Before Clingmans Dome Road closes for the winter, Great Smoky Mountains Association invites all park visitors to an open house at the visitor center store in honor of the season.
Those of you who have walked to the far eastern edge of Newfound Gap parking area have probably noticed the old roadbed that traces the former route of Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) into North Carolina. Several miles of the old road were rerouted in the early 1960s as part of the Mission ’66 initiative to improve infrastructure across the entire national park system.
One result of the reroute (which added a giant hairpin turn into the roadway) was to create a road with fewer shady and icy areas and more breathtaking scenic views. The other outcome was the stranding of a substantial, ornate archway tunnel under Clingmans Dome Road less than a mile west of the junction with Newfound Gap Road.Read more...