Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte

HARD 1,251 reviews

Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte is a 10.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November.

DISTANCE
10.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,008 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

cave

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

snow

no dogs

This trail begins with a mild incline along Alum Cave Creek and the Styx Branch. At 1.3 miles you will get to Arch Rock, one of the trail's prominent landmarks. The arch's interesting geological features were formed when wind and water eroded away the softer rock. The trail passes right under the natural arch making a great vantage point for photos. At the 2 mile mark you will arrive at Inspiration Point. From here, you will be rewarded with views of Little Duck Hawk Ridge and The Eye of the Needle, as well as Myrtle Point on Mt. LeConte. Past Alum Cave, at the peak of Mount LeConte is the LeConte Lodge where you can stay in one of the primitive cabins that are the only formal lodging in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. At the summit you can also purchase drinks and use the restroom. This is a popular trail, so you will likely be in the company of other hikers.

hiking
13 minutes ago

Done this trail multiple times! Great views at the top, but along the trail as well. One of the best bang for your bucks in the National Park! Trail is more crowded than you would think an 11 mile trail would be though.

14 hours ago

great things to see...bridges..river..coves and more a little more difficult and steep up near the bluff but worth it ..we got a glimpse of a rattler at the top but he kept his distance

backpacking
18 hours ago

I took my girls on this hike! Unforgettable! I will do this hike again with some backpacking to go!

backpacking
1 day ago

Have done this trail twice both times in early April, bring spikes due to the ice in the trail. Beautiful views of the smokies in multiple locations. One of my favorite trails.

2 days ago

I went on this trail and it had the best views I’ve ever seen

5 days ago

Great trail beautiful views , very well maintained .

hiking
7 days ago

The trail is rocky and well maintained. It took us about 3 hours to hike up but we were carrying larger packs because we camped out a few nights. There are plenty of places to refill water so no real need to cary more than you absolutely need. The parking lot is plenty large but still recommend getting there early as Alum Cave Trail is the busiest. We probably met 50-100 hikers climbing up as we came back down (the reason I rated it only 4 stars). Next trip to Leconte, we will take a less popular trail.

8 days ago

We were hiking this trail when it was little rain and that was awesome experience,overall this trail is amazing with beautiful views ,very recommended

hiking
13 days ago

Very well marked. Beautiful views all the way up. It is a little difficult but you will not be disappointed.

hiking
17 days ago

We hiked the last weekend in July. My boys 9 & 13 had no problems going up. My 13 year old had a 15 lbs. pack, so we were very watchful for the pack not to throw off his balance around the cliffs. Hiking poles help if carrying packs. A liter of water and trail mix for hike up. Refill water at the lodge & buy a sack lunch. Picked up our yearly Christmas ornament at the office.

hiking
17 days ago

Beautiful trail! Don’t forget to do up to the Cliff top. There’s an amazing view!

17 days ago

Great hike! Definitely strenuous past the Arch Rock, but well worth the effort once you reach Mt LeConte.

17 days ago

Great trail , best hike of the week, saw a red fox , a falcon , & a very friendly red squirrel at the bluff

18 days ago

Tough but rewarding!

hiking
19 days ago

Fantastic trail with so many great scenery! It might be challenging if you’re not physically active. The mount leconte lodge at the summit is an iconic place, definitely stop by to refresh yourself with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

19 days ago

Favorite hike I’ve done. Left the parking lot at 8 and hit the peak at 10:27 which was a pretty challenging pace that left me winded after some sections. Didn’t run into any traffic, besides a few little couples of people. Had the peak to myself for a good 35 mins and got to take a little nap and eat some lunch. The return trip was much more populated, especially at the bluffs and alum cave. Whole trip took me about 5-5:30hrs including about an hour on the peak.

I’d suggest packing an extra layer, extra shirt, and 2.5-3.5 liters of water. I’d also highly suggest hiking boots, not tennis shoes.

I will definitely be coming back in to try and catch the sunrise on this one.

Excellent hike! Scenery is beautiful and the weather was perfect. The views from cliff tops are great. We started just before 7am and we were back at the parking lot about 12:45pm. Only saw two other people on the trail going up but by the time we were coming down it was like a highway with people hiking up. So if you want some peace and tranquillity I definitely recommend getting an early start.

19 days ago

beautiful but steep

hiking
20 days ago

Great Trail, started at 5:15am, a lot of parking at the trailhead on Labor Day weekend, hike is very easy, you will cross about 6-7 small bridges until you get to Alum Cave, from there the real ascent starts. There are some great views once you get close to LeConte Lodge Area. You have to go past the lodge area and you can actually summit 3 peaks up there. First one is Clifftop with great view of the valley, the second summit is actually Mount Levonte Peak which is covered in trees (You will see cairns at the summit), the 3rd and best is Myrtle Point which is further down the trail. We did trail in about 8hrs but definitely about 1.5hrs of taking pictures and resting up at summit. ENJOY THE BEAUTIFUL HIKE!! Used up 3Liters of water.

hiking
20 days ago

One of my first hikes since I moved here. Stunning views!

hiking
20 days ago

Hiked this trail today and it was amazing! Beautiful views every few miles. Well worth it!

21 days ago

Wonderful hike, fantastic views and some challenging terrain...

hiking
22 days ago

Excellent hike. Very beautiful.

hiking
24 days ago

Great trip, great lodging and scenery all around. Don't miss Cliff Tops and Myrtle Point.

hiking
25 days ago

hiked to the lodge for an overnight in April, 2017. snowed 8" overnight. one of the best experiences of my life. don't miss this.

26 days ago

One of the best trails, if not THE best, in the Southeast...period!

26 days ago

My wife and I did this hike with our 3 boys and 2 nephews. Ages 17-11. It’s was “lit” as they say on the gram.

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
29 days ago

This is an awesome hike. Got a late start but made the 11 mile round trip in six hours. The bluff is absolutely something everyone should experience, breathtaking. Trail after the bluff provides great vistas in many directions, all worthy of many photos

hiking
29 days ago

This trail is “worth it” as others have stated because of the variety and frequency of views, this trail keeps paying off every little while. Highly recommended going past the mountain top and follow another half mile to cliff top where the most incredible views of the Smokey’s can be seen. The majority of the climb up is strenuous but even a couple miles in is worth visiting if don’t want to do the 11 mile round trip. Took us 6 hours. Recommend a sunny day for best views!

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