Weather and Seasons

Nordic Ski Patrol of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If you venture out on the closed road to Clingmans Dome in winter, you may run into volunteers on cross-country skis, ready to assist visitors in trouble.

The higher elevations of Great Smoky Mountains National Park get plenty of snow in the winter. Clingmans Dome has an average of 46 days of precipitation resulting in 72 inches of snow from December through March, so it’s not surprising that the access road closes during this time period.

That doesn’t seem to deter park visitors from making the seven-mile trek by skis or snowshoes to the tower which is the highest point in Tennessee. And some visitors just like to use the closed road as a snow play area. The national park is fine with visitors walking, skiing, and biking on roads closed because of weather. However you need to keep a lookout for snowplows and weather hazards.

If you venture out on this jaunt, you may run into volunteers on cross-country skis. They are the Great Smoky Mountains Nordic Ski Patrol responsible for reporting on the weather, and occasionally, assisting visitors who have gotten in a pickle or need emergency medical assistance.

Thank you to the Great Smoky Mountains Association for sharing this video. (

Call (865) 436-1200 then press 2 twice for the latest road closures in the park. Please stay off of roads closed for construction and maintenance.