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Great hike. Nov 03, 2018. Dark and cold start but beat the crowd. Very foggy, pretty cold ( about 22 degrees)
Snow at higher elevations, really pretty. Great hike because it’s up and down. Kinda easygoing and pleasant because it isn’t straight up. Fog cleared lots of great views. My new favorite. It was a Saturday traffic coming out was bad. Peach season Saturday.

backpacking
22 days ago

Lodestar has this hike well reviewed. I just got back, my partner and I lost the trail several times due to lack of blazes. no one on here mentioned that all the trails in the area are terribly marked with blue blazes so you can only trust the blazes to an extent. you need some serious navigation or time to complete this trail now compared to reviews done two years ago. seriously wish I listened to Lodestars review I probably wouldn't be in pain now. would hike again for the view.

I thought the Alum Cave trail would still be my favorite route up when I planned the Boulevard ascent - I was wrong. I love every minute of this mostly solitary walk in the woods (very little traffic after peeling off at the 2.7 mile mark). From Newfound Gap parking to Myrtle point in 2:45. Spent a considerable amount of time there with the place to myself. Then from Myrtle Point to the Jump Offs (added on my return) and back to the parking lot in 2:40. I was beat by day’s end, but loved every step of my GPS’d 19+ mile day.

Great spots to let kids play and loved the waterfall!

Went on an overnighter to Mt LeConte. We loved the solitude. My favorite area was the backbone right before Mt LeConte where it’s narrow and you can see East and West. Was hoping we would see a bear since it isn’t highly traveled, but no. The Alum Cave trail is probably prettier, but so darn busy.
Recommend the trip and spending the night at the LeConte Lodge.

We did the whole thing in one day with backpacks. We had camped Friday night near the trailhead/near standing bear hostel (great place, very friendly) and got an early start Saturday morning. Our plan was to make it to Max Patch Saturday, catch the sunset and sunrise, camp for the night, and hike back to the car on Sunday. Hahaha.
We made it to Max Patch but by the time we got there we were exhausted. It stormed on us for the last mile and the radar called for more, so we bailed.
Northbound is not for amateur backpackers or the faint of heart. It is up, up, up. Southbound is probably much easier.
We’re glad we did it and plan to come back and overnight from Max Patch to Hot Springs.
Notes:
Can camp near standing bear and cut out an extra mile of trail where there’s not much to see.
Water at trail head and 2 miles up, 5 miles up, and then allegedly near Max Patch but we didn’t find it.
Lots of neat camping spots along the trail. We should have started earlier on Friday and gotten further in on the trail instead of trying to do 13 in one day.
Not a lot of views on the trail, just at Snowbird and Max Patch.
Hiking would be a lot easier than backpacking.

Took Forney Creek down, camp 70 was a great spot! The hike up to sliders bald and mount buckly was difficult but so worth it. The views are amazing. Great 2 days in the smokies!

Made a 3-night, 4-day loop of it.
Day 1 - Left from Clingman's Dome and stayed first night at #68. Pretty steep down with a few water crossings. Two sites to chose from at #68, both decent and right on the river.
Day 2 - Several river crossings, some waist high water and a little worrisome, but overall a beautiful hike. Stayed at #70.
Day 3 - Hiked up Jonas Creek Trail, to Welch Ridge to stay at Silers Bald shelter. Up-hill the whole way and makes for a long hike, but pretty good views the last few miles.
Day 4 - Hiked the AT out back to CD.

A very steep climb on the first day. We camped at a great camp site with easy access to water. It was honestly also a steep climb down the second day. If I did it again, I would probably avoid the summer since we sweated our faces off with all of the elevation change... But the view from the bald was beautiful and so worth going to see. From the campsite, it's about 400-800 meters up to the bald. We set up camp and hiked up to the bald to eat, which was well worth it.

stunning views...beautiful trail. well marked and maintained.

backpacking
2 months ago

Started at Twentymile Ranger Station and took Twentymile Trail to Long Hungry Ridge Trail to Gregory Bald Trail. Blueberries were gone in mid-August, so no bears to be seen. Stayed the night at Campsite 13 then finished the loop the next day by continuing on Gregory Bald Trail to Wolf Ridge Trail back to Twentymile Trail. Lots of beautiful bridge stream crossings on the lower parts of the trail and the views from the Bald are worth the trip. I found the posted mileages on the trail and on the description above to be significantly different from what my AllTrails app was registering. The app showed 13.4 miles from the Ranger station to Campsite 13 and then 8.5 miles to finish the loop the next day. That's 21.9 miles compared to the 15.3 listed above.

