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A well balanced trail, with a beautiful hike along a creek at the base, really awesome rock features along the way, and amazing views at the top. A hiking stick does help as it's pretty slick on the inclines/declines. As well, wear some layers given the elevation change as it can cool down quite a bit at the top if the sun is covered by the clouds. And, do yourself a favor and hike the extra .7-1 mile to Myrtles Point. The view there are unbridled. One of my favorite trails I've done even next to some great trails in RMNP and Zion!

Great hike. Was challenging at points but nothing crazy, was able to hike the whole thing going up without stopping. Very narrow at points so you will have to move to the side if someone is coming. Parking gets tight but you can park on the street. The only place to go to the bathroom is at the visitors lodge fyi which is at the start of the park.

hiking
1 day ago

this Trail is listed as hard but I imagine it's because there's a gradual incline most of the hike. Periodically there are sharper climbs with quicker elevation and some Slippery Rock When Wet. this hike is it should be listed as heavy moderate. when you do reach the summit and you step out onto the looking rock it'll make every one of your steps worthwhile. The view is absolutely Majestic.

Beautiful hike with amazing views. We only went to bluffs due to some of the hikers in our group.

Recommend this hike because it is family friendly hike. It runs along the river and you get to hear the water all along the hike. You cross the river several times on log bridges.

Excellent hike,
great views well worth it, hike listed as hard due to the elevation gain and some steep steps (but still steps).
alum cave is a good little hike many were not prepared even saw some with strollers lol... not a stroller event at all you should have sturdy hiking boots or shoes we passed someone who slipped and broke her arm on the way up she was being escorted by park rangers back down the path. we went all the way to to the top stopped for rest as frequently as we felt without being rushed had half gallon insulated hot tea and sandwhiches and plenty of snacks to last an entire day. at a lesurely pace with three major stops to rest and eat on the way as well as exploring around the summit and it took us 8 hours or so.. lots of stopping for pictures as well. i would layer like an onion wind chill factor on top of temparature change specially around dusk was significant... on our way down we helped escort a family of 3 girls and both parents that weren't prepared for the dark and the length - one small flashlight and the night was getting chiller (we both had day packs lights and enough food water for an entire day trip)

We attempted this loop last winter. After reading how much work, and not a lot of payoff the Old butt knob portion was, we decided to take the Shining Creek Path up to the Art Loeb trail, and finish the loop back from there. First off, either way you cut it, that trail was absolutely NO JOKE. As a pretty seasoned hiker and recent Army vet with tons of rugged terrain and rucking under my belt, that first stretch to the Art Loeb absolutely destroyed us. We had every intention of taking 2 1/2 days and doing the full loop, after the 1st day of getting my butt handed to me from almost sun-up to sun-down, we decided to turn around and call the trip early and hiked back down and out the next day. Will not be attempting this one again without better conditioning.

Gorgeous views from the top! Worth the climb.

Very fun and great views.

Bucket list success. Difficult yes but glad I did it. October 2018

Beautiful views.

trail running
5 days ago

Very fun hill with a scramble at the end. Well maintained and easy to follow. Took my daughter when she was 9 and she loved it (we did this and the 7 sisters loop.) Love running down.

Can combine with other Montreat trails to make a loop and make it longer.

6 days ago

great trail! steep but great view and well marked trail.

My brother, cousin and I all hiked this In about 5-6 hours being in pretty decent shape. If you plan on going all the way to the top, I'd bring a lunch and plenty of water. If you only plan on going to the "inspiration point" just a water will do. There are multiple points that have fantastic views! The top view was great as well! I only give 4 stars because once at the cabins, the path to the peak isnt marked very well and can easily confuse most hikers. Overall was a good time.

Awesome hike. Was the best we have taken since hiking the smokies.

Beautiful and tranquil. We only passed a couple of other hikers. Trail is well-marked and pretty well-maintained, though narrow. Quite steep both ways - great exercise going up but lots of slippery spots coming down... It felt like there should be more switchbacks. At the peak of Big Piney there is no viewpoint, which felt anti-climactic, though there are some other points to snag views along the way.

