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7 days ago

Great hike! Rained most of the way up which kept the bugs away. We didn’t have much of a view, but the overlook was neat. I found the difficulty to be way less than Warriors Passage, Lead Cove to Bote Mountain, and even Silers Bald. And they are rated moderate. Totally recommend this trail!

hiking
10 days ago

A challenging hike well worth the views from Rocky Top.

Beautiful trail. I did this with a 1st time hiker, although he said it was difficult he really enjoyed it. There are a few switch backs and the trail can be somewhat steep at times, the majority of the trail is very shaded. Not too many water sources so bring enough just in case one of the streams has dried up. I highly recommend packing a lunch so that you can really enjoy the fire tower and its beautiful views! A bit of a boulder scramble to make it to the firehouse, but the 360 degree views are amazing! At one point the trail was so dense with fog that visibility was roughly 30 ft. It was really cool and I highly recommend it.

hiking
16 days ago

good lordy is this a thigh burner. first mile isnt bad but then its a constant incline. my camp site was over ran by bees so i just pushed to rocky top and thunder head. well worth the push. the blue haze and smokey clouds that roll in are worth an hour long site to embrace.

hiking
22 days ago

We took off via the Lead Cove trail head, and only ran into a few people before reaching the Bote Mountain split. It is a climb from start to finish. Spence Field is a great place to take a break before heading on up to Rocky Top, where the view is amazing. We spent more time up there than we meant to.

I knew what I was getting into with this hike, but it was still very challenging. Prepare for a long difficult trip if you aren't in excellent shape. My tracker also said that it was 12.8 instead of 11.6 round trip so keeping up with that threw me off a little bit.

The trail was wonderful! We went in the morning (started about 8am) and it never got too hot which was a huge plus for me, especially since it was mid July. The sights were beautiful and completely worth it. I got to see a momma dear and her two babies on the trail also!

I do warn though, it gets very busy since it’s in a very touristy area so going early would be the best. When we got done with the hike, it was very crowded and a lot of people were on the trail then. So go early if possible!

Very fun hike. Was a little foggy when we arrived but still worth it. Met a few very cool people on the AT and hiked with them for a few miles.

Very tough trail for the occasional hiker. Round trip took about 6 hours. views were fantastic at the top even with cloud cover. Bring plenty of water and snacks along with a blanket or eno to enjoy the views at the top

This is one heck of a hard hike! 13.4 miles in and out. Saw a rattler around mile 4 and had to wait awhile for him to move on. On the way back saw a bunch of snake holes in the ground for about a mile stretch. Around the same spot as the rattler. They must really like that location. Dodged a few bears along the way. Thought we were only gonna be doing 12.2 miles, so the extra mile and some change surprised us. Took about 7.5 hours round trip. This is definitely not for the weak of heart. My husband, I and 2 kids made it the whole way. Only saw one other woman on the trail, everyone else was an adult male. No other kids. Lightly traveled, maybe 8 hikers total today. View was great, flowers were almost completely out of bloom, glad we saw a few. Would have been a great place to camp overnight. Checked this one off the bucket list. Would not go back unless flowers were in full bloom.

Great hike! I did not think it was as difficult as others have stated. Take a lunch and enjoy the view from the bald.

Great hike! We encountered bear, snakes, deer, etc...great wildlife hike. It rained so we did not get to see the view from the bald (still worth it). I hiked with my two boys, 11 & 14 yrs old. It challenged them but they loved it.

hiking
1 month ago

ATTENTION: If you take the Lead Cove trail you will see bears guaranteed. They are harmless but on the way back down I walked within 5 feet of one in a laurel thicket before we noticed each other. Be aware of your surroundings

This is a great hike for multiple reasons. Before I explain why it’s important to know there are multiple ways to eventually reach Rocky Top. The description on here will take up the Lead Cove trail which is the route I took. The other way which people have reviewed on here is to start on the Anthony Creek trail near Cades Cove. Both are lightly traveled compared to most trails in the Smokies, but Lead Cove trail is less traveled.

The first time I tried to complete this trail was a late evening hike in which I walked up on a momma bear and cub. They were no threat, but they would only walk away not run... and stayed on the trail. They slowed me down so much that I had to hike back down as I was not going to make it to the summit before dark.

I completed it finally this week. I saw 0 people the first 3 miles up lead cove to Bote Mountain trail. I met one person at the Anthony Creek trail intersection. The hike has a gradual elevation gain all the way from the Trailhead to the AT. This portion is not difficult at all if you do any hiking at all. Once on the AT the climb to Rocky Top is constantly steep and moderately strenuous. There are 360 views at the top which includes views of Fontana Lake and Dam.

This hike is great for avid hikers who actually enjoy hiking and not taking essentially a group walk through the woods with tons of people.

A great hike if you're looking for a challenge. We began from Cosby camground and took the Low Gap Trail to the AT. This first stretch is completely uphill and a steep grade at times. The first bit follows the river and then crosses over a trickle before meeting up with the AT. This is the last water you'll have access to, so fill up and filter if needed. Bugs are relentless (or at least in the summer when I went) on this stretch to the AT intersection. Once you meet the AT, it levels off and you can quicken your pace, as it is a pretty simple hike to the Cammerer approach trail. The approach trail is a short hike up to the fire tower, with gorgeous views. Both sunset and sunrise can be viewed unobstructed from the tower and are truly gorgeous. On a Saturday in the Smokies, we saw a total of about 8 people and had the whole place to ourselves for the night. An awesome hike and great views, would definitely recommend to experienced hikers

It’s a steep ascent either way. The lower Cramerer trail is longer, I believe. Backcountry camped at spot 35 and then did the rest of the loop to the top the next day. Was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more to see on the way up to the top. A great reward waits for you though!

