Explore Great Smokies - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
3 days ago

Great trail in great shape. One of my favorite hikes. I will say this it is straight up. 46 degrees at the parking lot and ice and snow in spots near the end of the trail. If you aren’t in at least average shape you should avoid this hike.

My favorite hike in the Smokies.

Not sure why All trails does not list Bull Head trail but kinda thankful it doesn’t because no one uses it so no traffic. In my opinion it’s longer but a bit easier trail to Leconte than Rainbow falls. Can do a loop and go back down Rainbow Falls. That’s what I did yesterday.
Very steep and hard trail but with views of Gatlinburg and mountains most of the way. My favorite trail so far in the Smokys and I’ve done about all the good long ones.

Hard but worth every step‼️Absolutely beautiful❤️

Did a two day trip up to the summit and stayed in the shelter up top. Ice was on the trail, snowed about 2” over the day, beautiful views. Plenty of hikers still on the trail. Hiked up Rainbow falls and descended Bull Head, I prefer the views of Bull Head more than I do Rainbow Falls. Take caution if snowing on Bullhead due to the slip hazards, otherwise, spectacular hike. Squirrels were present on trail.

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.

Really not terribly difficult, the stair portions are the hardest since they are quite the incline (calves and quads will feel it). The rest of the trail is moderate incline the whole way. The view at the top is pretty good but as of recently the last part of the trail has been closed, which is where the good view is.

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.

hiking
16 days ago

One of my first hikes!

Just amazing. Simple as that.

hiked this trail 6-22-18. took me 13hrs. watched the Lama's go by.

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.

hiking
19 days ago

nice hike! definitely was a work out! I would start your day with this hike then maybe head to another trail after. beautiful views!

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

Very challenging but rewarding as well. We do it almost Everytime we come to Gatlinburg.

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!

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.

My husband and I did this trail last last September. It's a good trail, but you spend 90% of the hike in the deep forest, just guessing when you'll reach the clearing... With little to no scenery... Only when you get to the top do you see the beauty...

A lot of snow made it a hard trail, views were amazing. Took us about 7 hours and 45 minutes to complete and get back to car. Not a hike for part time hikers but a great hike if prepared. Snow was about 2 feet deep, you can see a lot of fire damage as well.
I’d do this hike again and plan to this Spring

Such a great hike, challenging but worth it!

hiking
1 month ago

It’s a very easy trail with plenty of room to walk. There are many places to stop and sit and enjoy the views of the water and plenty of photo opportunities.

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.

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