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My favorite hike in the Smokies.

Hard but worth every step‼️Absolutely beautiful❤️

Went in November 2018. Right after a decent snow. About halfway up it was all snow and ice. Massive ice icicles were falling from the top of Alum Cave. Was a little daring trying to hurry up the frozen ground to get under the protection of the cave. Highly enjoyed the excitement of it all. The steps at Arch Rock were a solid sheet of ice. Fell only one time going down them. I enjoy the harder trails with a little twist of ice and snow.

Very nice trail. We saw very few people on our hike. The old farmhouse and cemetery were awesome, as was the old hiking lodge. Debris and fallen trees along the way, I cleared out what I could but I'm only one man and I didn't have a chainsaw. Beautiful photography opportunities if you take your time along the river and explore.

We hiked this trail Jan 11th 2019, about 3/4 of the way up there was a bad icy patch, not un-crossable with out clips but definitely not for the feint of heart. There were 9 of us and 4 were inexperienced hikers. This trail was hard but entirely worth the effort. The views from the top were worth all the pain of falling on the ice. Bring lots of water, it gets warmer as you ascend due to the sun shining on the mountain. There are plenty of places to rest and take great pictures.

Worth all the effort! from the moment you see arch rock you know this is gonna be a cool hike. inspiration point should be enough to propel you to the end of this hike, but if that's not enough allum bluff is a wonderful turn around point and not much further past inspiration point. 10/10 will definitely do this hike again.

Just amazing. Simple as that.

Fun and challenging trail’

l loved this hike! the first half of the hike is pretty easy then the second half is much more intense! I wouldn't label this difficult just a little strenuous. highly recommend. absolutely beautiful.

Excellent hike with beautiful views in and above the forest. Not too hard, not too easy. Just right :)

Started at 835 and got to the cave/bluff at 1040. Headed back down at 1055 and got back to the arch by 1135. Back in the lot at 1230. Stopped for a few breaks and pics. I'm not in good shape at all and I considered it a moderately difficult trail. Any one who can walk 4 hours can get to the cave and back. There is a lot to look at with tons of small waterfalls and rapids along the creek up to Arch Rock. The trail is pretty easy up to the arch and then steepens. Once the trail opens up the views are incredible and worth the hike! Alum cave is massive...the pics do it no justice and must be seen in person. The trail was snow packed most of the way when we were there and icy in a lot of sections. I never felt like it was dangerous, but almost slipped and fell a few times on the way back down. I recommend doing this hike before attempting Chimney Tops, which is right down the road, especially if you don't do a lot of hiking. Its about the same length and time. I did Chimney Tops about 4 years ago with two young kids and regretted it. Had I'd known better, I would have done Alum Cave back then. Chimney Tops is on a whole different level of hiking. I will return again some day to finish this hike to Mt. Leconte. I'm satisfied for now.

Great views! Did in September a little cool as it is in shade mostly at the beginning then opens up to sun. Steep elevation, I would take snacks and lots of water. Be sure to leave early as it takes around 5-6 hours total. Great views but not easy!

Did it Saturday, very very tough hike. Steep the whole way up to Spence field.
Great views there, the last mile to Rocky Top is a butt kicker! I hike every week and done most of the hard hikes in the Smokys and this is number 1 or 2. As hard as Rainbow falls to Leconte if not tougher.
Worth it, good views and good bragging rights.
Too us almost 7 hours up and back with very short breaks.

Absolutely breathtaking! My opinion, the most rewarding view in the Smokies. Low Gap Trail earns the hard rating but once to the AT the steep grade levels out somewhat. Like others have mentioned it took me 3.5 hours up and 2 down.

Really nice trail running along the creek the entire length to campground 31. There’s about a mile section at the beginning that is a wide, gravel path suitable for anyone. At a mile there is an old farm area with a couple of restored/preserved buildings. Kind of cool to walk around.

After that the trail narrows a bit, crosses the creek a couple of times, and begins a moderate climb that you will need to get used to. It isn’t difficult, but continuous. On the way down the rocks and roots will make you be aware of where you step so I’d say this falls a little between moderate and easy.

I’m the fall you will have great looks at the creek at almost every turn. There was a lot of rain recently so it made for a really high water level. I’d almost give this 5 stars but I think I’m the summer it would be less enjoyable because the leaves would obstruct the views, and in the spring I’d bet the trail is wet. Anyway, it was a really nice day

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Such a great hike, challenging but worth it!

Worth every minute!

Worth every step! The whole trail is a pure bliss:)

A December hike in a sunny day is fun! Along the creek first then hike up to the cave. Further to the Cliff top. Narrow road but with chain to grab on. Still icy at the top. Special gears could help. A great day hike choice! !

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is amazing and had an awesome hike! Hiked this in partial rain with significant fog but it was still very nice and I will do it again one day to try to catch the views. I read the review regarding crampons for the latter of the hike and wish I would have taken the advice - it was definitely doable without, but it would have been more comfortable with.

saw the eclipse from here back in 2017, saw it today w the ridge covered in half a foot of snow and ice fog, amazing both times

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike with 2 kids, ages 9 and 4. The river was beautiful!

Saw more people than I would have liked, but the views were amazing. Go all the way to Myrtle Point. If icy, crampons are worth carrying.

Most beautiful trail in the park. If I could only do one this would be it for sure.

Best hike in TN so far ! Steady slope on the way up ... last mile might be a bit more rough but the view at the top is so worth it just stunning ! 3 hrs up 2 hrs down
Enjoy !

Wife & I hiked this trail to the bluffs and back for a total distance of 4.6 miles. This was perhaps our favorite of all the trails we hiked in the park, not so much for the destination but for the trail itself.
The first segment of this hike is just delightful, with gorgeous views up and down Alum Cave Creek. We did this hike after a day of heavy rain, which made the creek particularly full and active – and scenic.
Nice, wide path from the trailhead all the way to the bluffs. Numerous crossings on bridges or sturdy footlogs. Climbing the rock stairway through Arch Rock is a unique experience. The last segment past Inspiration Point is rather steep.
As always, carry – and drink – plenty of water, and take some energy snacks (or lunch) to enjoy at the bluffs before heading back to the trailhead. Even though much of this trail is shaded, sunscreen is never a bad idea. And since the trail is near the creek much of the time, bug spray is advisable during the warmer months.
A couple of days later we drove past this trailhead and parking was INSANE! Dozens of cars lining both sides of the road in both directions! This is most definitely a situation where you’ll want to be at the trailhead early in the morning to avoid the crowds – and an extra half-mile walk from your car to the trailhead!

9-29-17 one of the most beautiful trails out there. Cute log bridges and interesting features along the way. We sighted bear scat. At the top we had a foggy view but the smell of pine and lush flora made it more than worth it! We hit the trail very early and had some solitude at the way up- as always the further out you go the less people you see. Took us a little over 5 hours.

Beautiful in the snow, would highly recommend! Take lots of warm clothes as it gets cold at the top. Took around 6 hours with breaks up and down for reasonably fit people.

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