Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte is a 10.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November.
The first section of the Alum Cave Trail, up to Arch Rock, is a fairly gentle climb. You'll follow Alum Cave Creek for the first mile. Then, just before reaching Arch Rock, the trail begins to follow the smaller Styx Branch. This section of trail is choked with rhododendron, offering beautiful blooms in early summer. At just over 1.3 miles from the trailhead you'll reach Arch Rock, the first prominent landmark along the trail. The arch was formed by freezing and thawing which eroded away the softer rock from underneath the harder rock. The trail actually goes under the arch and requires a climb of several steps etched into the stone before exiting at the top. Roughly 2 miles from the trailhead you'll reach aptly named Inspiration Point, with its commanding views of Little Duck Hawk Ridge to the west, and Myrtle Point on Mt. LeConte towards the northeast. The Eye of the Needle, a hole in the rock at the top of Little Duck Hawk Ridge, can also be seen from Inspiration Point. At the top you will find the LeConte Lodge which provides the only commercial lodging in the national park, as it operates about 10 rustic cabins with no electricity or appliances.
Awesome trail, great Vista views accompany the entire hike so plenty to see on the way to the summit! Not for the faint of heart or ppl with fear of heights. A must if you are visiting the Gatlinburg area and want a memorable hike.
I loved this trail because of all the unique features you get to see along the way! Well worth the time spent!
Love this trail. One of my favorites
My favorite hike in the Smokies! Great views!
One of the premier trails in the park.
icy and beautiful. tough without spikes.
Hiked in February, some icy patches and dangerous Icicles but very beautiful!!
Mt Leconte is my favorite hike in the Smokies and in my Top 5 for the entire Southeastern USA. It is strenuous with about 3000' of ascent if you go to the summit, but well worth the effort if you are in condition for it.