Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte

HARD 458 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

scenic driving

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.

hiking
2 minutes ago

This trail is awesome! The trail itself is not difficult to traverse, it is just a climb from the start. Several rock and wood step areas and many places you are walking the edge. I did this trail with my 10 & 14 year olds. They were both able to handle with no problem. Arch rock and staircase is very cool, the bluffs are gigantic, but the views are spectacular. If you get to the lodge, go further up to clifty top.....at the top take the trail to the right. BEAUTIFUL!! We made a day out of this trail. We didn't get started until 9:30am and got to the top about 1pm. We made several stops along the way for photo ops and a drink and had a quick snack at the bluffs. We stayed at the lodge area at mount le conte about an hour before heading back down. Down is harder on your legs as it's a constant pounding.....all the way down. The skies/fog had cleared on the way down, so again we took several pics. We took about 3hrs coming back and again had a snack break at the bluffs. ENJOY!!

hiking
2 days ago

My favorite trail in the park . The views ! The smells ! The lodge! Just beautiful

4 days ago

Love this trail!!! Great views all the way to to the top.

hiking
5 days ago

Not a bad trail. I love that it follows the river for a bit in the beginning. It's a steady climb about 3/4 the way up. The rest gets a little harder. We backpacked up since we were staying at the Le Conte Lodge at the top. Took us 3.5 hrs with an 11 yr old who goes a bit slow. Great trail.

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

Loved the hike! We started at 7am (only a handful of cars at the trailhead) and got to the top about 9:40am. It was an extremely cloudy/misty day, so we only saw a fraction of the views the hike provides. One day we'll have to come back to see the rest.

It was a solid workout, but the trail was very well maintained, and a blast to hike. Highly recommend if your looking for a medium/long hike.

hiking
6 days ago

An amazing hike with lots of beautiful views for distraction and rest along the way. Because you need it! Completed on the 17th.

6 days ago

I did this yesterday! it was one of my personal goals for 2017. amazing trail, you will not be disappointed. arrive early and give yourself plenty of time

7 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

hiking
9 days ago

11 days ago

12 days ago

Beautiful hike.

hiking
12 days ago

backpacking
13 days ago

Beautiful sights from the beginning to the end. There is no area to replace your water before reaching the top, and I drank 2 L on the way up. There is plenty of water at the top. This trail is hard, even for the two college students, who are very "fit" who went but it is so worth the effort. Beauty!!!!! The cabins/food/staff, if you stay overnight, are great too! Rustic, but an awesome experience.

13 days ago

Awesome trail!! Took us a little less than 5 hours to complete, but we were hiking pretty quickly. Highly recommend.

hiking
14 days ago

The real fun begins after Alum Cave. Some steep climbs but the views are definitely worth it this trail has it all.

15 days ago