Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte

HARD 1285 reviews

Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte is a 10.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November.

DISTANCE
10.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,008 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

bird watching

cave

forest

views

waterfall

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
4 days ago

Awesome would definitely do it again.Been up there twice first time I went the llamas were up there that was cool .Fantastic views on the way up.⛰⛰

hiking
5 days ago

LeConte is my favorite trail in the Smokies, and one we try to hike once a year if possible. Beautiful scenery, approachable for hikers of all skill levels, and great views from the peak

5 days ago

Awesome trail and awesome views. Highly recommend! Ice spikes a must in cold temperatures. Scenery is unforgettable. This trail is very well maintained.

hiking
6 days ago

trail was in great shape. had a great time.

hiking
6 days ago

Beautiful trail. A lot to see. Make sure you have great hiking shoes and socks. Trekking poles are a big help because of the steepness of coming back down the trail. Prepare for all conditions. Micro spikes are a must in the winter season.

hiking
6 days ago

Completed this trail in June 2018, along with the 2 short trails at the top. The views were great and was worth the effort.

11 days ago

beautiful scenery, but your muscles will pay for it.

hiking
13 days ago

The best views you can get. I completed this on November 2018 and ever since I just cannot stop hiking.

hiking
snow
17 days ago

This was a gorgeous hike that we actually did on January 6, 2019. I took my 6 year old daughter on this hike and I was so proud of her for completing a total of 14 miles! This was her longest and toughest hike yet and she made it! (She hikes with me a lot so I don’t recommend this for kids who don’t hike on a regular basis and enjoy it) There was ice and snow the day we went. The areas that were exposed to the sun melted and flowed down the tails so there was puddles and mud. The Walk way of the trails with they had wire cables drilled into the rock were frozen solid. Thank goodness they had them there because as narrow as some places got one slip and you could go right over the edge. The views at the top of Mt. LeCont were so worth the hike!! So glad we did it!

hiking
scramble
snow
18 days ago

Completed the trail 1/28/19 and we had a ton of fun but the trail is not for the faint of heart this time of year. Had trekking poles, but no Microspikes (Microspikes would have been very helpful but the trail is not impossible without). There was no recent snow/rain and approximately temps in the upper 40s. Had a great time, took us about 6 hours while moving at a fast pace when able. The upper portions of the trail past alum cave trail gets very icy this time of year, often having to scramble over sheets of ice or walk along the steep edge of the trail along the logs, brush, rocks, etc; the upper portions of the trail were slow going, but worth the effort for the scenic views. Be careful around the massive icicles that can sometime fall unexpectedly at the caves as they can be very dangerous. Otherwise, fun trail, very much worth the hike; be careful and come prepared and I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

hiking
19 days ago

Beyond beautiful, but isn’t easy. The viewpoints are many and breathtaking.

hiking
19 days ago

Wow I did this trail twice. Would definitely do it again.
I recommend leaving the trailhead early in the morning before the rush. When you get to the top you can go inside the little store an buy souvenirs etc. I was lucky enough to be there when the llamas were there. Use caution in the narrow places there are cables there for a good reason

hiking
snow
20 days ago

Very nice and rewarding hike. But at this time of the year not recommended without appropriate gear, due to significant ice buildup on trail.

29 days ago

My favorite hike in the Smokies.

1 month ago

Went in November 2018. Right after a decent snow. About halfway up it was all snow and ice. Massive ice icicles were falling from the top of Alum Cave. Was a little daring trying to hurry up the frozen ground to get under the protection of the cave. Highly enjoyed the excitement of it all. The steps at Arch Rock were a solid sheet of ice. Fell only one time going down them. I enjoy the harder trails with a little twist of ice and snow.

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked this trail Jan 11th 2019, about 3/4 of the way up there was a bad icy patch, not un-crossable with out clips but definitely not for the feint of heart. There were 9 of us and 4 were inexperienced hikers. This trail was hard but entirely worth the effort. The views from the top were worth all the pain of falling on the ice. Bring lots of water, it gets warmer as you ascend due to the sun shining on the mountain. There are plenty of places to rest and take great pictures.

hiking
1 month ago

Worth all the effort! from the moment you see arch rock you know this is gonna be a cool hike. inspiration point should be enough to propel you to the end of this hike, but if that's not enough allum bluff is a wonderful turn around point and not much further past inspiration point. 10/10 will definitely do this hike again.

1 month ago

Just amazing. Simple as that.

1 month ago

Fun and challenging trail’

1 month ago

l loved this hike! the first half of the hike is pretty easy then the second half is much more intense! I wouldn't label this difficult just a little strenuous. highly recommend. absolutely beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent hike with beautiful views in and above the forest. Not too hard, not too easy. Just right :)

hiking
1 month ago

Started at 835 and got to the cave/bluff at 1040. Headed back down at 1055 and got back to the arch by 1135. Back in the lot at 1230. Stopped for a few breaks and pics. I'm not in good shape at all and I considered it a moderately difficult trail. Any one who can walk 4 hours can get to the cave and back. There is a lot to look at with tons of small waterfalls and rapids along the creek up to Arch Rock. The trail is pretty easy up to the arch and then steepens. Once the trail opens up the views are incredible and worth the hike! Alum cave is massive...the pics do it no justice and must be seen in person. The trail was snow packed most of the way when we were there and icy in a lot of sections. I never felt like it was dangerous, but almost slipped and fell a few times on the way back down. I recommend doing this hike before attempting Chimney Tops, which is right down the road, especially if you don't do a lot of hiking. Its about the same length and time. I did Chimney Tops about 4 years ago with two young kids and regretted it. Had I'd known better, I would have done Alum Cave back then. Chimney Tops is on a whole different level of hiking. I will return again some day to finish this hike to Mt. Leconte. I'm satisfied for now.

1 month ago

Great views! Did in September a little cool as it is in shade mostly at the beginning then opens up to sun. Steep elevation, I would take snacks and lots of water. Be sure to leave early as it takes around 5-6 hours total. Great views but not easy!

1 month ago

Such a great hike, challenging but worth it!

1 month ago

Worth every minute!

1 month ago

Worth every step! The whole trail is a pure bliss:)

1 month ago

A December hike in a sunny day is fun! Along the creek first then hike up to the cave. Further to the Cliff top. Narrow road but with chain to grab on. Still icy at the top. Special gears could help. A great day hike choice! !

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is amazing and had an awesome hike! Hiked this in partial rain with significant fog but it was still very nice and I will do it again one day to try to catch the views. I read the review regarding crampons for the latter of the hike and wish I would have taken the advice - it was definitely doable without, but it would have been more comfortable with.

2 months ago

Saw more people than I would have liked, but the views were amazing. Go all the way to Myrtle Point. If icy, crampons are worth carrying.

2 months ago

Worth it.

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