Mount LeConte via Appalachian Trail and Boulevard Trail

HARD 111 reviews

Mount LeConte via Appalachian Trail and Boulevard Trail is a 15.6 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: 15.6 miles Elevation Gain: 3,671 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

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
18 days ago

Realy enjoyed this hike for a full day's adventure. On the return to Newfound Gap, that last incline is tough after the legs have already hiked +13 miles. We added on the Myrtle Point outlook at the top near the peak, Cliff Tops, and sat down with lunch in the Mount LeConte Lodge, leading to a total of just under 17 miles. Overall the path is nicely marked, wide, and clear. The AT portion of the trail solid green and brown in the forest, but as the Boulevard Trail climbs up Mount LeConte, the views start to expose themselves majestically! Really enjoyed this hike, but my legs were glad for it to be over after nearly 17 miles! Bring cash if you'd like to have hot chocolate, hot tea, or cool lemonade in the lodge! $4 unlimited per cup

hiking
19 days ago

My #1 favorite trail in the park. Best way to go to Leconte!

This was a fun hike. The difficulty came in the last 2 miles of the Boulevard Trail at the top of mount LaConte. Very steep, dangerous drop offs and steep cliffs. Gorgeous trail but I will read it between moderate and hard.

hiking
2 months ago

This was a challenging hike. We parked at Alum Cave trailhead and shuttled over to Newfound Gap and started the trail there. Really enjoyed the AT portion and the Boulevard Trail. It was very challenging the last mile up to the top. Mild temp on a hot summer day. Came down Alum Cave and that trail never disappoints. It’s always a favorite due to all the different landscape changes. It took us 7 hours to complete the loop.

hiking
2 months ago

Holy crap this is a hard trail. Not really a whole lot to see you until you get to the top but if you want to challenge this is the trail you should take!

hiking
3 months ago

I think this route is much easier and definitely less crowded than Alum Cave. Not a lot of views due to leaf cover. But a beautiful trail.

hiking
3 months ago

Really good hike , we had 10 people in our group and didn’t see a lot of people all day .about a 19 mile day ,works up an appetite .

hiking
blowdown
3 months ago

Awesome trail! Very good views on Boulevard then even more coming down Alum Cave Bluff. Would do it again. If you have bad knees beware!

hiking
3 months ago

This is a nice, fairly well-maintained trail that is generally used only by seasoned hikers. Views are spectacular, and there are wildflowers and shady evergreen forests all along the way. There are some places with steep drop offs that require special care, and there are sections of steep grade and “ankle turners” that also present a challenge. But the trail is well worth the effort in terms of natural beauty and quiet solitude.

hiking
4 months ago

Started at 8 am and did this trail out and back. Definitely an uphill battle both ways- no relief when going down as you must climb back up to the top of Mount Ambler and Mount Kephart on the way back. Views from Myrtle Point were a must see as well. Overall took about 9 hours with some scenic stops along the way. The hard ranking stands true for this one.

4 months ago

I hiked from the top at Mount Le Conte at 7am. Stopped by Myrtle Point, and then headed down the Boulevard Trail to the AT to Newfound Gap lot. After Myrtle Point, it said it was 7.3 miles down. Make that Up and Down. With my over packed 50lb backpack, my body feels like chip chopped ham. Extreme workout x4. Needless to say, the hike "down" was absolutely gorgeous, and death defying. One slip, and nice knowing you. No joke. "Danger is my middle name."

hiking
6 months ago

What a great trail. So far my favorite way up to Leconte. Long hike but so worth it took about 8.5 hours

hiking
7 months ago

Breath taking!!! Tougher than a alligators back

7 months ago

long hike from newfound gap to alum cave trailhead. worth every step.

9 months ago

My favorite Hike Gorgeous!

backpacking
10 months ago

Hiked this as part of a two day trip this weekend. We hiked up to Icewater Spring shelter to overnight, then went on to Mt LeConte (and down the Alum Cave Trail) the next day. I think this is a total ascent of 1500 feet, rather than what’s listed: check other sources. Some great views along the way on a fairly strenuous hike. There is a nice spring available for water near the shelter, btw. Trail was in good condition. Few people on the trail, at least at this time of year.

10 months ago

Great hike. Nov 03, 2018. Dark and cold start but beat the crowd. Very foggy, pretty cold ( about 22 degrees) Snow at higher elevations, really pretty. Great hike because it’s up and down. Kinda easygoing and pleasant because it isn’t straight up. Fog cleared lots of great views. My new favorite. It was a Saturday traffic coming out was bad. Peach season Saturday.

