A Walk up to Clingman’s Dome

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Hello, hello!  It is a bright and early Monday morning for me, how about you?  And about this time last Monday, we were driving up a mountain.  We had the chance to take a short little trip to the Smoky Mountains last weekend and had a great time away.  We saw several sights and even in our short trip, did several fun things.  I will have more on all that as the week goes on, but today, I am starting with the last day of the trip.

There were only two things I really wanted to do while we were at Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge: walk across the new Sky Bridge and go up to Clingman’s Dome.  In fact it was Clingman’s Dome that actually took us to the mountains.  Our original plan for the weekend away was to spend a couple of days in Knoxville, but then I looked up how far the Dome was from there and suggested we just go to the Gatlinburg area since it’s been on our travel list for quite a while, plus it would be much closer to what I wanted to see.

We started our trek up the mountain at around 9:30-10 am.  We weren’t the only ones with this destination in mind.  It took us just over an hour to make it to the parking lot of the dome, and it took about 10 mins to find a parking spot in the very packed place.  (The cars I was seeing parked along the sides of the road just as we were getting closer to the top were there for a reason.)  We were just about to exit the parking area and drive around it again when someone pulled out of their spot, so parking could have very well taken another 10 minutes had that not happened.  There was also a wait for the bathrooms before we hit the trail.

I read a bit about the place before we visited so I knew kind of what to expect about the walk.  It was paved, and according to most it was not your everyday walk in the park.  There was a good amount of an incline and it was about a mile round trip.  Nothing we couldn’t handle.

And so up to the top we went.  Just like the rest of the area, there were people everywhere.  The trail had plenty of places to stop and take a break if needed, and plenty of places to stop and take pictures.  I was there for the views and to take 798 pictures, my guy was there because of me, and my boy was there to do flips with cool backgrounds behind him.  And now for all the pictures.  There were so many wildflowers along the way, I kept stopping to take pictures then running to catch up to just stop again and take a dozen more.  The whole walk was beautiful!  And the air was fresh and about 20 degrees cooler than town, 69* was what our car said when we parked.  However, the sweater I brought with me did not get worn as it didn’t take long for me to start feeling like this walk was a workout.

Just before the dome, there is a cut off for the Appalachian Trail.  Also about here the trail starts to even out and not feel so steep.  We stopped for more pictures and the boy had to do another flip, then we saw what we came to see, the Dome.  It was smaller than I thought it would be from all the pictures I had seen.  Still pretty impressive though and in my opinion, worth the hike.  😉

We stayed up here for a bit – took a lot more pictures and the boy did his flips – then we started back down the trail.

Since we were headed home, we had Yuki with us.  She wasn’t allowed on the trail, but it was cool enough that she stayed comfortably in the car.  In fact, there were lots of people with pets waiting.  We had one last quick mountain side walk for her sake and headed back down the mountain.

We had a great time!  And the hour long walk was just what we needed before getting into the car for a 5 and a half hour drive home.  I’d love to take the trek again in a different season to see what would be blooming at another time.  I found a new favorite flower, and with a little hunting I found out what it’s called: a Mountain Angelica, but I will call it a Pom Pom Umbrella.  So pretty!  I’d love to see it in a month or so with more blooms.

And that’s all I have to say about Clingman’s Dome.  ❤

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