Friday, July 17, 2015

Past POIs - Clingmans Dome [Tennessee, United States of America]

Before I did research on this, I actually thought that the observation tower was called Clingmans Dome, but actually, it is a mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains which is a mountain range that spans both Tennessee and North Carolina.

Clingmans Dome, at 6,643 feet (2,025 meters) is the highest mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains, the highest point in Tennessee, and the highest point along the Appalachian Trail.  But, fear not, you don't need to travel too high to get here.  From the parking lot, you are looking at an elevation gain of 300 feet (91 meters) and a total of a 0.5 mile (800 meter) hike.  Oh, access to observation tower is free.

Clingmans Dome Observation Tower
Clingmans Dome's observation tower was built in 1959 and is 45 feet (14 meters) high.  The ramp itself is 375 feet (114 meters) in length and actually has the same grade as the trail so you won't notice a change in your step, quite clever!  The tower is actually one of nine observation towers built as part of the 'Mission 66' program which was meant as a way for the National Park Service to upgrade its facilities (visitor centers, campgrounds, roads, park headquarters, picnic areas, and other tourist facilities) due to an influx of visitors after World War II.  The total cost, $57,000 USD.

Come back Friday for another Past Point of Interest!