Looking for the shortest trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Well, you’ve found one of them in Clingmans Dome Bypass Trail – a short 0.5 mile trail from the Forney Ridge Trail to the Appalachian Trail.
It’s a trail that features great views of the Smokies and can be accessed by way of Newfound Gap Road in the park. From there, you’ll drive 7 miles on Clingmans Dome Road till you reach the Forney Ridge Parking area. Hikers then start out on the Forney Ridge Trail till they reach the bypass.
In all seriousness, this is really just an access trail to the Appalachian Trail from the Clingmans Dome parking area. This lets you avoid the crowds and walking up the paved area to the lookout tower.
Once you’ve reached the bypass along the Forney Ridge Trail, you’ll take a right turn toward the AT. It definitely gives the hiker some afforded solitude that the walkway to the observation tower would not. This is also a good place to spot some Smoky Mountain deer crossing the trail or grazing in the fields if you’re quiet enough.
At the intersection with the Appalachian Trail, take notice of some majestic views of Sugarland Mountain and the Elkmont section of the park.