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Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap Loop Trail

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap Loop Trail is a 14.9 mile moderately trafficked loop 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. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 14.9 miles Elevation Gain: 4,022 feet Route Type: Loop

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

over grown

rocky

no dogs

Share the trail with Llamas and walk behind a refreshing waterfall Your hike will begin along a easy wide and popular path to Grotto Falls. When you reach the falls you will follow the trail behind the falls. From this point you will start a steady climb to Trillium Gap maybe sharing the trail with the Llamas carrying supplies to Mt LeConte.At 2.8 mi you reach the junction of Brushy Mtn Trail which is a good resting point before the final 3.6 mi.There are several creek crossings which are tricky along with the rocks and roots.You trail will reach the backside of the cabins of Mt LeConte, turn left at the sign that reads "AT Shelter".The grassy path will go beside some more cabins before reaching the junction of the Boulevard and Rainbow Falls Trails.The piped spring you pass is for overnighters that can treat the water, if you need a re-fill the is a pump well near the lodge.For a lunch break you can sit on the porch of the lodge or take a side trail to the Cliff Tops and enjoy views from 6550'!Return using Trillium Gap Trail.

hiking
8 days ago

Great trail! Definitely got the hike we were looking for. Glad we invested in some hiking poles. Helped save our legs during the steep climb. Beautiful streams and falls along the way.

rocky
14 days ago

hiking
blowdown
muddy
rocky
4 months ago

Great hike. My Avenza GPS read 15.35 miles. Trillium was in fantastic shape, even after a night of high winds. I was surprised to see how verdant and green the landscape was even in late December. There were plentiful ferns and moss. Grotto Falls was amazing with powerful water force after a day of rain. Because of the near record highs during the previous days, we saw no ice until near the lodge. Because the upper trails were like a stream due to the previous day of rain, it was cold enough to create a deceptive black ice coating on many of the logs used to frame the trail. Don’t step on those! Rainbow on the descent has a few huge blow downs, so scrambling is required. We saw few people on Trillium and upper Rainbow trails, but lower Rainbow was filled with ambling holiday tourists. Cherokee Orchard was a parking jungle with cars everywhere nearly blocking the road when we left around 3:30, easily the most treacherous part of this holiday week hike!

Great trail.

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

One of the more difficulty hikes I have done in the GSM! The first part of the trail to Grotto Falls is looking amazing, the trails for ever crew is doing great things. It took 7.5 hours to complete. It inclined most of the way! Over grown in a few spots. Watch out for all the roots and lose rocks! Not on my list to repeat, prefer ALUM Cave to Leconte! still 3 more trails to try going up!

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

Very rocky, and lots of roots, definitely ankle busting. But to see the beauty it’s well worth it. 3 to 4 water falls on the way to the mountain peak and summit.

running
8 months ago

Clear trail and perfect for running! Highly recommend!

hiking
rocky
9 months ago

Trail was not very well defined mostly dense tree roots and large loose rocks that you are constantly walk on perfect ankle busting trail.

hiking
10 months ago

This is one of the more difficult sub 20 mile hikes in the park. Starting on Trillium from Rainbow Falls trailhead, it’s an uneventful 4000’ up over 9 miles at a consistent & moderate grade to arrive at LeConte’s beautiful summit. The remaining 6 miles down the Rainbow Falls trail passes through burnt sections of forest as well as several waterfalls and creeks. The trail will be muddy if it has rained recently. What makes this trail more difficult is the rocks and roots that are all over the trail.

hiking
10 months ago

Wow! Could not have been more happy with this place. Despite the oppressive mid-summer heat when in the sun, this trail is very densely covered and I was perfectly cool and comfortable nearly the whole time. It's diverting with the occasional log bridges, stone cut steps, tiny waterfalls, and caves. It was an incredible treat to hear a flock of screeching peregrine falcons halfway up!

Great trail! But it’s more like 18 miles if you go up to Myrtle Point which is the summit. Well worth it, but be prepared for a full day, strenuous hike!

muddy
rocky
Mon Apr 29 2019

I don't recommend this trail for anyone not in shape or not willing to be hiking a pretty strenuous trail all day. you want at least 15 hours to truly enjoy and appreciate it. We were definitely not as prepared as I would have liked us to be. and definitely suggest bringing a flashlight. otherwise absolutely beautiful!

hiking
Mon Apr 22 2019

This is my favorite loop for Mt. LeConte! It is so beautiful and challenging...which means very rewarding! The whole loop is close to 17 miles and you of course have to go to Myrtles Point past Leconte Lodge. Don’t try this trail of you don’t hike or aren’t in shape. Long hikes require more planning for food, water, and daylight times and are not meant for people that don’t have at least some experience in the woods.

