The Sunrise in the North Carolina Smoky Mountains

October 26, 2020 My Solo Trip

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States, and fall is one of the most beautiful times to visit. Today I want to share my experience about what it is like to experience the sunrise from its highest peak, the Clingmans Dome, with a height of 6,644′ above sea level.

Photography © Victoria Restrepo

This is an ideal place to watch the sunrise; hundreds of people gather daily to wait for the first lights on the horizon. Getting to the top takes about an hour to an hour and a half drive from the nearest towns, and it is advisable to get there at least an hour before sunrise. So, you have to get up early!

I was there three times this past week, and I had a different experience every day. Today I will share some of the images I took during my first visit. The videos will come later.

Upon reaching the top, I saw a thick layer of clouds below the horizon, and the temperature was below 50 F, although it felt colder because the wind was blowing strong.

The wait is exciting, not only because of the spectacle of the clouds and the sun, but especially to see the number of people gathered there, many with their cameras or cell phones, but also many others, wrapped in their blankets, sitting in their portable chair enjoying the emotion of the moment.

When I can see the ecstasy on people, all the ahhs! and ohs! I felt that we all carry within that sensitivity that allows us to enjoy moments like these.

From the first light of dawn until the sun rises, the colors on the horizon begin to change from very pale tones to deep pinks, oranges, and reds. Then the fog and clouds begin to move, and little by little, the mountains appear with their golden tones of autumn.

It was an incredible experience, one of those that I will keep forever.


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