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Love this hike loved it more when I could climb to the top, I personally think this is harder than hiking to Mount Le Conte. I recommend doing some hills and longer hikes prior to this one. The view is still stunning from the overlook. This is a must do hike in the park

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.

My favorite Hike Gorgeous!

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

hiking
8 days ago

We first hiked up to Clingmans Dome and from there to Andrews Bald. About 5 miles round trip. We were already tired by the time we got to the Andrews Bald trailhead from coming down all the rocks along the trail then going up up up then down then up. Lol Next time I would just start at the Andrews bald trail head from the parking lot. The scenery at the top of Andrews bald was just as beautiful as the one from the parking lot or from Clingmans Dome. But it was a beautiful hike.

hiking
12 days ago

Everything you’ve read about how relentlessly steep this trail is? It’s all true. Had we not been training for several months for this hike, wife & I probably wouldn’t have been able to get out of bed the next morning. Trekking poles are A MUST for this steep hike; your thighs and calves will thank you.
Even in the segments that don’t contain long flights of stairs, it’s still nearly always an uphill climb. All that said, the views from the overlook are pretty amazing. The bare “chimney tops” themselves are clearly visible from the overlook, so there’s really no need to follow the trail beyond the overlook (where it dead-ends at a gate).
After lots of rain a few days earlier, the trail was extremely muddy on the day we hiked it.
This trail is definitely showing signs of being “loved to death” by scores of hikers. (Wonder if some sort of daily lottery to manage the number of hikers might be the answer?)
Encountered a young couple on the trail with their dog, and had to politely let them know that dogs aren’t allowed on most hiking trails within the park.
Be sure to start this hike early enough in the day that you’ll arrive back at the parking lot before it starts to get dark. On our mid-afternoon trip back down, we encountered a number of folks just getting started who almost certainly would be coming down all those steep stairs in twilight.
As always, carry – and drink – plenty of water, and take some energy snacks (or lunch) to enjoy at the overlook before heading back to the trailhead and the pain reliever of your choice. Sunscreen and bug spray are wise precautions.
Although parking area is fairly large, it appears to fill up quickly, so plan to get there early to avoid having to park along the busy roadside and walk to the trailhead.
After completing this challenging but rewarding hike, treat yourself to a burger in Gatlinburg – you’ve earned it!

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!

September 2017- such a pretty hike on the NC/TN spine. The overlook was very cool. Would highly recommend this one at the park. Took us about 4 hours.

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.

just loved all aspects of this hike...the waterfalls were beautiful and the hike was worth every step!

Best trail to the top of Mt. LeConte. Absolutely the prettiest views. At times you'll feel like you want to quit, but once you get to the top you'll see that it's worth it. After getting to the top, I recommend spending a couple of hours to recharge before the trek down. Maybe eat some lunch over on Cliff Tops. If the store is open, pick of a shirt to commemorate the year you hiked it, and don't forget the pic in front of the lodge. Remember, no gifts for people that didn't make the hike.

Definitely a challenging hike but WELL worth it! This was the most beautiful hike we did on our trip by far. My 10 year old son handled it like a champ. Even after twisting his little ankle, and lots of tears, he made it to Alum Cave!
The first half of this trail is breathtaking along the river. We had lots of photo ops and the kids LOVED stopping to climb up the rocks, on fallen trees and play in the river. After a pretty steep climb it opens up to amazing views. You can see Alum Cave from that point but still have a good half mile to climb. There are areas with stairs where it gets really steep.
Beware going during early fall, when we were there on 11/21 water froze into giant icicles atop the cave and were melting and dropping down from above over the trail. I nearly got hit by a huge one that fell 3 feet from where I was walking up the steps and shattered.
Overall an amazingly beautiful trail that we will definitely hike again on our next trip!

Fairly difficult, fun and scenic hike. Very crowded. Both All Trails and local signs say 10 miles round trip but the All Trails GPS clocked us at nearly 15. Took just over 5.5 hours to complete.

