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Another way to tour Great Smoky Mountains National Park by car is via the Clingman’s Dome Road. The first time we drove to Clingman’s Dome, we weren’t able to get out of the car at the Dome lot because a storm had descended on us. But on the drive up, we were able to stop at several pull-outs for breathtaking views.
We began at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. We perused the exhibits, watched a short film and got our bearings for the drive into the mountains.
From the visitor center, it was about 13 miles to Newfound Gap. We pulled over at some scenic vistas. There were dark storm clouds in the distance.
At 5000 feet elevation, Newfound Gap is the lowest pass through the Smoky Mountains. It was discovered in 1872. Prior to that, the lowest pass was thought to be Indian Gap, two miles to the west.
At Newfound Gap, you can straddle the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. The Appalachian Trail is also accessible here.
The Clingman’s Dome Road begins at Newfound Gap. It is seven miles from here to the parking lot for the Dome, with more pull-outs along the way to enjoy the scenery. If you’re lucky, you’ll climb to the Dome at the end of the drive.
But on this day, we had to be content with the journey and save the destination for a sunny day.
To see my other Great Smoky Mountain National Posts, click the following links:
Location: Gatlinburg, TN
Designation: National Park
Date designation declared: 9/02/1940
Date of my visit: August 2013