This place rocks. Fun to play / picnic by the creek at the main parking lot... or hike up in the hills. Super fun!

Very enjoyable trail, even though it was pouring on us nearly the whole time. We took the time to go see the Jump Off and I’m sure it would have been beautiful had it not been so misty that morning! There were some difficult sections on the boulevard trail section with steep uphills but the views paid off. Would definitely recommend if you’re looking for a more secluded approach to LeConte. We did it in three days (1st day: Road Prong Trail+Appalachian Trail with sleep at Icewater Springs Shelter, 2nd day: Charlie’s Bunion back to Boulevard Trail and sleep at LeConte Shelter, 3rd day: coming down LeConte via Alum Cave). Overall an easy paced trail, with us getting done with hiking in early afternoon. Would recommend taking time to see the different viewing points like Myrtle Point and Charlie’s Bunion if you have the time.

It was a good trail, but I would not recommend it for anyone’s first time backpacking or camping. It had rained the few days prior to me and my gf doing it and the creeks were so full and crossing them was pretty dangerous. But overall a great trip. Plan for it to take 2-2.5 full days to complete the trail if it has rained recently.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail! Easily done with my three dogs, fantastic views and waterfalls.

I think this is the toughest trail I’ve hiked in the Smoky Mountains. From the parking lot to the lodge and back was a little over 19 miles. There are a lot of up and downs, both ways. Several nice places to stop and take in the scenery. If I had to describe this trail in one word: rocks. Rocks. And more rocks. And when you think you’ve seen every rock. There’s more. Big. Little. Ankle breakers. Gravel. I would still consider this my second favorite trail to LeConte, but the rocky path made it tough on the tootsies. Not a lot of traffic once you get past the turn off for Charlie’s Bunion.

After hiking the Foothills Trail four times I have seen this one enough. Besides I like Upper Whitewater Falls better..

Did this trail on 07/12/2018. Started at Alumn Cave bluffs trailhead and ended at Newfound Gap. What can I say. It is a total Smokey Mountain experience. Creeks, views, wildlife, flowers. This route is 13 miles. We did it in 5.5 hours. Should have taken it slower to enjoy more but we also used this route for a workout. I have done this. Route several times at different times of year. Never disappoints

The trail is well maintained, so expect to do this fairly quickly for a 21 miler (did it in about 8hours). It was cloudy and rainy, so that might have affected my experience, but I felt it was all that great. The best view points are at the begining, doing the whole loop is a bit excessive.

There are many ways to reach the top of mount Leconte. This on is longer then Alum, but it is milder, and I think the view was nice too. You also have some small extra options along the way. It took me 4.5 hours going up backpacking, including Charlies bunion, so I'd say it never got very steep, and the trail is well maintained

backpacking
4 months ago

Until a proper maintenance crew decides to work on the trail past the first 5 miles from the trail head, one had better prepare for one heck of a disappointment.

To begin with, every trail in the area is blazed the same color. For some reason, the crew doesn't understand that a trail more than 12 miles "should" be blazed white while spurs and intersecting trails "should" be a different color. Also, there are blazes where is's painfully obvious there is a trail but at the "balds" (which aren't) and the gaps, where the briars are head high and the trail so faint it's difficult to navigate, there are no blazes. Nada. None. There are more "Bear Sanctuary" placards than trail blazes.

