Hwy 441 from either Gatlinberg or Cherokee into the Smoky Mountain National Park, then Newfound Gap Rd to the parking area at Clingman's Dome. A half a mile hike to the observatory.
Hike is short but moderately steep at greater than 6,000 foot altitude.
One of the most spiritual sunrises I've ever experienced in my life~I made an impromptu trip to the Great Smoky Mountains after my father's death seeking solace in space and nature. I hiked up to Clingman's Dome in the pitch black darkness, feeling my way the entire half a mile. At the top, I waited alone in the dense fog and frigid pre dawn temperatures and had no idea of the beauty all around me. Then the fog lifted and the most ethereal pink light lit up the lavender layers of the mountains and truly had to ask myself, "is this Heaven?"