Friday, July 21, 2017

Clingmans Dome, GSMNP, NC

At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is Great Smoky Mountains National Park's highest point. It is the highest point in Tennessee.  We drove up to check out the views at the observation tower.  You can drive almost all the way to the tower. There is just a short, but very steep (350 elevation gain in .5 mile) paved trail up to the tower. So we did that to enjoy the views and then walked a bit of the Appalachian Trail which cuts right through the area and then on to the Forney Ridge Trail.  The Forney Ridge Trail takes you through beautiful, dark, wet, lush green forest to Andrews Bald which is an open meadow at the end of a ridge.  Again, great views!

view on the drive up to Clingmans Dome

Forney Ridge Trail

looking past wild azalea bushes to the hill beyond

Andrews Bald

heading back down the mountain

wild flowers everywhere!
Turks cap lily

Beautiful wild flowers line the roads up in the park and add to the beauty of the lush forest.  It is a few degrees cooler and the shade from the trees helps while hiking.  Getting out early is still more comfortable though as the temps are in the low 80's with 60+ percent humidity!

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