SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Clingman’s Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

At 6,643, it is the highest point in Tennessee and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Only Mt. Mitchell at 6,684 feet and Mt. Craig at 6,647 in western North Carolina, rise higher.

The observation tower, which was built in 1959, on the summit of Clingmans Dome offers spectacular 360° views of the Smokies. Visitors can reach the tower by hiking the steep half-mile walk to the top. On clear days the National Park Service says views expand over 100 miles. Unfortunately, air pollution often limits viewing distances to under 20 miles.

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In the early 1800s, settlers referred to this mountain as “Smoky Dome”, since the mountain was so often shrouded in clouds. The mountain was renamed to honor U.S. Senator and Confederate General Thomas Lanier Clingman who was the first person to accurately measure the peak’s elevation. Find out more about Clingman’s Dome on the National Park Service’s website.