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Great Smoky Mountain National Park

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Published on Sep 7, 2010

Clingmans Dome (or Clingman's Dome) is a mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, in the southeastern United States. At an elevation of 6,643 feet (2,025 m), it is the highest mountain in the Smokies, the highest point in the state of Tennessee, and the highest point along the 2,174-mile (...3,499 km) Appalachian Trail. East of the Mississippi River, only Mount Mitchell (6,684 ft) and Mount Craig (6,647 ft) are higher.

Clingmans Dome is currently protected as part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A paved road, closed in winter (December 1 through March 31), connects it to U.S. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road). The concrete observation tower, built in 1959, offers a panoramic view of the mountains in every direction. An air quality monitoring station, operated by the Environmental Protection Agency, is the second highest in eastern North America.

The Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest which covers Clingmans Dome occurs only at the highest elevations in the southeastern United States, and has more in common with forests at northern latitudes than with the forests in the adjacent valleys. Clingmans Dome stands prominently above the surrounding terrain, rising nearly 5,000 feet (1,500 m) from base to summit.

A Wondrous Diversity of Life

Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America's most visited national park. Things to Do

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker's paradise with over 800 miles of maintained trails ranging from short leg-stretchers to strenuous treks that may require backcountry camping. But hiking is not the only reason for visiting the Smokies. Car camping, fishing, picnicking, wildlife viewing and auto touring are popular activities. Wildlife

Most visitors come to the Smokies hoping to see a bear. Some 1,500 bears live in the park. From the big animals like bears, deer, and elk, down to microscopic organisms, the Smokies have the most biological diversity of any area in the world's temperate zone. The park is a sanctuary for a magnificent array of animal and plant life, all of which is protected for future generations to enjoy. Wildflowers

The park is a world-renowned preserve of wildflower diversity—over 1,660 kinds of flowering plants are found here, more than in any other North American national park. From the earliest hepaticas and spring-beauties in the late winter to showy rhododendron and azalea shrubs in summer, to the last asters in the late fall, blooming flowers can be found nearly year-round in the park. Ranger-Guided Programs and Special Events

Ranger-guided programs give visitors the opportunity to explore the wonders of the park with a Ranger. Programs are offered in spring, summer, and fall.




Climate

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a moderate climate, typified by mild winters and hot, humid summers. When planning a trip to the Smokies, keep in mind that elevations in the park range from 800 feet to 6,643 feet and that the topography can drastically affect local weather. Temperatures can vary 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit from mountain base to top, and clear skies at lower elevations do not guarantee equally pleasant weather on the higher peaks.

http://www.nps.gov/grsm/

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