hiking

views

no dogs

forest

nature trips

walking

wild flowers

birding

wildlife

trail running

backpacking

camping

horseback riding

kid friendly

river

waterfall

fishing

wheelchair friendly

mountain biking

lake

dogs on leash

road biking

scenic driving

The Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains, have a wide range of elevations, making them home to over 400 vertebrate species, 100 tree species, and 5000 plant species. Hiking is the park's main attraction, with over 800 miles (1,300 km) of trails, including 70 miles (110 km) of the Appalachian Trail. Other activities are fishing, horseback riding, and visiting some of nearly 80 historic structures.

I took this hike while visiting the Clingman's Dome tower. This was a nice hike downhill from the parking lot. it is rocky some places but levels out a bit towards reaching Andrew's Bald. The hard part is the hiking upward towards the parking lot. it is a good workout and just taking your time it will be a pleasant experience.

My review is from the perspective of an amateur landscape photographer.

The trail is typical Eastern US woodlands. Nothing special to set it apart from the other dozens of woodland trails in the Smokies. No epic scenic views. The only thing that sets this trail apart are the school and sister's cabins. If you like photographing log cabins and such is is the trail for you. I

if you are looking for scenic views, waterfalls, etc. pick another trail.

Having said that, I'll probably return in the fall to photograph the cabin with the fall foliage.

Terrific hike! This was my fav hike I have ever done. We climbed about 3,600 ft in elevation in rainy weather. We started at the trailhead about 7am and we seemed to be the early birds. We did run into about 12 people coming down from staying overnight at the lodge as we got closer to the top.. We ran into 20+ people on our way down as they hiked up. The majority were probably stopping at the Alum Cave and turning back. I recommend hiking sticks for the way up and down. They really saved my knees. Also the trail follows the edge of rock ridges that are very slippery when wet. Thankfully they have cables you can hold while walking along most parts like that. The first point of interest on the trail is the Arch Rock. It is a arch in a rock and you walk up a winding staircase through it. I want to say it was the half way point to the Alum Cave. The Alum Cave was not what I was expecting. Here in New York, we have ice caves you literally walk into. Not this one. This consists of 80-100 foot cliff/bluffs that tower and bend overhead.. and there is a big area of very dry sand that is mostly shielded from the rain when it storms. It was impressive. We hiked all the way to the Mt Leconte Lodge. but we did not venture further to the Cliff Tops because we knew there wouldn't be any view thanks to the fog. We also almost hiked alil further to the rock pile but I recently saw a pic from other hikers of it and it seemed to be demolished :-( We got to the top about 1115am.. They do not serve any food or drinks until 12 noon so we were not able to partake in that. The ladies who worked at the lodge, did welcomed us to sit in the dining room and snack on the protein bars we had brought with us. I definitely recommend wearing waterproof clothing. I was soaked when I got to the top from rain and sweat but did not realize it until I stopped sat down and it didn't help that up top it is like 30 degrees below the temp at the bottom. It was a foggy day but we were able to see a good bit. I heard that in the smoky mountains there are 2 bears for every 1 square mile, so I brought bear spray. Luckily we did not see any, maybe the rain kept them away I am not sure. There is an outhouse with a toilet up at the top which I was very thankful for as well. The hike took us 7-8 hours. The lodge has log cabins that bring you back in time. The fog rolling through also helps to create a unique atmosphere.

super steep, lots of stairs, but well worth it at the top. Beautiful streams along the way near bottom.

For the serious hikers only. Lots of covered, tight forestry to go through. we started backwards and did 3 miles up first instead of ending it that way. Glad we did, made the ending to the falls well worth the intense hike and challenge. Not recommended to go alone.

hiking
21 hours ago

This was an easy, beautiful trail! It was pretty crowded, which was a bummer, but it was still worth it! It only took us about an hour and a half total, but we did hang out at the waterfall for about a half hour. I really don't think it would be good for strollers/wheel chairs, but is accessible for children.

Excellent trail. Varied terrain of forest, rocks, and vegetation. The falls were awesome as well. It is a bit strenuous if you're not experienced, but definitely one of my favorites yet.

Beautiful trail run.

Beautiful hike with some epic views. Was a bear near the trail, but we had just missed it. Been wanting to hike the AT, now just have to do the whole thing some say.

Peaceful hiking trail, didn't see anyone else while trail running it.

