My visit to Clingmans Dome was part of a week-long road trip through Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky that featured a great deal of wonderful food and drink (bourbon). I hit Clingman’s Dome while driving from Nashville, TN, to Asheville, NC, thinking this somewhat remote peak would be a quick stop for a calming ~1 mile hike.
Although the hike was indeed that short, what blew my mind was the utter zoo of people who had the exact same idea that day. There were several hundred other people crowding the trail, and cars backed up so uch on the road it was easier to park a half mile away and walk to the trailhead.
Now that I’m re-reading it, the Sumitpost page does say it is the most visited highpoint. But why? The hike so short it doesn’t make sense to go through that hassle. It must be some combination of the holiday week (this was July 2, 2017), the proximity to Dollywood, and nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park that draws the crowds.
Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable jaunt to the top to see the flying saucer tower, sneak my first peak of the Appalachian Trail, and have my fourth highpoint in the books.