ft.) in the smokies, and the second highest east of the Mississippi. Thankfully, we went on an especially clear day, and had panoramic views that went for miles.
The serpentine ramp coiled it's way to the top.
Slowly, I made my way to the deck so that I could enjoy the vistas with the other sightseers.
It was magnificent, those views never cease to amaze me.
Making your way back down, believe it or not, is rougher on your body.
Towards the end, I had to walk backwards because my knees were killing me.
Walking backwards did really help.
At the end, we had a picnic on a grassy island at the head of the parking lot.
Though this is a high traffic area of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, it is definitely not something you want to miss. I highly recommend seeing this modern marvel if you're going to be visiting the park. If not, I hope you enjoyed the photo tour of Clingmans Dome.