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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
11 days 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
30 days 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
2 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.

This is a nice 17 mile loop up to Gregory Bald from Twenty Mile Ranger Station and back. It’s virtually all uphill to the bald and all downhill coming back. We camped at campsite 92 on the way up and campsite 95 on the way down. We encountered 3 bears, but they were in the distance and scattered pretty quickly when the heard us. Despite gorgeous weather, we only saw about 20 people, most of them on the bald. The bald is the highlight of this hike with 360 degree views of TN and NC and a nice overlook on to Cades Cove below. There are several creek crossings on this hike, so plenty of water sources. Depending on water levels, you may want to bring water shoes for some of the crossings.

Boulevard is a good alternate route to Leconte versus the more popular Alum Cave or Rainbow Falls routes. Although an out and back on this trail is longer, the trail has a steady mix of ups and downs - but not too much of either at once. The side trails to “the jumpoff” and Myrtle Point are worth the stop if you want to do some extra and have the time. Trail is in good shape with the most rocky portions at the beginning and the end on the climb from Newfound gap to Ice water springs area. That is also the most crowded section as it overlaps the route along the AT to Charlie’s Bunion.

Would be a good running route if that’s your thing.

horseback riding
3 months ago

We thoughly enjoyed our ride this past weekend. I would have given it 5 stars but the trails were not very well maintained. There were several places the men in our group, thankfully they were well prepared, had to clear trees from the trails. There were lots of Laurel thickets that the trail went through, we had to bend over and get off in places, but it was with it. The sites were beautiful up top. Coming down there was several places to water the horses. Camping at Bristol Fields Horse Camp was very nice. I enjoyed hearing Fires Creek all night, made for good sleeping.

I completed southbound which is less climbing. There is a climb up to Snowbird Mtn regardless which direction, but for this section SB was best & has better views from Snowbird on. One could save themselves a lot of climbing and it is shorter to use the gravel roadway (Green Corner Rd) to/from the Pigeon River/I-40. There is also a false white trail blaze that leads to the Standing Bear Hostel. It takes u about 1/2 mile out of the way. Seems like a false attempt to get a hiker to go to that hostel.

A decent weekend loop. The Forney Creek trail portion follows an old logging road, which is a little uninspiring if you’re backpacking. The creeks are pretty, and the terrain is nicely varied from the high ridge-top hiking along the AT to the hollows along Jonas Creek.

hiking
7 months ago

Very cool trail. It have many loops and turn around points just In case you don’t want to do the whole trail. Great scenery and sit down areas

I have driven this beautiful section of the Parkway many times. I have also hiked some of the trails along the road several times. Great views.

Took this trail on a chilly & foggy December day. We were about the only people on the trail. It was fairly steep but very enjoyable.

The view at Peak 29 was a good distance and beautiful! It’s easy to miss. You have to crouch under some brush off to your left, but there’s a small trail there to lead you to the peak. Gorgeous is!

backpacking
8 months ago

The trail was very overgrown and caused confusion on which way the trail went. Made it all the way around just follow the blue markers. Doing this in two days was tough. Would suggest do three day hike. Not to much water on the trail.

It's a gnarly run. The downhill from Spence Field to the Cove will trash your knees if you aren't careful.

The path itself I did not find particularly challenging, no real rock scrambling which was great, just a few steps here and there. What was challenging in my opinion was the inclines, even on the way back there were 3 decently long inclines you had to get through. For a day trip this took about 9 hours there and back and it was more like 18 miles. Unfortunately it was completely fogged over when I stopped at cliff top and I couldn’t see anything, if I ever get back over here I think I will do it again to see the view.

backpacking
9 months ago

Tough steep difficult challenging. GREAT TRAIL!

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