Located atop Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains (6,643'), Clingmans Dome Tower is a prominent destination in the 800+ square mile Great Smoky Mountains National Park. When weather cooperates, it provides amazing view of the surrounding mountain scenery.
Clingmans Dome Tower was constructed in 1959. It is a 45 foot high observation tower with a sweeping 375 feet long ramp for visitors to reach the tower. The Tower is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and played a significant role in the architectural history of the National Park Service. It is an prominent example of the National Park Service Modern architecture period, which broke away from the long-standing Rustic style of the NPS knows an 'parkitecture.'
It is also significant as a representation of the National Park Service's Mission 66 program, which resulted in a significant change in National Park Service planning, management, and architecture. The Mission 66 program, which spanned from 1955 to 1966, resulted in the construction of hundreds of building and structures. Yet, of the many structures built during the program, only nine were towers. As one of the nine towers built during the program, Clingmans Dome Tower is an example of a comparatively rare Mission 66 structure type. It was also the model for two other later Mission 66 towers - Look Rock Tower in Great Smokey Mountains NP and Shark Valley Tower in Everglades NP.