Gatlinburg to Clingman’s Dome




Island in the Smokey's

Gatlinburg to Clingman's Dome Heartrate Data

How is that for a scenic view and ride profile? It took just over two hours to do the 22 mile climb out of Gatlinburg up to the Clingman’s Dome parking lot – and then only 42 minutes to make it all the way back down! That works out to an average speed of 11mph on the way up and 31mph on the way back down. My one mistake for the ride was not realizing that there is actually a paved path the rest of the way up to the lookout tower that is like a hot wheel’s track for grown-ups. When Kristine and I drove back up to the top later, we passed a small group of cyclists nearing the top. We then saw them riding up the path and caught up to them while they rested at the lookout tower. I found out they race for a team in the tri-state area (TN-NC-VA). The view is absolutely amazing. Check out the rest of the photos from the ride.

Another view from the Clingman's Dome parking lot

After about 45 minutes of climbing I made it to the Chimney Top trailhead - this is the view looking back down the valley

View from near the top of the spur road leading to Clingman's Dome

Cyclists at the top of the Clingman Dome's lookout tower

The paved path to the top of Clingman's Dome

Looking south towards Brasstown Bald - the tower ramp is in the foreground

Looking east-northeast towards Mt Mitchell

Looking north to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge


3 responses to “Gatlinburg to Clingman’s Dome”

  1. Neil Avatar

    I’m heading here later this year, what was the gradient like? I heard part of this route is closed to cars on certain days, how was the traffic elsewhere? Thank you for your time.

  2. kartoone Avatar

    Hey Neil, I’m not real familiar with the area as we only go up there once a year — but I wasn’t aware that any part of the ride was closed to cars. I have only ever ridden on Saturday. The traffic on the main highway is pretty heavy on Saturday, but if you go super early (~6AM) then you can do the climb without much trouble and then because of your speed on the descent there aren’t too many cars that pass you. Also, the last few miles after you turn off the main highway are usually closed from sometime in mid to late November until early spring because of snow. The gradient is amazingly consistent throughout the climb at right about 5% or just under. There are only a few places where it flattens a bit, and then there are only a few steeper pitches but still below 10%. The thing about this climb is just that it is super long – over 20 miles!

  3. […] 2009 – First successful summit of Clingman’s Dome (parking lot) […]

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