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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)

4 hours ago

This was a beautiful hike! We only went as far as the cliffs but the trail goes further on.

This has to be my favorite hike yet! Such a rewarding view, so beautiful. It is rocky and has challenging footing but that's what makes it adventurous! Very steep climb if you want to go on top of the waterfall but once you get up there the view is most definitely worth it. This trail has so much to offer from some of the stone structures along the way to a few mines and neat bridges, it's a hike I would do over and over again.

Very fun and great views.

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

Did this trail today and took our 18 pound older Boston Terrier. He did fine but was pretty tired at the end. We did the lower and upper Falls and BlueHole trails. Falls were great and very photogenic. No restroom at the trailhead. Would love to visit again. Easy day hike.

beautiful, this is why we moved to Tennessee!

Absolutely gorgeous, both along the rim and through the gorge. I started at Stone Door and hiked the loop clockwise, going down through the gorge first, and finishing the loop by hiking the trail along the rim. The trail through the gorge is difficult, trust the reviews and be prepared for uneven terrain and a strenuous climb out at the end. Also, watch your step. We saw 3 snakes while at the bottom of the gorge, and 2 of them were copperheads. Regardless, this hike is incredible, one of the best I've found among the dozen or so areas I've hiked through in TN. After emerging from the gorge, the hike along the rim is pretty easy and there are multiple overlooks that are ideal for taking in some stunning views of the gorge from above. This one is definitely worth the effort!

2 days ago

Beautiful hike. My wife and I hiked Virgin Falls in a day, left out around 8 AM in a foggy drizzle and by the time we reached Virgin Falls it was sunny and perfect. We did the main trail, spur to overlook, sheep cave, top of the falls and bottom of the falls and came in just over 11 miles total. Both Big Laurel Falls and Virgin Falls are pretty awesome. The trail has some sections over rocks on the descent in/ascent out that I would assume give the trail it's rating...they were tough, but not too bad. Once you reach Virgin Falls, I highly recommend the short climb down to the base, it's so worth it, (be careful it's muddy) and the short climb around to the top (again, so worth it!). We spent 45 minutes to an hour at Virgin Falls and at least another 30-45 at Big Laurel Falls, took our time and were still back to the lot in 7 hours total. I hiked it in chacos, the wife had boots...I could see where chacos might be an issue for some on the way down. Probably going to go back in a few weeks when the leaves are peaking. Also think it would be a great overnight and the camping options look great. Almost rated it a 5 but wasn't as well marked in some places as I expected, but still an excellent hike!

FYI- When you get to the Loop to the falls where it's 0.5 to the falls one way and 0.8 (Sheep Cave then falls) the other way, it might help to know that the shorter trek to the left is a fairly steep descent followed by a climb the last 0.2 mile or so to the falls. The slightly longer route to the right (also to the falls via Sheep Cave) is much flatter and possibly even quicker.

Loved this trail! Highly recommend for everyone :)

Great climb! Beautiful views. You will get wet though, have to cross a few rapids on the 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.

This trail is a great mix of easy with some technical sections thrown in if you take the Big Creek Gulf Trail. I had my small Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with me, and although he was tired at the end, he was able to navigate the trails with no problem. Great for day hiking!

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

This is a great hike. The trail starts just left of the parking area at the falls. We didn’t go the whole trail distance but will definitely go back and do more.

It’s right off the road and only a little ways to the top of the falls. Beautiful.

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.

7 days ago

Very nice spot for a family hike. Can be a bit steep in some areas but nothing too extreme. Some areas of the trail are narrow and on the edge of the mountain, so caution is required especially with kiddos and dogs. Long enough trail to enjoy the quiet, and get a workout and short enough to not be too intense for younger or inexperienced hikers. Gorgeous views with excellent swimming at the bottom of the waterfall. Will be back for more!

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.

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.

I have only lived in Tennessee for less than two weeks. This was my first real hike since arriving. I loved this trail. It’s a great trail for an agile dog. There are a lot of really narrow and rocky parts to the trail as well as a spiral staircase (which my dog would not go down) to Greeter Falls and another area that had a suspension bridge. There are lots of beautiful trees and a couple of spots that take your breath away with awesome scenery. A few different falls along the way. The trails are well marked and easy to follow. Very light traffic if you go first thing in the morning on a Saturday. I left after completing about 4 miles at 10am and the parking lot was about half full. I will come back in a few weeks when the leaves begin to change color for another beautiful hike. Highly recommend this trail.

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!!

11 days ago

Trail head is tough to fine. It is on the side of the highway directly opposite the paved parking pull-off. It is faintly marked by some surveyor's tape, but otherwise hard to see. trail itself was well marked. I hiked up at night and down the next morning. watching the sunrise from the overlook was amazing. Some great bouldering at the top as well.

Good water source flowing into the cave, which is closed due to white-nose syndrome.

Lots of fun and beautiful! especially when the rains make it flow wildly!

12 days ago

Beautiful waterfall. There’s an overlook that’s easy to get to. Be careful because there are no guard rails. Not suited for small children. Then you can hike a separate trail (path of large rocks) down to the bottom of the falls. It’s so beautiful and majestic. Wear shoes that can get wet and plan to climb around and spend the day exploring the base of the falls.

first time ever hiking this trail on July 4th 18. all I can say is amazing. it had its difficult areas but not too bad in my opinion. definitely recommend.

12 days ago

very nice tail and views

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