Tough but manageable 3-mile upward climb with an awesome view at the top. We are 51 and 62 in average shape and had no difficulty, but it did wear us out! It took about two hours to get to the top, where we stayed about 30 minutes, then another 90 minutes or so to get back down. Take lots of water. Don’t wear sandals as there are lots of tree roots and rocks to trip over. Hiking poles were useful.

Unfortunately the tower was closed but it was beautiful at the top anyway. You could still climb up the stairs of the tower, just couldn’t get into the actual top viewing area.

Great trail! We did about 1.5 hours out and back (3 hours or so total), didn't hike the whole thing but will eventually- crossing creek 3 times at beginning of hike wasn't bad at all. lots of great spots to sit on rocks near the many waterfalls you see along the way, plus hearing the falls the majority of the start of the hike was really lovely.

There are a few portions of this hike that are steep, slick, etc., but they are all well worth it once you hit the top of LeConte. There are great views throughout, but you will really want to take the time to enjoy the finale.

If you're only doing one hike in the Great Smoky Mountains, I'd go with Charlie's Bunion. Otherwise, the summit is at the sign that says Chimney Tops once you're past the Mt LeConte Shelter (don't just keep on going up!). Also, there's water at the shelter which is super helpful.

Amazing!!! One of the best trails we done!

No one is kidding about the view, it's absolutely breath-taking. My fiancee and I chose this hike after seeing it across the valley from Black Balsam Knob. The hike itself starts out slow and gradually gets more difficult, after the gradual switchbacks it starts getting really rocky and the path becomes a tangle of roots, it's gets maybe a little more than a 30° incline at this point but right before you hit the top it suddenly has a downward slope. We went on a Saturday and it was pretty busy, there were lots of dogs including ours and dogs of various sizes. There were people of every age on the trail, it's not too difficult but can be a little hard on the knees. Watch out for the tree roots, they tripped me on the way down. Bring lots of water!

Just a heads up, someone had a Lost Dog notice posted on October 6, 2018. A Brittany Spaniel went missing, by the name of Jake. The number to call if you see him is 303.717.0291.

Just wanted to pass this on!

This was a great hike. Moderate to Hard as it says. It took us about 2 hours to get to the top, with a few stops to drink water and let our 7 yr dog have a break. It was about an hour and half back down. The hike up doesn’t have any views (maybe later in Fall or Winter), but the view at the top is spectacular. Would be an excellent place to bring some food for a picnic.

My only warning would be to watch what time you start this hike. The first time I did it, we started to late, and ended up hiking in pitch darkness. Watching people start the hike at 4pm in Autumn, made me think they would end up hiking in the dark as well. If you start late, just make sure to bring a flashlight or two.

We did this hike today. I think it’s more than 5.5 miles up. Once you get to Mt. Leconte, you still have 1/2-3/4 of a mile to the look out point. But the view is definitely worth it.

Beautiful view from the top.

Short hike, but there are lots of stairs which make it a fairly strenuous hike/walk. However, you will be rewarded with beautiful and unique views from Chimney Rock.

GO HIKE THIS TRAIL...yes it is steep and rocky and wet...but you are in the Smokie’s...what do you expect...you came to hike and are using this app...just get to the Alum Cave lot early...take snacks and water...this is an 8 to 9 hour gig...but worth every minute...there are a lot of people and for good reason, duh...once completed you can then tell your friends you hiked a HARD trail and loved it...

Amazing views throughout entire hike. Definitely gets tough the last 2 miles but worth it! We came across various aged hikers throughout so as long as you pace yourself to how well your in shape you’ll be fine and be at the top with a big smile!

We are novice hikers and this was an ambitious trail. Let me say this trail was hard! We hiked on Monday September 24. It was still more hikers on trail than we expected. We finally made it to the Cave and ate a light lunch. Last few steps to the Cave were pretty steep. We went on past to Leconte Lodge and made it in about 4 hours with breaks. We almost turned around but I started smelling the fir trees and said let’s keep going we’ve got to be getting close. The lemonade and hot chocolate at lodge were lackluster but a welcome change from water. We refilled our canteens and got our “I hiked it in 2018” merch and rested a bit. We made it back down in about three hours and I believe the descent was worse on our bodies than the ascent. Definitely did a number on our knees. The hot tub was a welcome retreat that night. But it was definitely worth every minute of it!!! Next time I’ll stay at the lodge for the night!!

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