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HPH – Clingmans Dome

For some time folks have been asking for an Appalachian Trail (AT) hike, so this is for you and will also be the first in a new series of hikes that I am calling High Point Hikes. http://geology.com/state-high-points.shtml

The objective of the High Point Hikes series will be to reach the summit of the highest point in each of the 50 United States. A dozen of these high points are within easy reach of Memphis, and they will be the first on our list.

http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/clingmansdome.htm

At 6,643 ft, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the State of Tennessee. At the summit there is a free observation tower, and on a clear day it offers views (over a 100 miles) well worth the climb.

Speaking of the climb, this will be a shuttle hike: we will drive up to the Clingmans Dome parking area, and then cram everyone into 1-2 cars and head back down to the trailhead on the AT at Newfound Gap. This is a strenuous hike, but anyone who has come on our regular hikes at Herb Parsons, Lucius Burch, or Shelby Forrest should be able to do this. One way it is 7.9 miles, with the last 2 miles being the worst, so you will definitely want to be able to ride back down.

For the less adventuresome, there is a ½ mile paved trail from the Clingmans Dome parking lot up to the observation tower.

My family and I will already be camping in the Smokies that weekend, but for those coming from Memphis, I would highly recommend driving out Friday night (its a little more than 7 hrs drive). The start time for the hike is tentative right now, and may be moved back to 9 am, but I would suggest no later than that, as the last time I did this hike it took almost 8 hours.

For those wanting to camp, I recommend camping both Friday and Saturday night, and then heading back to Memphis on Sunday. Deep Creek (1800 ft with 108 sites) and Elkmont (2150 ft with 220 sites) Campgrounds are the closest frontcountry camping. See the GSMNP Frontcountry Campground Page for information, including reservations, on these sites.

More details to follow.

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  • Gavin A.

    Great first hike for our High Point Hike series. Enjoyed hiking with Nasser, my nature lover son, Caleb, and Dana. Good conversations (when we could catch our breaths), good food, and especially good to be in the beautiful Smoky Mountains! Will upload some pix, after I get some sleep :-)

    August 11, 2014

  • Wesley M.

    Sorry, I can't make. I started back working Saturdays .

    August 8, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      Wesley, sorry you weren't able to make it.

      August 11, 2014

  • Dana M

    Great company. Incredible mountains. Good food. What else could you ask for?

    1 · August 11, 2014

  • Nasser N.

    Dana, I am glad you eventually made it. I enjoyed the hike. See you in other hikes.

    2 · August 11, 2014

  • Nasser N.

    It was so exciting to hike Smokies for the first time.
    Smokies is so beautiful. I really enjoyed the hike in the company of Gavin, Caleb, and later Dana.
    Gavin, thank you for organizing this event and Looking forward for more such!

    2 · August 11, 2014

  • Gavin A.

    Just a bit of info. It's raining up here today (Friday). Hoping the weather clears up tomorrow for our hike, but predictions right now are for a 40% chance of rain on into tomorrow morning.

    August 8, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      Give you a call when we get back in town. Probably 1 hour.

      August 8, 2014

    • Dana M

      Ok

      August 8, 2014

  • Nasser N.

    Rightly so..the more the merrier!
    Keep me posted.

    1 · July 25, 2014

  • howard

    Gavin, keep me posted on the hike details. I might have to be in Chattanooga Thur and might stay over for the hike.

    1 · August 2, 2014

    • Dana M

      I am leaning towards camping but it is heavily dependent on what time I roll in.

      1 · August 7, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      At this point you'd be setting up on wet ground. It might be worthwhile looking into that same place Nasser is say. Trip Advisor says it's inexpensive.

      August 8, 2014

  • Janetta

    Wow this series looks awesome. I am looking at coming back down to Memphis towards the end of the year- I hope to catch some of these hikes. If not maybe I can copy some of your ideas. Have fun and post lots of pics

    1 · August 8, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      Janetta, we'd love to have you join us! Quite a few of the High Point Hikes are within easy reach of Memphis. Our next one will probably be Mount Magazine (highest point in Arkansas).