Sun Mar 24 2019

did this trail today...never again will I take up such a distance. I started the trail by heading to rainbow falls. I got there fairly early and decided to goto the top! reached Leconte in about 2 hours. The trail up was tough and ice and snow present most of the way. the view u top was rewarding, after getting some water refills I decided to head down via the trilium gap route. from there I'd go down the grotto then back to the trailhead at rainbow falls parking lot. started a little after 11am got back down just after 8pm. total miles was 16.6 it was brutal on my body especially for someone who doesn't hike. It was a first and last for me.

hiking
muddy
rocky
Fri Mar 22 2019

Very strenuous, but fun hike. We parked at the Rainbow Falls Trailhead and went up Trillium from there. Started at 10am and got to the top of Mount Lecont at around 5pm. We stopped a lot along the way to take pictures and enjoy the views and many streams and waterfalls along the way. There were also many parts of the path covered in ice that took a bit of time to get across safely. We stopped for lunch at the top and got moving down the mountain at 5:50pm. We didn't stop at all on the way down because we were running out of daylight. Got back to the car at 9pm, wound up walking in the dark with a flashlight for about an hour, but it wasn't too terrible. Going down the rainbow falls trail was beautiful, very fun to go over the fun bridges and rocks crossing some of the waterfalls and streams. Wildlife wise we saw a couple groups of turkeys and some squirrels. We are in our 20s and in pretty good shape, but this trail was pretty rough on our knees and ankles. Quite sore the next day that is for sure! The last hour or so before the peak is pretty tough. It is steep and very rocky. Fun hike, just need to be prepared for it potentially taking a long time and be mindful of what your body can handle.

hiking
Sat Jan 05 2019

hiked this trail 6-22-18. took me 13hrs. watched the Lama's go by.

hiking
Wed Sep 12 2018

Wow what a workout! We parked at the Rainbow Falls trailhead even though that trail is currently closed. Took the Trillium Gap trail all the way to Grotto Falls, which on a Tuesday, was the only crowded part of the trail. We continued on to the top of Mount LeConte...it was rocky and tricky in some spots going up. You will come to a split in the trail with signs that says trillium gap to Mt LeConte is 3.6 miles. Feels a LOT longer than that!!Make sure your conserve your energy for that part. Definitely wear good hiking boots for your ankles. My husband and I are in good shape, we run and lift 6 days a week and this kicked our butts...a different kind of physical activity. Please pack lots of water and food but keep moving when you eat to avoid hikers vertigo (when we stopped abruptly we got the dizzies). Took us 5 hours up and almost 4 hours to get down. The Lodge at Mt LeConte was ok...I understand they are limited but the staff kind of acted like we were bothering them ie. did not acknowledge us even though we are super low maintenance. We stopped for a sack lunch and just to sit for a bit and refuel. If you make it up there go a quarter mile hike up to the scenic overlook. Even on a cloudy day it makes the trek worth it. We did the whole thing in one day...ended up being a 21.8 mile hike round trip. If you do this in one day just make sure you allow for enough daylight. We kinda cut it close and I’m sure you’d be fine using a flashlight (bring one!) for the last part of your journey, but with it getting dark we didn’t want to take our chances turning an ankle. Saw a couple black bear along the way...they did their thing and we did ours! The round trip in one day was strenuous for us, I would suggest starting a little closer at Grotto Falls trail or at least drink lots and lots of water and fuel up properly! Would do it again.

Fri Sep 07 2018

Loved it... gradual climb is constant... took 5 hours up... spent the night at lodge... 5 hrs up and 3 down... big fun

Wed Jun 13 2018

Fantastic hike! Even with thunder, lightning and hail!!

Wed May 16 2018

Great picture

Thu Oct 19 2017

you will experience one of the best site's in the smilies, extremely beautiful hike, either side, you have to climb the Mountain to see the view.

hiking
Sat Aug 26 2017

Very limited views but the trillum is beautiful when blooming and it's fun to meet the lamas too!

hiking
Tue Jul 18 2017

Hiked this trail for the first time with my husband today. Loved it! The first mile or so, until you get past Grotto Falls is a bit busy, but once you pass behind almost all the traffic is gone. The trail is shared with llamas that carry goods to the lodge, so you so have to avoid droppings once in awhile, as well as mud holes. Very quiet and peaceful trail. It is a bit deceiving, as 90% of it is a gradual climb. The last 45 minutes is the toughest, especially if you didn't pace yourself during the first portion. We did see some youngsters on the trail, maybe five or six years old and they seemed to handle it well. Was more about 16 miles total round trip. The parking area is small considering how popular Grotto Falls is, but there are more areas beyond to park. Will definitely hit his trail again!

hiking
Mon Jul 17 2017

We went up Rainbow Falls on Sunday and down Trillium Gap on Monday - stayed overnight at the top - Rainbow was closed Monday and wanted to see the llamas coming up. While there are not many views except at the top [esp if you go to Cliff Tops], there are lots of waterfalls on this loop, and you'll see deer and different kinds of birds, and the llamas are cool. Count on encountering crowds along the Grotto Falls portion, unless you are there very early or late. Rainbow Falls not so crowded, and the section between Rainbow and Grotto Falls trailheads is a nice respite from the crowds entirely. A tough workout if you do it all in one day.

Mon Jun 19 2017

No squirrels present

hiking
Mon May 15 2017

This is a fantastic hike. Great views, awesome waterfalls. Is a butt kicker but worth it!

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