The azaleas were really pretty but don’t go when there’s a chance of rain unless you wanna get soaked and not see the view.

Very beautiful hiking. Intense but worth the work. Do yourself a favor, and only bring one package of Chana Masala. Double check the map, because when you’re tired, you go the wrong way... twice.

This was the first hike we did in the Smoky Mountains. The first three miles are tough, as it’s just up, up, and more up. This is where most of the elevation gain occurs. After the first few miles the trail connects with the Appalachian Trail, which you then take to the Mount Cammerer lookout trail spur. The views from the lookout are spectacular and make the tough hike up worthwhile and rewarding. It’s also cool to go inside the lookout tower on top. This hike was very quiet and peaceful as well. We only saw a few people on our way up, and this was on a weekend in June.

One more thing of note: The bugs were bad on this hike. I get bothered easily by the constant buzzing and flying around my face, so I wore my Buff pretty much the whole hike. I didn’t notice the bugs being a problem on any other hikes in the park except this one.

Lots of roots to trip on and not much to see as you go up as far as overlooks. Steady incline and the azaleas are amazing. Worth the hike, it was a workout!

Hard hike, beautiful at the bottom and the top. Azaleas in bloom in June.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice hike. Azaleas were in bloom so very pretty at top. Gradual elevation gain of around 3,300 feet makes it a moderate hike.

We did this trail from the Cades Cove Picnic Area to Anthony's Creek to Rote Mountain to the AT.

Rocky Top is amazing, Thunderhead is less so but still a beautiful view. This is a worthwhile, 14-mile hike. The mountain laurel and flame azaleas are starting to bloom. Raspberry bushes and blueberry bushes are common on the AT before Rocky Top.

Wonderful hike in the back of Cades cove with views of the valley. First half of the trip follows the stream until the campsite, then a steady uphill climb to the top. Flame azaleas in mid June are worth the trip.

A gorgeous hike. It starts off next to a rushing creek with many bridges and waterbeds to cross (wear boots- almost wore my sneakers to save my older boots the wear and tear, but I was thankful I opted boots once I hit a few spots where you're forced into shallow mud or water.) After you leave the rushing waters it pretty much a gradual uphill with some areas steeper than others but there was usually always a slight reprieve somewhere. The whole route in general is fairly smooth. At the very end toward the bald I would say it was the steepest and had some loose rock but nothing serious. I loved the different environments the trail enters and even with a packed parking lot, the trail was secluded and we rarely came across anyone. Overall, I would say if you are in okay shape (can walk on the treadmill for extended amounts of time at above a 10 incline) then this is actually a moderate trail. One last thing.. LEAVE EARLY TO GET THERE!! I did not look at the route to drive in.. did not realize it makes you take the one way loop through Cades Cove... so if you leave late.. you will arrive very very late ( and frustrated). Also the Azaleas are blooming right now!

Strenuous on a hot day. Not easy by any means. The trail is very rocky and there is no view until you get to the top. There was a massive amount of bugs at the top. There must be better hikes in the Smokies...this is the only one I have done.

It was nice to have a good portion of the trail to ourselves even though it was a Saturday (sweat Heifer and beyond Charlie’s bunion encountered only 3 other groups total). Agree that the 3.7 mile portion of the sweat heifer was most difficult part of trail. Crossing streams/small waterfalls was fun throughout the kephart prong, sweat heifer, and dry sluice portions.

This trail is a great workout! The first part of the trail (Low Gap) was very steep with a lot of rocks (you definitely have to watch your step on the way down--lots of opportunities to misstep and trip). There were a lot of pretty wildflowers. It was neat to see all the thru-hikers once we got to the AT. We ate lunch at the top and enjoyed the view and learning about the fire lookout. We were glad we hiked this trail, but wouldn't do it again if we had limited time and could only pick one long hike. The views weren't as good as Mt. LeConte, and we thought this trail was just as or a little more strenuous.

A great hike with an amazing view. Walking up a creek/spring along a couple points at the beginning of the trail. A solid elevation gain with some roots and mostly leaves and dirt. The view is wonderful! More secluded and not as used. Easy to find. A must!

hiking
3 months ago

The route is quite challenging, though there is never a part of it that is overwhelming or very steep. It just steadily climbs and climbs and climbs. It gains over 4000 ft, and that’s rare to find among trails. The view at the top is amazing, like something out of lord of the rings. When I hiked, the upper elevations were sans leaves, but wildflowers were coming through. The one thing I wish were featured was a greater variety of landscapes. Most of it was through similar looking forest until the Appalachian trail. I would do again for the challenge. Plan accordingly: I would allocate 6-7 hours if you want a nice break at the top.

hiking
4 months ago

Very hard if you are not in the best shape, but super worth it! It is so beautiful at the top.

One of my favorite trails in the Smokeys. Very tough and relatively long which means only the hardcore show up. It's getting harder and harder to find lightly trafficked trails in the Smokeys. This is still one of them. Not much to see "view-wise" until the very top.

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