At an elevation of 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi River. Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) and Mt. Craig (6,647 feet), both located in North Carolina are higher. As you can imagine, sunsets from this location can be spectacular depending on the weather conditions and on this early October evening I was treated to a beautiful sunset. I had experienced one previous sunset on Clingmans Dome and this time I was hoping for some clouds since my previous sunset was cloudless. On this day, there were nice clouds in the sky about an hour before sunset but unfortunately they had mostly dissipated by the time sunset arrived and only a thick layer of clouds on the horizon was left with just a few breaks for the sun to shine through. Clingmans Dome is one of the most popular places in the park for photographers at sunset and for this sunset there must have been at least 50-75 photographers lining the sidewalk at the west end of the parking lot. One photographer was cooking dinner for he and his wife as they waited for sunset…I tried to place an order since the food smelled so good, and that lead to some fun conversation. Temperatures at the dome drop quickly so be sure to dress in layers and have a jacket, gloves and a hat handy. The image above was taken just after the sun sank into the thicker layer of clouds. The oranges, reds, and yellows in the sky made for a beautiful sight above the vanishing ridgelines of the Smoky Mountains.
More information about Clingmans Dome and Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be found on the National Park Service’s website here.
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