Water. Bring more than you think you'll need. Then bring twice that. The water sources are few and far between. Remember, you're at the top of a ridge. To get to any water it's hundreds (more than 200) meters to a POSSIBLE water source which is downhill (way down hill) from the trail. The "map" Alltrails offers doesn't mark any of them and the "reviews" posted below are less than helpful. Seriously... bring more water than you think you'll need.

I'm not going to bother with the issue of the elevation gain and loss... it's a ridge run... it's expected (and one of the main reasons I went this week). However... due to the remoteness of the trail; IF/WHEN there is a medical emergency, lost/overdue hiker, etc you will be stuck in place with no help for over 24 hours. Or more. My hiking partner and I are both search and rescue technicians and know our jobs well. I may know what I'm talking about here.

Other hazards include wild hogs (we had a passel of them "interact" with us out around Signal Knob), trail along the sides of hills that are overgrown and not well cut (one slip in the rain and there's a strong possibility of a serious fall or an ankle injury, massive fallen trees blocking the trail and did I mention the lack of proper blazes?

Really.... unless you are a serious back-country backpacker with extremely strong navigation skills, stay off this trail. Oh, and find a better map than the one here. The actual Rim Trail leaves/reaches the ridge west of Shortoff but keep in mind that all the elevation it took you 2 days to gain is lost in less than half a day.

I give this trail 5 stars not for it's beauty but for it's difficulty. Some of the other reviewers never ran this ridge, they stayed in the valley along the river.

I hiked most of this section back in April '16. Parked my car in Hot Springs NC and got dropped off at I-40 Waterville exit to pick up the AT. It was a late start, but made it to the Patch right at sundown. Just before crossing the road for the ascent to the top, there was a friendly sort parked with a hospitality cooler full of beer and soda for any hikers passing through. I took him up on a very unexpected but welcome IPA. It was Saturday, so the place was full of campers as well as thru hikers staying the night. It was like being in college again....only this time, I was that geezer laying low to rest up for the longer section to Hot Springs. If you make it in early enough, or if its not a weekend, there's a great camping area just into the woods on the north-bound side of the bald.

Gorgeous river and waterfalls. Great swimming holes at the base of the initial decent. However this trail does not allow camping due to whitewater corridor protection (the reason for the 3 star rating). However we hiked to Thompson river, 2.7 miles past the turnaround. This was a spectacular 4 star hike. Next time we will start at Bad creek parking to get to Thompson river. (A lot of ticks in June!)

Challenging hike and well worth the work to get to Mount LeConte. My favorite parts were walking the spines of several ridges, and the short hike up to Myrtle Point.

Finally! I have wanted to do this for a long time and got it knocked out today.It is part of a goal to ascend or descend Leconte by the major trails I did it with a friend as part of a through trip down Alum. There are some great views along the way.

hiking
5 months ago

Approach up Beech Gap is steep. Balsam Mt Trail is long and pleasant to the AT.

We didn’t do any part of the hike, this review is about some inaccurate info in the trail description. The description of the hike says dogs are allowed, but we were told by park rangers that dogs are not allowed on any section of the AT and are allowed on only two trails in the GSMNP.

Great hike out of Cosby Campground. Steady climbing all the way up Snake Den Ridge. Snake Den offered a few subtle views, but no stellar overlooks. It’s all steady down Maddron Bald which is a neat stretch that offers slightly better views. Albright Grove loop featured a lot of old growth and large trees. Gabe’s Mountain trail had some ups and downs but mostly easy hiking. Hen Wallow Falls was much larger than I anticipated, and a great place to have a snack. This is also the most crowded stretch as it is only 2.2 miles from the campground. My suunto ambit clocked the loop at 19.75 miles (including the walking through the campground and an additional 1.4 I added by going all the way up to the AT). Long for a day hike, but a great walk and much less crowded than the hikes in the more popular areas of the park. An early start afforded me the opportunity to spend the first 2 hours and 45 minutes (~7 miles) without seeing anyone.
Bottom line: nothing in this hike is overwhelmingly spectacular, but the climbing, the wide spectrum of vegetation and a waterfall allows this hike to truly embody the Smokies.

Enjoyed a full day hiking in the mountains. Breathe taking views from the top.

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