Sylva Climbs

Clingman's Dome

Clingman’s Dome

NCMap-doton-CullowheeThis section encompasses climbs around the greater Sylva area. This includes Cullowhee, Cherokee, Waynesville, Clyde, Lake Junalaska and many of the surrounding areas.

The table below has a description of the climb, Strava segment links, and website content links.

Disclaimer: Climb AT YOUR OWN RISK! Many of these will be difficult, strenuous, with dangerous descents. Do your own research and make sure you are prepared for the terrain. You are responsible for yourself!

Climb Description Links
Clingman’s Dome A truly epic climb from Cherokee, NC, across the TN state line, and to the highest point in TN. The climb is extremely long, 22 miles, and most of the time is not very steep, with maybe a couple moments in the 8-10% range. From Newfound Gap, the climb gets even easier until the final few hundred feet inside the park to the observation tower, which is in the upper teens. The observation tower at the top is as good as it gets. Strava (from Cherokee), Strava (Clingman’s Dome Rd), Clingman’s Dome
Lake Logan Rd (215) A long climb of 11-miles from beautiful Lake Logan to the Blue Ridge Parkway not far from Richland Balsam. The climb has a very easy grade most of the way, often in the 3-4% range for long periods. Towards the end it kicks up to around 10% for that last push. There are no overlooks along the way up, but the route is scenic because of the stream that follows the road. Strava, Blue Ridge Breakaway
Newfound Gap This is a lengthy climb from Cherokee NC to the TN state line. It is 15-miles in total and not very steep. It is advisable to climb in the morning due to the traffic on Highway 441. Clingman’s Dome and the Appalachian Trail can be accessed from nearby. It is also an enjoyable descent because of the length and easy grade. Strava (from Cherokee), Clingman’s Dome
Richland Balsam This is a a lengthy climb on the Blue Ridge Parkway from Balsam Gap, near Highway 23. The grade is typical for the parkway, about 6-8%, but is constant for the first several miles. It eases up in the last few miles, with a couple short descents and false flats. The climb ends at the highest point of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is a popular photo opportunity. Strava (from 215), Strava (from Balsam Gap), Blue Ridge Breakaway, Richland Balsam Mountain
Rush Fork This is a 2-mile, mostly straight climb a little bit north of Clyde and Lake Junalaska. It ranges from 7-9% and has a brief letup in the middle of the climb before turning up again. Strava, Blue Ridge Breakaway
Waterrock Knob Another long Parkway climb up to 5,600 feet. It does not reach the Waterrock summit, which is above 6k. What makes the climb difficult is that it is constantly at the same grade with absolutely no respite. The scenery is gorgeous, with several overlooks and protruded rock faces along the mountain you are climbing. There is a visitor center at the top. Strava, Blue Ridge Breakaway

Map images: Seth Anthony / CC-BY-SA-3.0


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