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Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte is a 10.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from April until November.

Length 10.6 mi Elevation gain 2,919 ft Route type Out & Back
Hiking Cave Forest River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Muddy Rocky Scramble No dogs
Description
Waypoints (9)
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Getting There

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. You can continue to hike up to Myrtle Point following this route: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/us/tennessee/myrtle-point-and-mount-leconte-via-alum-cave-trail

There are two parking lots with restrooms. This trail is so busy and popular that hikers park on the side of 441 so watch out for hikers and kids getting in and out of their cars

Great Smoky Mountains National Park 107 Park Headquarters Road Gatlinburg, TN 37738

From the Sugarlands Visitor Center, drive 8.7 miles south along Newfound Gap Road to the Alum Cave Trailhead. The parking lot is on the left. If you want to stay at LeConte Lodge make reservations ahead of time. The cabins fill up a year in advance on busy weekends.(Although with drop outs you may be able to find a reservation) You can fill up your water bottles at LeConte Lodge.

From the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, drive 8.7 miles south along Newfound Gap Road to the Alum Cave Trailhead. The parking lot will be on your left. Due to the popularity of the Alum Cave Trail, there are two parking lots for this trailhead. To ensure a spot, you may want to get here early during peak hiking season, as well as any nice weekend throughout the year.

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Reviews (3394)
Photos (7242)
Recordings (2135)
Completed (8169)
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Chase Meyer
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HikingGreat!
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Christopher Dugan
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HikingGreat!Rocky

RIP my knees. But seriously this was an amazing hike! Would highly recommend taking a little extra time and going to the Cliffs near the lodge, great views!

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Sunkalp Gupta
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Monday morning we went all the way up to Myrtle Point. Definitely start early. We started at 8:30 am, and returned by 5 pm. Total time taken was 8.5 hours which includes 30 mins breaks at Alum Cave and Myrtle Point each. Got pretty good parking right across from the parking area on the street. It does get fairly packed at certain points in the trail and therefore, recommend getting a mask. There is water at the lodge, you will see a signage for it.

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Shawna Simas
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Hiking
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Rick Lawrence
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HikingMuddyRocky

Hiked it today 10/19. Weather was great with very few clouds early. Got to see the Llama “supply chain “. Looked to be very well taken care of. Trail had some mud but the most challenging aspects were the moisture on the rocks and fallen leaves on the rocks. Loved the walk. Second time in two months. Plan on a return in winter without the crowds. I recorded 12.5 miles which included Myrtle Point, the Lodge and the Cliffs.

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Gabby Schaffer
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Super cool trail. As an avid hiker it was challenging. Lots of rock stairs. Heavily trafficked though. I clocked 12.1 miles because I had to park a half mile down the road it was that packed on Saturday morning. Challenging but more rewarding than Trillium Gap in my opinion!

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Jolene Mesch
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Hiking

totally worth the hike!

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Donna Albert
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HikingRocky

Husband & I did this trail today. Definitely Hard. Lots of rocks where you had to watch your footing along the way, & steep! Highly recommend hiking sticks (which we did not have) and be in shape! Seriously this was like over 11.5 miles round trip & all up hill. Recommend the other off trail peeks. Highly trafficked with lots of amazing hikers. I forgot my fall hat & was very cold the first part of the hike this time of year. I had a tshirt & 2 sweat shirts in the beginning around 830am. But 1/4 of the way I was good with a tshirt. The summit was amazing & we enjoyed our lunch. Stunning!! We took tons of breaks & enjoyed ourselves- so spent the day up & down. The lodge at the top was kinda nbd to me. No benefits really other than the very stinky & unclean bathroom- go off trail! JS God Bless! Enjoy Gods perfect creation

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Erin Hatfield
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HikingGreat!

Outrageously gorgeous hike, so much to look at the whole way up! And even though it’s uphill nothing is too strenuous...I can’t gush about how much I loved this hike enough. Especially the Fraser Firs...that part is just magical.

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Hester Lam
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Hiking

Due to the fall foliage, park was extremely crowded - this was my 2nd time to Mount LeConte and have been to Alum Cave even more times, but it was by far the most crowded - others we saw on the trail said they arrived at 6 and the parking lot was full. Alum Cave is the shortest path to LeConte and is crowded for that reason. Don’t forget to look around for great views all the way up. Myrtle Point is an additional 0.8 miles each way from the lodge and by far the best view at the top. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see Gatlinburg (on your left when walking to viewpoint).

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Shawnie Reames
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Hiking
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Andrew Faison
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HikingGreat!
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Laura Smith
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Hiking

Trail itself was great but wasn't super in awe of the views at the top compared to Chimney Tops or other peaks. Views on the way up were good and the hike itself was a good workout! It also poured the whole way up when I went so that may have tainted my experience just slightly :)

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Michael Regan
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HikingGreat!
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Ashley Byrd
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Hiking

Beware of people. It’s so crowded and we passed about 10 families with dogs.

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Mitch Longfellow
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Hiking

Way too many people (especially ones with 0 trail etiquette) and some cult carrying bags of dirt blocking up the busiest trail in the park. Still beautiful though

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Tony Sax
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HikingGreat!

The best hike of the GSMNP! Loved every second of it. We did all the peaks as well. Could not recommend more. One downside of when we went (10/17/20) - there were some weird church/cult groups carrying up bags of dirt and gallon jugs of water up the mountain and took up the whole trail in various parts. They were also very loud and blasting gospel music from their phones. Very odd. Obviously that won't happen every time (hopefully).

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Jessica Norris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

what an experience! we did our job as tourists and photographed as much as we could, though we never expected the pictures to do it justice. rainy morning, we started the trail just before 8 and the lots weren't yet full. cloudy through most of the morning, early afternoon kept us from seeing a view from the top. but hiking through and above the clouds was an amazing thing in itself. 3 hours up, wandered the lodge, summit, and cliff top trail for about 1.5, 2 hours and 3.5 hours down. down was the most challenging due to a few bad knees and a lot of groups coming up, not all of which were paying attention to, or considering that other people were there wanting to pass by.

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G Bern H
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HikingMuddy

The trail was very well marked and is well maintained. It is impossible to go off trail since it is a very popular hike with a well worn path. Many people hike to Alum Cave and return to the trailhead so the first part of the trail will be heavily trafficked. I highly recommend continuing on to the summit. Get to the trailhead early because the parking lot fills up quickly. We had to park over a half mile away from the trailhead. Great hike, just do it.

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Martin Neely
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Hiking

This hike is challenging but achievable. The trick is that most of the elevation gain happens in the last 1/4 of the ascent. The views were worth the effort. We left feeling very accomplished. It is really cool how you start with rivers and dirt and move into silence surrounded by rock and awe inspiring views. Just a great hike. But it goes UP so prepare and get there early. We made it out just at dark after 7 1/2 hours.

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brandon hill
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Hiking
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John Richeson
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Katie Lowry
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HikingGreat!

Beautiful and the BEST people along the trail!!

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Marcus Weatherbee
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Great!MuddyRocky

Absolutely stunning trail. Alum Cave is very cool but will be packed. the second half up to the lodge will most likely be a little less packed. The lodge is neat, has restrooms and such. We took the word of someone the was coming back from Myrtle Point that the view wasn't great and that they recommend taking the cliff tops trail instead ( only .3 miles). We did that and were met with absolutely breathtaking views. I must warn that the wind was extremely strong up there, but also amazing to experience. I can't recommend this trail enough, especially the cliff tops, those were my favorite part of this entire trip. wear good hiking shoes/boots and get there

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