Best hike in the park.
Although it is extremely difficult.
I’m 24, I go to the gym 5 days a week and in decent shape. It took 7 hours to do the whole trail.
The dining room was closed at the top and it was 50 at the bottom, 20 at the top. You need at least 3 bottles of water and 2 snacks person.
I did this in Nike Running Shoes. I’d suggest a hiking shoe instead and definitely trekking poles or your knees and hips will be swollen for a week after. Going down is worse on your body than going up. If you plan to summit I’d start before 9am at the latest. It gets very crowded.
The best views however are before the bluffs after the cave stairs.

Camped at the top at the backpacking shelter, only thing was it hit a low of 12 degrees.. ouch. Awesome hike and views, must see. Best hike in park hands down.

Great hike!
Going up to alum cave is beautiful! Love going along creek & steps through the rock formation. After alum cave, great views and neat cliffs. Path is very narrow in spots.
Obviously, LeConte is such a neat place, brownies are to die for. We hike every year.
Note that the hike after alum cave is longer than you think, especially after going back into the woods (after eagles eye). Perseverance....it’s worth it.

My son and I hiked this trail this morning. It was challenging, but definitely worth the effort and we were glad we chose to do it. We will definitely hike this one again and hopefully the top portion will be opened up again soon.

Awesome trail! I would recommend a little training to prep for it. It was a very rewarding experience. We stayed at the lodge which was also awesome

hiking
22 days ago

Not too difficult of a hike! Steep walk up. Steps, bridges, more steps, inclines, but it’s relatively short of a hike now that the walk to the chimney tops is gated off. Took my gf and I about an hour to climb up with a solid 10 minute rest(were young and in great shape). We did see a handful of people struggling but nothing that will be hard. Beautiful view from the new lookout

Used this trail as our descent from Mt LeConte. This is popular and busy but very challenging. 2700’ incline over 5.7 mi is a lot of uphill on the ascent. The initial part in the valley just after the trailhead is amazingly beautiful, however, with rhododendrons and a whitewater creek crossed by log bridges along the way. Once past that, the ascent begins and is relentless. The persistent are rewarded with some awesome views along the way. Be careful at this time of year: ice and snow can make some parts of the trail treacherous. If you plan to day hike this, bring water and allow plenty of time.

Hiked this as part of a two day trip this weekend. We hiked up to Icewater Spring shelter to overnight, then went on to Mt LeConte (and down the Alum Cave Trail) the next day. I think this is a total ascent of 1500 feet, rather than what’s listed: check other sources. Some great views along the way on a fairly strenuous hike. There is a nice spring available for water near the shelter, btw. Trail was in good condition. Few people on the trail, at least at this time of year.

Great views! Definitely the best trail I’ve done in the smokies so far. Took my wife and I about 4 hours on the ascent and 2.5 on the decent. All around great.

Tough trail, quiet a bit of an incline and very rocky. However, totally worth the view!

Great hike for families. Lots of fun geological features and little boomers everywhere!

This is my go to spot .

Always a great trail have done in all season and winter is the best

The day was fogged in, so unfortunately we didn’t get any of the awesome vistas. But we could imagine them. We did however still have a great hike. The leaves are gone at the upper elevations now but there is color (every shade of green) in the moss, ferns, and undergrowth. Still quite amazing. I’d rate the trail as moderate, and found it a nice leisure hike. We stopped at the shelter for a bite to eat and were greeted by a die and two fawns grazing in the reeds in front of us. That was our ‘10’, along with the shades of green undergrowth. We decided to head back from there since there was no expected view from Charlie’s Bunyan ; we’ll be back on a clear day. I rated 5 stars as I didn’t want to down rate it for the weather. This has all the makings of an awesome trail.

This is my favorite hike in the Smokies. Beautiful views and lots of amazing natural wonders to take in. Can be difficult at times but is well worth the effort. Can't wait to do this again when the wild flowers are in bloom.

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