About the Site
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (3)  



The Smoky Mountains

Forest & Stream

Newfound Gap

Clingman's Dome

Sugarlands Area

Oconoluftee Area

Cades Cove Area

Cades Cove Buildings





Newfound Gap

Newfound Gap is a mountain pass through which the 35 mile long main north-south road in the park runs. The pass itself reaches an altitude of 5,048 feet.

Newfound Gap is the place where Franklin Roosevelt, on Labor Day in 1940, dedicated the new national park, although it had been originally authorized in 1934. Photographs from the dedication ceremony show FDR addressing the gathered crowd from the stone monument near the highway which is shown below. The monument was finished quickly to accommodate the ceremony. The wall is half in Tennessee and half in North Carolina, and its construction was financed by both states.

Chimney Tops, a twin-peaked mountain, are among the steepest precipes in the park, formed by the buckling of the earth's crust which tilted the slate-based, erosion-resistant rocks very steeply. The steep slopes are covered by shallow soil which is vulnerable to landslides.

Mt. LeConte is one of the highest peaks in the park, and in fact is the third highest peak in the Smokies. It rises more steeply than any other peak in the east. Consequently, the soil on the mountain can be unstable; in 1951, some 40 landslides were recorded on its slopes during a single thunderstorm which dropped 4 inches of rain and washed out the highway in 5 places. Near the summit of the mountain is a lodge for visitors, reachable only by a hike up the mountain.

Clingman's Dome

The highest point in the park is Clingman's Dome, a mountain reaching 6,643 feet. At this altitude Clingman's Dome is the second highest mountain the eastern United States. The mountain was named for Thomas Clingman, a Civil War hero and senator from North Carolina.

The mountain can be accessed via a 7 mile paved road. From a parking lot there is an additional paved, half-mile trail which leads to the summit.

The view from Clingman's Dome is often shrouded in fog, as is the case in the photograph below. The summit features an observation platform reached by a long spiral ramp.

The fog can roll across the summit of Clingman's Dome, inhibiting some views while allowing a panorama in other directions to be visible.

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  • All photographs ©Patrick Holleran, Shannon Digital Imaging, 1994-2013

  • Commercial use of the images contained in this document without express written consent is strictly prohibited.

  • Comments and other remarks can be sent via e-mail to parkvision@shannontech.com