10 months ago

I thought the Alum Cave trail would still be my favorite route up when I planned the Boulevard ascent - I was wrong. I love every minute of this mostly solitary walk in the woods (very little traffic after peeling off at the 2.7 mile mark). From Newfound Gap parking to Myrtle point in 2:45. Spent a considerable amount of time there with the place to myself. Then from Myrtle Point to the Jump Offs (added on my return) and back to the parking lot in 2:40. I was beat by day’s end, but loved every step of my GPS’d 19+ mile day.

backpacking
11 months ago

Went on an overnighter to Mt LeConte. We loved the solitude. My favorite area was the backbone right before Mt LeConte where it’s narrow and you can see East and West. Was hoping we would see a bear since it isn’t highly traveled, but no. The Alum Cave trail is probably prettier, but so darn busy. Recommend the trip and spending the night at the LeConte Lodge.

backpacking
Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Very enjoyable trail, even though it was pouring on us nearly the whole time. We took the time to go see the Jump Off and I’m sure it would have been beautiful had it not been so misty that morning! There were some difficult sections on the boulevard trail section with steep uphills but the views paid off. Would definitely recommend if you’re looking for a more secluded approach to LeConte. We did it in three days (1st day: Road Prong Trail+Appalachian Trail with sleep at Icewater Springs Shelter, 2nd day: Charlie’s Bunion back to Boulevard Trail and sleep at LeConte Shelter, 3rd day: coming down LeConte via Alum Cave). Overall an easy paced trail, with us getting done with hiking in early afternoon. Would recommend taking time to see the different viewing points like Myrtle Point and Charlie’s Bunion if you have the time.

hiking
Saturday, July 28, 2018

I think this is the toughest trail I’ve hiked in the Smoky Mountains. From the parking lot to the lodge and back was a little over 19 miles. There are a lot of up and downs, both ways. Several nice places to stop and take in the scenery. If I had to describe this trail in one word: rocks. Rocks. And more rocks. And when you think you’ve seen every rock. There’s more. Big. Little. Ankle breakers. Gravel. I would still consider this my second favorite trail to LeConte, but the rocky path made it tough on the tootsies. Not a lot of traffic once you get past the turn off for Charlie’s Bunion.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Did this trail on 07/12/2018. Started at Alumn Cave bluffs trailhead and ended at Newfound Gap. What can I say. It is a total Smokey Mountain experience. Creeks, views, wildlife, flowers. This route is 13 miles. We did it in 5.5 hours. Should have taken it slower to enjoy more but we also used this route for a workout. I have done this. Route several times at different times of year. Never disappoints

hiking
Saturday, July 21, 2018

There are many ways to reach the top of mount Leconte. This on is longer then Alum, but it is milder, and I think the view was nice too. You also have some small extra options along the way. It took me 4.5 hours going up backpacking, including Charlies bunion, so I'd say it never got very steep, and the trail is well maintained

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Challenging hike and well worth the work to get to Mount LeConte. My favorite parts were walking the spines of several ridges, and the short hike up to Myrtle Point.

hiking
Monday, June 11, 2018

Finally! I have wanted to do this for a long time and got it knocked out today.It is part of a goal to ascend or descend Leconte by the major trails I did it with a friend as part of a through trip down Alum. There are some great views along the way.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Enjoyed a full day hiking in the mountains. Breathe taking views from the top.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Boulevard is a good alternate route to Leconte versus the more popular Alum Cave or Rainbow Falls routes. Although an out and back on this trail is longer, the trail has a steady mix of ups and downs - but not too much of either at once. The side trails to “the jumpoff” and Myrtle Point are worth the stop if you want to do some extra and have the time. Trail is in good shape with the most rocky portions at the beginning and the end on the climb from Newfound gap to Ice water springs area. That is also the most crowded section as it overlaps the route along the AT to Charlie’s Bunion. Would be a good running route if that’s your thing.

backpacking
Sunday, November 05, 2017

The path itself I did not find particularly challenging, no real rock scrambling which was great, just a few steps here and there. What was challenging in my opinion was the inclines, even on the way back there were 3 decently long inclines you had to get through. For a day trip this took about 9 hours there and back and it was more like 18 miles. Unfortunately it was completely fogged over when I stopped at cliff top and I couldn’t see anything, if I ever get back over here I think I will do it again to see the view.

hiking
Saturday, September 23, 2017

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.

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