Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte

HARD 888 reviews

Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte is a 10 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Twin Creeks, 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
10.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2854 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

cave

forest

river

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.

2 days ago

It was an amazing hike.I will do this trail again.Next time all the way 2 My Leconte

backpacking
2 days ago

Love this trail will do it more a very nice walk in the smokies

hiking
2 days ago

My wife and I hiked this today in about 6 hours (which includes about 30 minutes of stopping). We are relatively new to hiking and both in fair shape. Got there around 8 and the parking lot was half full. Didn’t see too many hikers on the way up but tons on the way back down and the parking lot and adjacent roadsides were packed. To be fair, it was a gorgeous day weather-wise which will bring a lot of people to the park. The trail itself wasn’t too bad. The incline was pretty gradual throughout and wasn’t too strenuous. All in all it was a fairly difficult hike due to its overall length, but the views at the top were well worth the work.

hiking
5 days ago

Amazing hike with a decent incline. The stone steps through the mountain was a crowd pleaser and there are so many amazing views along the trek. Rested under the bluffs towards the end of the trail and it was well work the hike. 10/10 would do it again.

7 days ago

This IS a bucket list hike for anyone who loves the mountains

12 days ago

Great hike!!!

16 days ago

Hiked on3/31/18.Weather was cool and sunny. There was some ice on the trail towards the top and icicles on some of the overhangs. Good crowd but not to crowded.

17 days ago

This was a fun one. It starts off easy enough but, has a very sneaky, gradual incline. I purposely did not work out on legs the week of this hike and, that was the right call; granted, we did a moderately strenuous hike the day prior to this trail. The sights are great and we really liked all of the running water going in between the rocks. Hike is not overbearing until after the cave; many hikers call it a day at that point, which is approximately half way, I believe. The rest of the trail from there has a lot of icy rock to shimmy across, depending on season and time of day. The camp ground up top is pretty neat; it's like a trip back in time. Go a little further to reach the cliffs and take in the well-earned view. Also, have a lunch or two in my case. The hike back down is easy compared to the climb up. Bring a lot of food and water; the two of us went through about 5-liters of water on a day that was 60 degrees F. Well worth the trip and was a rewarding experience. We can't wait to come back to this park.

18 days ago

This was our first visit to the Smoky Mountains and this hike did not disappoint! I hiked To Mt. Leconte with my husband and 9 y/o son on March 30th. It. Is. Strenuous. It took us 5 hours round trip. We hike frequently, We are all in pretty good shape and I have not experienced a hike this hard. My 9 y/o cried. Steep inclines - lots of steps! That being said, it was amazing and once you’re at the top you have a great sense of accomplishment!
The views were amazing on the way up. It’s a different, more rocky terrain than we are used to seeing. There are lots of wet areas and stream crossings so waterproof hiking boots are highly recommended! There was ice on the trail at the top with lots of cables to assist in traversing safely. Beautiful icicles hung from the trees and cliffs! There are so many interesting landscapes to see on this hike!
Overall this hike was a great experience and we can’t wait to go back in the fall!

18 days ago

I'm not an experienced hiker but I'm in good shape and workout 5 days a week so I thought what the heck let's see what I can do. This trail has such good reviews for the scenery and we are from Illinois so we don't travel to the Smokies often so we thought "when in Rome". I can't imagine another day hike in this part of the country would top this one. It was breath taking. Every. Single. Part. It was difficult but definately doable for my fitness level. Even saw numerous kids under the age of 15 make it to the top. Lots of inclines and stairs and when you reach the summit it is humbling. I can't wait to do it again in the fall!

hiking
19 days ago

We only went to the bluffs, about 2.3 miles in, and turned around. The trail to the arch (1.3 miles) is a moderate incline along the river, very beautiful and peaceful. Once you get to the arch, the incline seems to increase and I needed to take a couple breaks to the bluffs, even though I considerate myself moderately fit. It was definitely worth it though. The view from the bluffs was amazing and made a great spot to have a snack and refuel to go back down. Continuing on past the bluffs to the mountain top seemed nearly impossible to me but clearly there are many who can do it and I imagine it’s amazing. Great photo opportunities throughout.

20 days ago

went March 31,2018 with my family. friendly people. saw marriage proposal very sweet. ice on rocks & icicles hanging.

hiking
22 days ago

I recorded almost six miles from the parking lot. We stayed at Mount LeConte overnight and enjoyed the last snowfall of March 2018. Our two teens hiked with us (13&14), and the views were the best so far than any other trail I have ever hiked. The first leg of the trail to Alum Cave is pretty easy, but from there it gets tough for half a mile and easy for a quarter mile. After that, it is all uphill. If you are hiking in winter, make sure to put spikes on your boots. The rocks are slippery and icy. The views are majestic. The trail is pretty crowded until Alum Cave, but after that the crowd dwindled. The trail is tough but worth it. I would recommend it!. Don’t forget to buy your t-shirt at Mount LeConte

hiking
23 days ago

Love this trail, there is something satisfying knowing llamas are how supplies are taken up to the lodge. This trail is well marked with several steep sections. The trail is more strenuous once you pass the alum cave junction, and there are several areas great for views but could be hazardous if wet or not paying attention. The lodge is such a cool setup but most likely it will be fog ridden when you reach the top limiting views

23 days ago

Hiked 3/27, started at 11:00, and was not the last car parked off the road as hikers coming up as we were descending. Took 5 hrs. with hot chocolate and nourishing, yummy chocolate, peanut butter,, oat no bakes on peak. Comfortable 36 degrees on top with no ice on trail. 12 and 13 year boy and girl counted 2906 man made stairs from wood and rock and figured trail was 199 and 14/15ths football fields or 29,040 steps! Loved the community room with games and guitars at the lodge. We will return and camp there.

23 days ago

hiked on 3/26. started at 8AM and we were one of the first cars in the lot, but by the time we got back down at 1PM the lot and surrounding roads were full. We stopped at the Alum Cave and had a light snack and had lunch at the lodge and bought some hot chocolate (which was delicious). We stopped a lot for photos and a few breaks. it took us 5 hours in total including a snack break and lunch. snowy at the top and warm at the bottom. one of the best hikes I've ever done

hiking
24 days ago

Beautiful hike!! Amazing scenery on the way up, trail is gorgeous. Too “Smokey” at the peak for the view but the lodge was a fun rest spot. We ended up going a bit further past the lodge so closer to 13 miles round trip but would absolutely go again, hopefully on a clearer day!

24 days ago

This trail is awesome. I was a bit unprepared in my trail shoes. I definitely recommend waterproof hiking boots. I would say this hike is for more experienced hikers if you plan to go past Alum cave. We did this in 7 hours counting our 30 minute (surprise) lunch at the lodge at summit. I would definitely plan to go on a sunny day next time, as our view from the top was cloudy. We still had great views on the hike up

25 days ago

beautiful trail. lots of great photo opportunities. Right now, end of March, the trail is very wet and muddy in some places as you make your way further up. Bring plenty of water and snacks. Wear hiking boots if you are able. Dress in layers, as it is chilly on top. I would highly recommend this trail if you are physically active and have good stamina.

hiking
25 days ago

3/26/18- We loved this hike! Definitely well trafficked the first half up to the bluff, less on the second half up to Mount LeConte. For experienced hikers it’s not a difficult hike, it can be steep and slick at times but manageable. Hiking shoes are definitely warranted in our opinion as it was very wet and rocky. We did this in about 5 1/2 hours with a little break at the lodge at the top. Pack in layers for the colder months! Would recommend this hike for sure :)

hiking
25 days ago

Great hike with excellent views. There was snow and ice along most of the trail when we hiked it on 3/24/18. However i think this made it even more majestic. Crampons and gaiters are highly recommended especially for the last half. The wall ropes were quite helpful in some parts. We took our time with many stops along the way to enjoy the scenery and were back in around 8 hrs. This included more than an hour at the Le Conte Lodge drinking lots of coffee and hot cocoa.

26 days ago

Great hike! The scenery and terrain change a lot as the hike goes, which keeps it constantly interesting. The paths and bridges are well maintained, and there are cables to hold onto on the steeper parts so if there isn’t ice it’s not too bad. Very wet though! Wear waterproof shoes :) the lodge/village at the top was also really cute and a nice place for a quick halfway snack.

hiking
26 days ago

the best hike I have done here. the views are great, there are some heavy uphills, but they are worth it at the top. Loved the lodge and the old style cabins. We will do this again.

hiking
27 days ago

3/14/18 trek up to the bluffs: rated intermediate. Awesome trail with beautiful scenic river the first mile or so. came to the stair case which definitely got more aggressive in climbing altitude but nothing to be scared about. it's a rolling path with frequent stairs. it was a bit Icy the second mile but it was something to be cautious about on the way down.
one point of serious caution is icicles falling up by the bluffs. there is a sand path to the left of the trail you can use to walk out of harms way for a beautiful view

27 days ago

Fantastic hike, but very icy today. Be prepared for very slippery conditions starting on the bend before the arch. The views are well worth it.

hiking
30 days ago

Great hike, great views, best hike in the smokeys. It is straight uphill so you want to be in decent shape to be able to do this. It is also very crowded through the Summer. If you can get a cabin up at LeConte Lodge, it's very pleasant and relaxing.

hiking
1 month ago

Fun little day hike with nice views

hiking
1 month ago

One of the best one day hikes I have taken. Came out a little over ten miles on my calculation. The slope goes up but never too steep. When you get to Alum Cave, turn around, the view is from the cave not into the cave.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a beautiful hike with awe inspiring views. We hiked it on 3/15 and encountered some icy spots along the way. Micro spikes would have been helpful at times, but with some slow and careful stepping we made it without too much difficulty.

hiking
1 month ago

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