Beautiful hike. Clouds were rolling in at the top, only saw the chimney mountain for a minute, the trail to it was closed. We did it with our 5 yr old son & daughter in tow. Would hike again.

Great hike, beautiful river went up to husky gap. Plenty of fishing holes. It loops if you take Jacobs trail back but it's the next parking area over.

Steep trail. Paved with plenty of rest spots. The views from the top and the AT is well worth the climb!

A great overnight hike. The road across Fontana Dam is open now (May 2018), which saves a mile at either end of the hike. The climb up to Shuckstack is pretty steep, but beautiful even on a rainy day. The descent down Lost Cove trail is also very steep, and muddy on the day I hiked it; I was glad to be going down it and not up! Campsite 91 is lovely and quiet, but I pushed on to Campsite 90 at Eagle Creek. The trail between 91 and 90 crosses the stream about 8 or 9 times, each one requiring some wading, so bring water shoes! The streams were not high when I crossed them, never more than about a foot deep. Trekking poles are a help for balance, as some of the streams are pretty swift-flowing. Campsite 90 is right on the water -- I had expected more people, but it was quiet and beautiful. The Lakeshore trail is much hillier than its name might lead you to expect, though not nearly as bad as the ascent from Fontana Dam to Shuckstack. The trail passes a group of rusted car bodies, eerie reminders of the people displaced by the dam and the national park. All in all a great hike.

Great hike following the creek most of the way. First mile and a half is pretty easy and takes you to a nice overlook of the water. The next 1+ mile gets a bit more rugged and elevation begins to increase. Several nice foot bridge crossings. The remainder of the trail will test you. A pretty steep climb and one slightly depressing section that seems to lead you away from the sound of rushing water. But the struggle is so worth it. Enjoy!

At the beginning, the trail is wide and easy. Some people come back without completing the loop. The second half of the loop has a couple of challenging creek crossings an the path becomes narrower. At some points, it is wide for just one person. The creek views and sounds are very nice. At the end of the loop there are very old houses where just the fireplaces stand. We enjoyed this easy to moderate trail.

Went here on a day while exploring Cades Cove.  My biggest advice is: hike it in the morning because of shade.  Lots of the trail is uncovered, so in the late Spring it gets very hot.  It is a longish trail that is up and down both ways.  The waterfall was nice, but the payoff compared the cost of the long hike isn't there for me.  If you are already doing Cades Cove then yes go ahead and do it, but I wouldn't make a special trip to this hike.

hiking
3 days ago

Great hike and some mother daughter time. We live nearby so will go again.

The hike is short and paved, too steep for wheelchairs (posted on a sign there). This trail is more for the view, which is excellent.

Nice easy trail. Good view.

Nice trail. Loved the large footbridge. Made one mistake and kept hiking 1.5 after the waterfall. 6.88 total a bit much for an older guy.

hiking
4 days ago

Scenic hike along the creek. Several small waterfall areas. A little crowded if you're looking for seclusion but the falls is worth it.

This loop is more moderate than hard. Really enjoyed it though. Walked around a bend on Lead Cove and a doe was in the middle of the trail. It must be accustomed to hikers because it slowly ambled off the trail so I could pass.
Bote Mountain had a fairly large blow down that was not any fun to climb over.

Great hike! View was amazing from Charlie’s Bunion! There’s a toilet at the shelter (FYI

I go here by myself at least twice a year just to get in the river after a good sweat.

We loved this hike! The hike to alum cave is an easy hike, beautiful scenery, you can see the ridge and “the eye in the needle.” We continued to Mt Leconte which is a more difficult hike - moderate/strenuous with beautiful views, flowers, unique rock, along the way. We learned the meaning of why these mountains are called the Smokies. When we got to the top, we were in the clouds! Wish we could’ve seen the view but sitting in the clouds was equally beautiful! We went straight to cliff tops, instead of the Lodge, but from reading other reviews wish we would’ve checked out the Lodge. We left around 9am and got out around 2 pm (We ran for part of the downhill portion back to get out of the rain).

Really nice trail though definitely a workout. No holes in the trail and awesome views. The waterfalls at the top are worth the hard work!

Beautiful, relaxing walk. Nice little waterfall, also.

Beautiful falls. Tough hike up. But worth it.

hiking
5 days ago

hike is as described, beautiful views and well worth the effort to get to the main falls,
this trail is only open fri-sun currently, with the active train maintenance crews working.

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