We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Smokey Mountain Trip and Mt. LeConte

Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
76 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Smokey Mountain Trip and Mt. LeConte

Hey guys and gals,

Planning a trip with the family to the smokey mountains and I'm looking for some information on some short trails with some great views.

Planning on enteing the mountains from Cherokee and Rt. 441 in the south.

It will me my wife and 13 year old son on the trip. I've read some good things about Mt. LeConte but I'm wonderig how long the hike is and is it possible to do in one day. If not can on put up a tent for the evening?

Also any nice places to stay ? I' ve been to Gatlinburg and I like the area.

Thanks

Rick

nashville
Level Contributor
997 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Smokey Mountain Trip and Mt. LeConte

what's a short hike for you guys? there aren't many short trails in the park with big views. the exception is the path up to the clingmans dome tower. it's not really hike, but like a quarter-mile paved path from the parking lot to the tower.

other than that? the hike out to andrews bald is 3.6 roundtrip and has great views... kinda steep, but not too bad. that's about as short as you can go for the big pay-off. the climb up to chimney tops has great views, and is 4 miles.

mt leconte is beautiful. you can't tent up there, but there is a hiker's shelter. there's also a lodge... you might be able to get a reservation if someone's canceled, but it's a long shot. the shortest and easiest route is 10 miles round trip, via the Alum Cave Trail. most folks take about 5-6 hours to do this hike.

Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
76 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: Smokey Mountain Trip and Mt. LeConte

Hey ashepabst,

I would consider a short hike something that can be done in 3.5-5 hours round trip, in an afternoon, something we can spend the day doing. I kow that's a bit restrictive, but since we have our 13 year old with us and it's not flat terrain I'm trying to keep managable and realistic for all of us, specially since we can't just pop a tent at the end.

The Alum cave trail, is that one of the routes to Mt. Leconte?

THanks for the rest of the info. I'll look up the names and get an idea of what they're all about.

R.

vcv
Tennessee
Level Contributor
1,680 posts
167 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Smokey Mountain Trip and Mt. LeConte

I’d tried to post earlier, with some similar comments to those of ashepabst, but my computer froze and I lost the post. The Alum Cave trail does lead to LeConte. If you decide on the Le Conte shelter, be sure to get reservations from the backcountry office of the park service since that shelter is very popular. Another hiking possibility might be to Charlie’s Bunion, which is on the AT. The trail to the Bunion begins at Newfound Gap at the NC/TN border on US 441, which you plan to take through the park. On a clear day you have a spectacular view from the Bunion. I believe that the trail to the Bunion is about 8 miles round trip. Chimney Tops is much shorter, but there’s a real scramble up the rocks at the top; and on a hot day, the rocks can be blazing hot by late morning, so if you want to climb to the top, take gloves. One of my favorite walks in the park is along the river out of Elkmont campground. There are no overlooks with panoramic views, but the trail is an old roadbed that follows the river for several miles; it’s a different kind of scenery but very lovely.

nashville
Level Contributor
997 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Smokey Mountain Trip and Mt. LeConte

i usually average about 2 mph -- 1-2 heading uphill, 2-3 downhill. I'm pretty fit, but hike pretty slow... taking in the views and snapping pictures.

yeah, Alum Cave Trail is one of the trails leading to the top of Leconte. even if you don't try to hike all the way to the top, it's still a fun trail. you can cut the trip in half and still catch some good views.

Boston...
Level Contributor
5,524 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Smokey Mountain Trip and Mt. LeConte

I don't think Charlie's Bunion or Alum Cave are quite in range, but you could definitely take in Andrew's Bald, Chimney Tops, part of the AT towards Icewater,

Knoxville, Tennessee
Destination Expert
for Pigeon Forge
Level Contributor
1,084 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Smokey Mountain Trip and Mt. LeConte

If you like the sound of LeConte Lodge I'd recommend going. The visit to the lodge is really neat and it makes for a great place to relax and get some rest for the trip back down. The wife and I have done it on day trips on 3 occasions but each time we've taken Alum Cave trail. We come other ways when we had reservations for an overnight stay but on a day trip Alum cave is a good choice. There's several viewing points and of couse the 'cave' itself. It is a steep trail but well worth it.

I would seriously consider calling the reservations number tor the lodge frequently and asking about cancellations just in case a night comes available during your visit or at least consider reserving a lunch during your day trip to make the day more relaxing and your visit more special.

I suspect you'll want to come back and stay a night after your visit to the tiny oasis in the mountains.

Have a great trip,

Chris

7. Re: Smokey Mountain Trip and Mt. LeConte

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 12 October 2010, 08:25
Get answers to your questions about Great Smoky Mountains...