Mount LeConte via Appalachian Trail and Boulevard Trail

HARD 56 reviews

Mount LeConte via Appalachian Trail and Boulevard Trail is a 15.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November.

DISTANCE
15.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3887 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

old growth

rocky

no dogs

The trail to Mt. LeConte, via the Appalachian Trail and then the Boulevard Trail, begins from the Newfound Gap parking lot. The steady climb over the course of the first two miles of the trail will quickly leave the crowds behind. For your effort during this section of trail, you'll be rewarded often and early. Take a short break at roughly two-thirds of a mile and enjoy the grand views of the North Carolina side of the Smokies. Make sure to watch for the variety of wildflowers along the way as well. Just before reaching the Sweat Heifer Creek Trail junction at 1.7 miles you'll have an opportunity to take in some outstanding views of Mount LeConte and Myrtle Point towards the north. Throughout several portions of this section of the trail you'll be traveling right around 6000 feet in elevation. Being at the highest point along this narrow ridge, with outstanding views on either side of the trail, you'll feel like you're walking along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains. At just over 2.7 miles the Boulevard Trail to Mount LeConte forks off to the left. Continuing straight on the Appalachian Trail will lead you to Charlies Bunion in another 1.3 miles. Less than a tenth of a mile after turning onto the Boulevard Trail is the junction for the Jump-Off. Although it's not an official National Park trail, it is marked with a sign. It has a few rugged sections but is easy to follow. If you still have the energy on your way back, the stunning views from this vantage point are well worth the additional one-mile roundtrip. After circling around the western flank of Mt. Kephart, the Boulevard Trail drops to an elevation of roughly 5500 feet. The trail continues by traveling in a range of 5500 to 6000 feet, until reaching the southeastern flank of Mt. LeConte where it begins to climb towards the 6593-foot summit. Roughly 0.2 miles from the summit of Mt. LeConte you'll reach a spur trail that takes you to Myrtle Point, one of two spots on the mountain that provide outstanding vantage points. You can hike the additional 0.2 miles from this junction to take in the nearly 360 degree views from this location. Myrtle Point is also the best location for sunrises on Mt. LeConte. Continuing another 0.2 miles past the Myrtle Point trail junction is the summit of Mt. LeConte, better known as High Top. You'll know that you've reached the highest point on the mountain when you reach the large cairn, or pile of rocks, just off the main trail on your left. At 6593 feet, Mt. LeConte is the third highest peak in the Smoky Mountains. However, from its immediate base to its highest peak, Mt. LeConte is the tallest mountain in the Eastern United States, rising 5301 feet from its base near Gatlinburg. You won't have any views at High Top. As mentioned, there are two places on the mountain that provide panoramic views. In addition to Myrtle Point, the other place to visit for outstanding views is known as Cliff Top, which is near the LeConte Lodge, an additional 0.3-mile hike from the summit. Descend down the other side of the mountain and begin looking for one of two social trails that fork off towards the left. Either of these will take you to Cliff Top, which is also the best location for sunset views.

hiking
15 days ago

26 days ago

hiking
27 days ago

Trail was clear except one huge tree laying in the hairpin curve just over half way to LeConte. You need to climb over a rock and through a tree or 2 to continue on the trail. At first glance it looks like the trail has ended which sucks when you've never hiked this trail.

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome trail. My favorite to get to Mt LeConte.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

Rocky, really fun, a bit chilly we went at the end of July, bring a light long sleeves shirt!
It rained a lot the day before so some views were hard to see with all the clouds! But worth the hike!

hiking
3 months ago

It was a long but good day. Definitely worth the extra hike to Cliff Tops and Myrtle Point to see the spectacular views.

hiking
3 months ago

Difficult yet worth it for the awesome views!

hiking
3 months ago

The Mountain that got me into hiking!!

3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

The long hike offers many sites. beautiful lookouts at the top of the mountain.

hiking
4 months ago

6 months ago

backpacking
7 months ago

10 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

hiking
Saturday, September 03, 2016

Walked up to Mt Leconte Sept 1st. Cloudy and fogged in at times but could still see the beauty and majesty of the mountains. The first 1.7 miles on the Appalachian Trail is uphill all the way. After 2.7 miles on the Trail the Boulevard breaks off. For the next several miles you alternately go up and down only to dread the down because you know every foot you desend you will need to gain back. The last mile to the lodge is brutal at times but knowing the lodge is close keeps you going. Loved it, I'll be back next year hopefully with a little clearer sky's.

Monday, August 15, 2016

I started the boulevard trail newfound gap it's actually Appalachian trail traveling up the trail in early April 2016 it's was a spring day in the valley but on the Mnt it was still winter. It was a challenging hike due to the heavy snow which was at least 6 inches on some parts of the trail. Lucky for me there was zero wind that day seeing I was wearing my usual hiking shorts. I stopped a took several breaks along the way for water and to eat a light snack. This trail offers some amazing views and your literally standing on the edge of cliff. I finally made it to La Conte and I was cold wet and tired. I had a plenty of hot coffee at the lodge and after some serious thought decided to hike down Alum cave lucky for me US cellular gets service at the lodge so I called my family and had them meet me at the bottom. Over all it was an amazing adventure and I look forward to trying it again someday.

hiking
Friday, August 05, 2016