      1 · August 8, 2014

  • Nasser N.

    I have made hotel reservation for the night layover at
    Sidney James Mountain Lodge.

    1 · August 7, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      Just checking, your reservation is for tonight, and Saturday night, right. The hike took me 7 hours last time I did it. Hopefully we will make better time than that, but you will probably still want to spend the night and drive back to Memphis Sunday.

      August 8, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      Not a bad choice, by the way — I think it's about a 45 minute drive from there to Newfound Gap (the trailhead for our hike).

      August 8, 2014

  • David

    Cheer up! Being in the Smokies in the rain, is far better than being in the City in the rain, any day of the year!

    1 · August 8, 2014

  • Gavin A.

    Hooray! Sounds like my oldest has decided to do the hike with us!

    1 · August 5, 2014

  • Susan I.

    What is the altitude gain?

    August 4, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      Approx. 1700'

      August 4, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      Most of that is in the last 2 miles of the hike.

      August 4, 2014

  • Nasser N.

    Hey Gavin,

    Thank you for the useful information you posted.
    I don't have any problem starting at 9 AM or even earlier since the earlier we start the more time we have. But either way is fine with me just wanted to let you know.

    1 · August 3, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      I'm very much for 9 am, just trying to be considerate of others who will have driven a longer distance the night before.

      August 3, 2014

  • Nasser N.

    Also in the short conversation we had yesterday you said that you we may ( or will) climb down using a car. I wonder if you can consider doing both ascend and descend on foot. Since driving 16 hours we want to make something really good out of it. This of course is my preference but i can go either way the group wants to.

    August 3, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      Nasser, I've tried doing that before, and it's too much for me. However, once we get to the top, if you feel like hiking back down or if others feel like it, you guys could always do that. Just because I'm driving back down doesn't mean that you have to.

      August 3, 2014

  • Gavin A.

    So, it looks like Cades Cove is probably not the best option for camping, for those camping. Here's what is recommended on the Hiking website.

    There are some useful fee-based developed (aka frontcountry) campgrounds such as the Deep Creek (1800' with 108 sites) and Elkmont (2150' with 220 sites) Campgrounds. Deep Creek is open April 6 - November 1 and Elkmont from March 16 to November 26. See the GSMNP Frontcountry Campground Page (http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/frontcountry-camping.htm) for information, including reservations, on these sites.

    August 2, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      I'm leaning toward Elkmont myself, just because I think my kids will like it better.

      August 2, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      Smokemont also looks like a good option. See map photo I posted.

      August 2, 2014

  • Nasser N.

    Great!

    August 2, 2014

  • Gavin A.

    Hooray! I see that Dana has signed on for this hike!

    1 · August 2, 2014

  • David

    I biked up the to that tower about 4-5 years ago, and came back down the same 7 miles very fast, too fast, but was lucky. My tire did not blow out until the next day in Hiawasse, GA, where I did a triathlon. When I was at the Bikes Plus later that week getting the bike serviced because I just about burnt out the brakes, I told Karen M, about it and that I was glad the tire had not blown on that downhill. She said right, they probably would have never found you! She was probably right. So you all be careful too!

    1 · July 27, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      Thanks! We will.

      July 28, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      when I was over at Mount Magazine, AR, this month, there were guys going up there on bikes, and all I could think was, "You have to come back down!" I was having a fun time of it with the brakes in my car — can't even imagine it on a bike!

      July 28, 2014

  • David

    Have fun! The Smokies are the best!

    1 · July 27, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      Thanks! Wish you were coming with us.

      July 27, 2014

  • Nasser N.

    Good idea, Gavin!
    This way I can hook up with that group too!

    1 · July 25, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      I've sent out an email to their organizers. I'll let you know what I hear back. I figure, the more the merrier.

      July 25, 2014

  • Nasser N.

    Hi Gavin
    This is great!

    1 · July 17, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      Look forward to seeing you there, Nasser!

      July 17, 2014

    • Gavin A.

      I'm thinking about asking if any in the Great Smokies Hiking & Adventure Group want to join in. I'm also part of their meetup.

      July 25, 2014

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