Mount LeConte and Rainbow Falls via The Bullhead Trail

HARD 67 reviews

Mount LeConte and Rainbow Falls via The Bullhead Trail is a 13.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November.

DISTANCE
13.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3966 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

old growth

no dogs

The Bullhead Trail is an American hiking trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. the trail ascends Mount Le Conter and offers outstanding views. The Bullhead Trail is the least traveled route to the summit of Mount Le Conte. The beginning of the Bullhead Trail is, for all intents and purposes, actually the trailhead to the Rainbow Falls Trail. Both trails are designated the same parking area, and because of their proximity (the two paths are separated only by a 0.3-mile (0.48 km) spur trail) many hikers choose to ascend one trail (usually the Rainbow Falls Trail) and descend the other. Given this, however, the trail is still the least popular route along Mount Le Conte, probably because of its isolation (in the woods, near to but away from its crowded neighbor trail) and that it contains no spectacular landmarks along its path. But it is this isolation that makes the trail so desirable to those who favor solitude when hiking.

hiking
8 hours ago

hiking
1 month ago

The best hike I've ever done. Even during a touristy time of the year, the trail was extremely quiet. I didn't see many people at all during my hike after the falls. The falls make for a nice resting point. At the top of the mountain, there is a lodge along the Appalachian Trail. What a cool place to stay if you're doing the AT. There is also a mess hall with some food. The treat to me was the path up to an overlook. I was the only person at the overlook for about an hour and a half. So peaceful and spiritual looking out over the Blue Ridge Mountains. The best part is that the only way to this peak is to hike it (unlike Clingman's Dome or Mt. Mitchell which are both accessible by car). The only downside to the trail is that there weren't many lookouts on the way up, but I hike fast for the workout so that didn't really bother me. Getting to the top and enjoying that view was the goal and holy cow was it amazing. I will go back to Mount LeConte many times. There are a few other ways up. I think I'll try the Alum Caves trail next. The only reason I'd label this trail as "hard" is because of the distance. The terrain is moderate.

hiking
1 month ago

Hard! But, beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

At LeConte Lodge today. This trail is currently closed for renovation and repair between Mt. LeConte and Rainbow Falls! Check with Park Service before heading out.

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Hiking in the snow is never as much fun, the trail was trafficked enough that the snow was packed and slippery bu not trafficked enough that it was easily passable. The falls were a little disappointing but the climb after was exponentially better. Much less traffic, awesome views, and not terribly strenuous. I would suggest this trail later in the season though, it was very windy and cold on the exposed side of the mountain.

hiking
4 months ago

This is actually the Rainbow Falls and Bullhead loop trail. I have done this a few times. There are little to no views along Rainbow. The falls are a joke. I have visited them in snow, sun and rain and it has never been Impressive. There are several really nice views coming down Bullhead and I definitely recommend going up Rainbow and down Bullhead.

hiking
5 months ago

I've hiked all but one Trail up to LeConte, and this is by far my favorite!!! The views are outstanding!!!

hiking
5 months ago

Loved this trail. Great day hike. The plants and trees around the mountain are incredible.

hiking
6 months ago

Bull Head trail is closed due to fire damage. The ranger said it will be closed for the foreseeable future. Check before you go!

7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Nice hike would recommend crampons it will help with the ice.

9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago