Tennessee, Travel

Family Hiking Weekend in the Smoky Mountains

Some of the most incredible views near Gatlinburg can found atop Clingmans Dome. With an elevation of 6644 ft, it is the highest point in the Smoky Mountains as well as the highest point in Tennessee.  

This is our second time visiting the Gatlinburg area, the first was July 4 week last year.


Because we didn’t make it to Clingmans Dome during that trip, I wanted it to be one of the first things we did this time and it surely does not disappoint.  I consider this a must-do when visiting the area!  




The ride to the beginning of the path that leads to the observation area at Clingmans Dome is a beautiful country road with intermittent pull-off areas, trails and stops along the way.  Once you arrive at Clingmans Dome Access Road it’s a short drive to the parking lot (with ample restrooms) but once there, be prepared.  


The half-mile trek to the observation area is very steep and though paved, a bit challenging.  There are benches to rest along the way, so don’t let that discourage you. We pushed a jogging stroller up, but little man did want to get out for a bit and try ‘hiking’  


The walkway leading to the observation area is surrounded by pine trees; it honestly smells like Christmas!  We were a little early to see any Fall foliage as it doesn’t really peak in this area until mid-October, but the views were still gorgeous.






We decided to venture out onto the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail again this year (it’s gorgeous but the curvy roads on the mountainside honestly scare me at a few points on the trail)


We did stop this time about two miles from where we stopped last year and it was just as beautiful as I remembered.




Little man did some exploring in the ice-cold mountain stream and through the cabins and homesteads along the trail.  The above photo is taken from the stream looking out onto the roadway.  

This bridge is approximately at mile-marker 10 on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, just before the Noah Ogle homestead. 

We spent the remainder of our long weekend visiting the Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge and doing some shopping in downtown Gatlinburg. This area of Tennessee has become one that our family truly enjoys and looks forward to each time we visit.



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