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Mount LeConte via Appalachian Trail and Boulevard Trail

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mount LeConte via Appalachian Trail and Boulevard Trail is a 18 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.

Length 18.0 mi Elevation gain 3,982 ft Route type Out & Back
Backpacking Camping Hiking Nature trips Bird watching Running Forest River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Blowdown Rocky No dogs
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Getting There

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.

Your parking at the Newfound Cap Parking Lot a nice big parking space which is very safe with all the traffic even in winter months ( just don't leave any food in your car or the bears will try to break in ) I have left my car there over night many times and it has always been safe.

From the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, drive 13 miles south on Newfound Gap Road to reach the Newfound Gap parking lot. Your hike starts from the Appalachian Trail (heading eastward) before reaching the Boulevard Trail. From Cherokee, drive 20.2 miles north to reach the Newfound Gap parking lot.

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Reviews (181)
Photos (2512)
Recordings (109)
Completed (768)
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Zach Mcallister
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Hiking

Great trail, start early and beat the crowd!

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T Thompson
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Great hike! Started on Applichain Trail at 7:45am. Branched off on Blvd Trail. Took the JumpOff spur and continued down Boulevard Trail. Hit Mt. LeConte at 12:00. Ate lunch on Cliff Top, beautiful view! Headed back, took the spur to Myrtle Point. I have very bad knees so the trip home was rough. Got back to the trailhead at 5:30.

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Jennifer Marshall
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Hiking

Amazing 13.5 mile hike. Started at 7:45am and finished at 3:30pm. Didn’t see many other hikers until we made it to the Lodge at Mount Le Conte where we stopped for bathroom & lunch. Tons of hikers on the Alum Cave Trail.

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Halley Hampton
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Galen Godbey
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HikingGreat!

9/26/20 - stopped off at the jump offs for an early snack and a lovely morning inversion. Easy cruising pace 4 hours to Myrtle point (which felt like a crowded restaurant) and 3 or so hours back. The Boulevard itself offers peace and quiet every time I visit.

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Efrain Guerrero
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Stephanie Portell
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Rachel Black
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Carla Miller
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Hiking

Loved the trail had a few nice spots overlooking the mountains. Was foggy at the start and rained about halfway to Shelter at Leconte. But still any day outside in GSM is a great day, we came back out Trillium Gap this morning, much nicer weather today , bonus Lama's were bringing supplies up.

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Sarah Korellis
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Hiking

Great hike! The AT was crowded but didn’t see anyone on boulevard until I got to mt LeConte. Boulevard is slippery and must be taken with care including some wire ropes to hold onto.

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Joe Tomczak
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Hiking

The Boulevard trail is awesome with some great views and enjoyable coniferous forest scenery. The last couple miles up to Mt. LeConte are a challenge but the rest wasn't bad and had enough variation to catch a rest. The Jump Off trail spur is a must for more great views. And of course the views at Cliff Top are spectacular.

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Tonya Poston
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Hiking

Good trail, pretty rocky with lots of wooded areas.

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Thom Trowbridge
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Hiking

Great hike.

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Ryan Knapp
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HikingRocky

I really enjoyed this route. The weather made it hard to get some good views, but when it was clear the views were gorgeous.

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Tim Foldy
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Justin Perry
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amazing overlook views at the jump off. hiked from newfound gap parking lot 2.7 miles on the AT then left turn to boulevard trail for about a tenth of a mile. took the marked trail to the jump off. if you didn't know better you might stop because the trail gets obscure but for only a out fifty feet. muddy at the top but the view is the best one I've seen in this park.

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Adam Zawacki
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Michael Waldrop
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Paul Hewes
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Oliver Day
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HikingGreat!

Highly recommend! Secluded with surreal nature across this narrow trail. The trail is well marked and you won't have any issues finding your way from the start to Mount Le Conte. The views were anti-climactic due to the dense fog that day but the trail itself was incredible. A fair warning that this one is not for the faint of heart. It's going to hurt a bit for even for the strongest of hikers. Here are a few tips and notes: 1) Bring adequate supplies but don't overpack! The total distance for us was 16.6 miles round-trip. I would consider myself a fast hiker and I was staying between 20 mins and 22 mins per mile gong up and down -- 6 hours and 16 minutes total which includes a 20+ minute break at the lodge / overlook. 2) Wear adequate trail shoes for steep / slick rocks. You can get through this with runners as well, it's just not ideal and may risk injury from slipping. 3) I have an AT&T cell phone and surprisingly had reception from time to time and sent a few text messages on the hike. Don't expect to make any calls. 4) The roller coaster elevation is actually ideal for your ascending muscles in my opinion. Instead of climbing straight up for 3600 ft, you ascend and descend a couple times before reaching Mount Le Conte. You will really feel it on the second ascent on the way back. 5) We left the trailhead at 7 am and were back in our car before 2:00 pm. The scenery is more beautiful (IMO) without others to ruin the secluded nature vibes. 6) DEER! We saw many does and fawns on the path.

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Mack Meller
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Hiking

Long but really cool and worthwhile hike. Almost everything was blanketed in fog when I went which unfortunately spoiled most of the views but made for a really cool optical effect when walking through the forest. Only saw a few other people on the whole 10 miles going back and forth to LeConte from the junction to the AT and the solitude was quite nice and hard to come by in the Smokies.

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Julya Johnson
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HikingBlowdownRocky

This is a beautiful trail! It was difficult for us though as it was the longest hike we had attempted in one day (we went up and back same day). We made it though and felt very accomplished! On the day we went 6/3/20, there were 5-6 large blow downs that we had to navigate over along the way. The views on both sides of the trail are breathtaking! We have done all the trails that lead to LeConte, and in our opinion, this one has the best views. We also felt this one was the hardest way up (for us). There is a stretch going back that is a full mile of steady uphill climb, after you’ve already hiked 13+ miles (that’s if you go up and back same day). Great challenge!

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Terry Mullins
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Galen Godbey
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Hiking

3/1/20 - as lovely and as quiet as the first time. Lots of hip-deep snow drifts along the northern faces, but still a great day spent in the Smokies. The final climb on the return felt as never ending as the last time.

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Beata Jeziorska
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Hiking

Incredible hike. The changing views, terrain, weather all made for a must-do hike.

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Mark Ostrowski
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Hiking

Great trail with amazing views of both the Tennessee and North Carolina sides of the Smokies. The extra distance is well worth the panoramic views and more gradual incline to the summit of Mt. LeConte versus some of the other trails. Lots of ice in the winter though so be careful.

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Shane Wilson
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HikingIcy
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Taylor Reed
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Hiking

My boyfriend and I went up to Mt Leconte via Alum Cave trail and took boulevard/ AT trail “down” to the Newfound Gap parking area. This trail had Myrtle Point along the way and is definitely worth the .2 mile hike out. It had the best views of our trip with 360 degree mountain view. After that point coming down off Mt Leconte was fairly strenuous. It was mostly uphill even thought we were dropping in elevation. This was much more difficult than the Alum Cave trail with less views. It was awesome to take part of the AT though. We wanted to go out to Charles Bunion but time was limited. It took us from 12:00 till 3:30 to get to the parking lot from the peak with probably 70% uphill going this way.

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