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My favorite hike in the Smokies.

backpacking
9 days ago

Superb uphill hike from Bowlens Creek. Beautiful waterfall scenery at the begining of the hike, midway up you're greeted by a neat flooded mine on the right of the trail, as you ascend the scenery changes from massive trees to smaller evergreens. We hiked in the snow a week ago and it wasn't too hard to navigate. You come out to a spectacular overlook at Celo Knob and continue on the crestoine towards Mt Mitchell from there. The trail is much more narrow on the crest with some rock scrambling here and there (it was very slick and covered in ice when we went) compared to many trails around the area but i personally prefer that on hikes. The winds were blasting over us around 40-50 mph and the Lee side parts of the trail were a relief. This hike is honestly my favorite thus far in the Smokies. Challenging and unique.

Went in November 2018. Right after a decent snow. About halfway up it was all snow and ice. Massive ice icicles were falling from the top of Alum Cave. Was a little daring trying to hurry up the frozen ground to get under the protection of the cave. Highly enjoyed the excitement of it all. The steps at Arch Rock were a solid sheet of ice. Fell only one time going down them. I enjoy the harder trails with a little twist of ice and snow.

We hiked this trail Jan 11th 2019, about 3/4 of the way up there was a bad icy patch, not un-crossable with out clips but definitely not for the feint of heart. There were 9 of us and 4 were inexperienced hikers. This trail was hard but entirely worth the effort. The views from the top were worth all the pain of falling on the ice. Bring lots of water, it gets warmer as you ascend due to the sun shining on the mountain. There are plenty of places to rest and take great pictures.

Worth all the effort! from the moment you see arch rock you know this is gonna be a cool hike. inspiration point should be enough to propel you to the end of this hike, but if that's not enough allum bluff is a wonderful turn around point and not much further past inspiration point. 10/10 will definitely do this hike again.

hiking
17 days ago

Beautiful view!

Just amazing. Simple as that.

Fun and challenging trail’

l loved this hike! the first half of the hike is pretty easy then the second half is much more intense! I wouldn't label this difficult just a little strenuous. highly recommend. absolutely beautiful.

Excellent hike with beautiful views in and above the forest. Not too hard, not too easy. Just right :)

Started at 835 and got to the cave/bluff at 1040. Headed back down at 1055 and got back to the arch by 1135. Back in the lot at 1230. Stopped for a few breaks and pics. I'm not in good shape at all and I considered it a moderately difficult trail. Any one who can walk 4 hours can get to the cave and back. There is a lot to look at with tons of small waterfalls and rapids along the creek up to Arch Rock. The trail is pretty easy up to the arch and then steepens. Once the trail opens up the views are incredible and worth the hike! Alum cave is massive...the pics do it no justice and must be seen in person. The trail was snow packed most of the way when we were there and icy in a lot of sections. I never felt like it was dangerous, but almost slipped and fell a few times on the way back down. I recommend doing this hike before attempting Chimney Tops, which is right down the road, especially if you don't do a lot of hiking. Its about the same length and time. I did Chimney Tops about 4 years ago with two young kids and regretted it. Had I'd known better, I would have done Alum Cave back then. Chimney Tops is on a whole different level of hiking. I will return again some day to finish this hike to Mt. Leconte. I'm satisfied for now.

Great views! Did in September a little cool as it is in shade mostly at the beginning then opens up to sun. Steep elevation, I would take snacks and lots of water. Be sure to leave early as it takes around 5-6 hours total. Great views but not easy!

Did a portion of this trail before the rain set in. Looking forward to returning and completing the trail! Beautiful wildlife and views.

Nice hike and dog friendly. At one point the trail takes you out to a power line road and instinct is to cross the road but you’ll want to loop back into the forest since across the way is private property.

Such a great hike, challenging but worth it!

Worth every minute!

Worth every step! The whole trail is a pure bliss:)

A December hike in a sunny day is fun! Along the creek first then hike up to the cave. Further to the Cliff top. Narrow road but with chain to grab on. Still icy at the top. Special gears could help. A great day hike choice! !

hiking
1 month ago

4.5 mile trail not 3.5. View is pretty good but hard to find when you get to the top, especially in the snow. Main downfall with this hike is the horses really did a number on a good portion of the trail which made it extremely rocky, muddy and wet

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is amazing and had an awesome hike! Hiked this in partial rain with significant fog but it was still very nice and I will do it again one day to try to catch the views. I read the review regarding crampons for the latter of the hike and wish I would have taken the advice - it was definitely doable without, but it would have been more comfortable with.

Fun, fast, and challenging trail. Super Springs to the top is a good climb be not as hard as one might expect. Brissy Ridge is a technical challenge.

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.

hiking
1 month ago

I live just a mile from the trailhead on Old CCC. Hike this trail year round. Makes for a fun out and back day hike. Part of the trail near the end gets very overgrown with brush during the summer but keep pushing past that part to reach the summit. My favorite time to hike this trail is in the winter because it offers better views.

Good views, mediocre “hike”

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

I love coming here in the winter and walking through the morning mist. No wildflowers, but I feel like I’m in LOTR. And not many people make it up here in early winter. If the visitors’ center is closed off, you can park at the picnic area.

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!

Awesome hike. Straight up to 6100 ft with just a few flat areas to recover. Late fall conditions- mud at the trailhead, leaves over trial to about 4800 ft, inch of snow rest of way up, with heavy ice around 5700 ft up. Started snowing for a few minutes, but clear at the top. Best trail ive done in the area. Had to turn back at Celo Knob due to conditions, but cant wait to finish the trail to Mt Mitchell.

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.

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