Solar Eclipse 2017: Clingman's Dome expecting spectacular eclipse

Clingman's Dome, the highest spot in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, truly a special spot to witness the solar eclipse. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Combine a total solar eclipse with a national park and you've got twice the beauty.

Clingman's Dome, the highest spot in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was truly a special spot to witness the solar eclipse.

It was the first total solar eclipse visible in the Smoky Mountain region since 1869.

The sun arrived on a beautiful morning, but that was just its first act.

Hundreds and hundreds of people, old and young, arrived throughout the day to witness the main event.

"This is my first time here, so, oh my God. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, actually," Paul Yanez, of Texas, said.

Southwestern Community College had a group with telescopes at the ready, pointing skyward to an event bigger than all of us.

"That's the most spectacular thing I've ever seen," SCC's Gabrielle Beam said.

About 1,600 filled the Clingman's Dome parking area, all for one purpose -- to see the solar eclipse grow into totality at 2:35 p.m.

"It was crazy. It was majestic. And I cried a little," said Chandler Cox , who came from Pigeon Forge.

Rangers said Clingmans Dome provided a unique vantage point for the total solar eclipse.

"There's a chance we could see a sunset all the way around us, 360 degrees. We could see the sun shadow coming across the landscape as it approaches us," Ranger Molly Schoer said before the event.

For most it was a first, but for others it was a second time. Ginger Jones saw one in Greenville in 1969.

"You can see the sun. You can see how the moon is approaching. And you can see the sun spots. I want to see it again. I don't want it to ever end," she said.

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