Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte

HARD 673 reviews

Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte is a 10.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November.

DISTANCE
10.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2965 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

cave

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

no dogs

The first section of the Alum Cave Trail, up to Arch Rock, is a fairly gentle climb. You'll follow Alum Cave Creek for the first mile. Then, just before reaching Arch Rock, the trail begins to follow the smaller Styx Branch. This section of trail is choked with rhododendron, offering beautiful blooms in early summer. At just over 1.3 miles from the trailhead you'll reach Arch Rock, the first prominent landmark along the trail. The arch was formed by freezing and thawing which eroded away the softer rock from underneath the harder rock. The trail actually goes under the arch and requires a climb of several steps etched into the stone before exiting at the top. Roughly 2 miles from the trailhead you'll reach aptly named Inspiration Point, with its commanding views of Little Duck Hawk Ridge to the west, and Myrtle Point on Mt. LeConte towards the northeast. The Eye of the Needle, a hole in the rock at the top of Little Duck Hawk Ridge, can also be seen from Inspiration Point. At the top you will find the LeConte Lodge which provides the only commercial lodging in the national park, as it operates about 10 rustic cabins with no electricity or appliances.

2 hours ago

Awesome

4 hours ago

11 hours ago

Great trail! Great workout with a solid climb past the cave....enjoy! Took me 2 hours and 17 min to get to the lodge at top around 5.1 miles.....walking at a fast pace.....

hiking
14 hours ago

16 hours ago

Best hike in the Smokies. Rewarding views throughout the trek.

backpacking
4 days ago

Moderately challenging. The sweat you work up is 100% rewarded by the views of hiking on a clear day. Personal recommendation is to continue on 0.7 miles further and check out Myrtle Point... roughly 270° views from that lookout point. Great trail, would love to do it again and stay at the lodge.

hiking
4 days ago

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8 days ago

hiking
10 days ago

One of the best hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Tough at times but well worth it. Met some cool people too. I will definitely go again.

hiking
10 days ago

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12 days ago

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hiking
14 days ago