Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte

HARD 785 reviews

Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte is a 10.3 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
10.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2824 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.

hiking
22 hours ago

One of
The best hikes I’ve ever done in my life

hiking
3 days ago

What a fun trail! I had to return before reaching Mt Leconte due to completely iced over trail and being poorly equipped. The bluff area is beautiful and this is a challenging trek with great views. In January you will definitely need microspikes for your feet and perhaps a hiking pole.

7 days ago

Hike is worth taking, views at the top are spectacular!

7 days ago

Probably one of the toughest hikes I’ve done yet. If your trying to hike this in January good luck. With out the proper footwear you will not make it. We made it 1.5 miles from the summit. Had to turn around due to the bad ice the rest of the way. Definitely a second time in the fall will be on the to do list. All and all this was one amazing hike and I recommend it to anyone who knows what they are doing. If your planning on hiking this from 01/10/18-01/13/18 do make sure you have micro spikes for your hiking sticks and footwear.. other wise you will not make it across the ice. We barely made it in the footwear we had on. Good luck hiking friends ! See you next time Alum ❤️

hiking
8 days ago

Hiked this trail back in Fall 2017. Unfortunately did not make it to the top, just till the cave. Regardless, the views were stunning. Seeing the fall colors was mesmerizing. I went with my parents (in their 50s) and by the time we got to the cave they were really tired. We are not used to altitud since we come from Florida so I believe we took longer than usual. Path does get narrow at times and it does get high. My mom is afraid of heights and although she did it, she was having a hard time to keep calm. Has a couple of awesome switchbacks. I would totally do it again but next time to the very top!

hiking
12 days ago

Alright so my family of 5 did this hike on 1/6/18. 2 adults, 3 kids ages 15, 12, and 5. We made it all the way up to LeConte lodge in about 10 hours. If you know you’re going to be taking the trail at a slower rate than the even the average hiker, plan for it!! We were a little later than we wanted to be starting the trail which resulted in the last hour of the hike (starting at arch rock) being dark. No big deal though, we brought head lamps and lights. Definitely listen to the reviews about ice. We ordered some cheap ice spikes off amazon and they did their job. I’m sure there are better options, but these served their purpose and we actually gave two of ours up to two hikers we passed on their way up about a mile from the trail head. There are cables, but the spikes made it so much easier to navigate all the heavy ice. We encountered the most ice on the second half of the trail past alum cave bluffs. My 5-year-old daughter handled this trail in its entirety in the winter, but she also isn’t typical. Make sure if you are taking your children that they have superb listening skills, follow your direction diligently, are aware of the risks and what to do in emergency situations, and have the stamina and endurance. A major fail on our part being from Florida is that we brought camelpaks with no insulation for the hoses, so we basically carried frozen water up and down the whole way. Overall though this was a major accomplishment for us and extremely rewarding. Caretaker at the lodge was extremely nice. Heed the advice from other reviews that you will be layering up and down depending on the temp and movement.

hiking
21 days ago

Beautiful hike. Well-maintained trail except very, very icy!!! I would never do it without microspikes. But gorgeous views at top, interesting views along the route up, changes in scenery, and temperature (wear layers). Hike was hard but not brutal. Took me about 6 hours with a half hour lunch break at myrtle point and a few 10 minute breaks along the way. I would go early as it was way less crowded than when I came down in the afternoon.

hiking
21 days ago

Probably one of the best trails I have ever hiked. Get a head start because we started the trail around noon. We started towards the peak after the bluff and a lot of people were turning around telling us to do so as well because it would be dark soon. Didn't stop us though. When we got to the top it was pretty much indescribable of how beautiful it was. We hit dark 30 minutes to the end but it was so worth it. There is nonstop views on each corner.

23 days ago

First time hiking in the mountains and I did this trail!! I’m not gonna lie, if you aren’t a regular hiker it can be really hard. I had to push and make myself keep going a few times...but once you reach the top it is all worth it!!! Can’t wait to do it again!! Dress in layers because the temp goes up and down a lot on this trail. Some spots you will be hot, other spots you are trying not to slip on ice!! This trail was amazing and the resort at the top and the views are breathtaking!!!

28 days ago

Awesome hike ! 6.5 hours round trip. Worth every minute! Spectacular views!

hiking
30 days ago

We took too much time taking pictures and filming we had to hike in the dark for two hours on our way back. Plan accordingly and get and early start. The views and geological structures are beautiful and well worth the trip.

hiking
1 month ago

One of my favorites! Amazing views.

backpacking
1 month ago

Definitely need to get a head start, hiking here at night sucks but in the daytime its beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail with a gradual incline. I went a week after a snowstorm closed the park, so there were many patches of ice and snow, especially beyond the 3.5 mile mark. The south face of the mountain was mostly slick, though fortunately there are cables set up in sections that are prone to ice.

trail running
1 month ago

I tried my best running on the ice but home girl had to crawl! It was a blast and I’ll remember it forever!

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail! Very well maintained and a new view around every corner. We completed this hike in a little over 6 hours, with a few snack breaks on the way. Will definitely be back when the LeConte Lodge is open!

hiking
1 month ago

Great hard trail worth the work. Fun climb with narrow paths along mountain edges and deep woods alike. Warm on way up and really cool At top so make sure to pack layers as usual even in a warm day. Place to sit at top and rest before heading down. Took us just under 3hrs hiking vigorously without many breaks and under 2 back. Said no dogs but we did see a dog or two. There is a lodge up top in case you need it but it’s def feasible to get an early start as we did going up around 11 hitting top around 1:30, ate and quick nap at top, then back down by 4:30 before dusk. Great views and highly recommend.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this many years ago and still remember the beauty of it. My favorite hike in the Smoky Mountains. I remember ice on parts of the trail so take care. We hiked to the cabins then up to the summit.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful views and very scenic!!
We walked to the cave which was 5.1 miles.

hiking
1 month ago

Enjoyable scenic, but slippery when ice present.

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