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hiking to LeConte Lodge-do I need a guide?

Saint Louis...
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hiking to LeConte Lodge-do I need a guide?

A group of us suburban-type women want to hike to the top for our let's-just-say "special" birthday. We're in fairly decent shape but there aren't any mountains around here and we are lacking any experience.

Should we hire a guide to join us, or is this something that we could figure out on our own?

Arkansas Ozarks
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1. Re: hiking to LeConte Lodge-do I need a guide?

You don't need a guide to hike to LeConte Lodge. Pick which trail you want to use to hike to the top and go for it!

Louisville
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2. Re: hiking to LeConte Lodge-do I need a guide?

You definitely won't need a guide, but depending on when you're planning to do your hike, and if you choose to hike the Alum Cave Trail, you will want to be carefull with the ice that forms on the trail in many places this time of year. Some of those areas have sharp drop-offs.

Bartlett, Tennessee
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3. Re: hiking to LeConte Lodge-do I need a guide?

If you do hire a guide I would go with "A Walk in the Woods" they are the same ones that took Samantha Brown from The Travel Channel on some guided hikes in The Smokies this past April.

http://www.awalkinthewoods.com/

Tullahoma, Tennessee
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4. Re: hiking to LeConte Lodge-do I need a guide?

No guide needed---you will have company on the trail if you have any questions.

Do remember that days are short now and you want to arrive at the Lodge well before dark. It will be "woods dark" on the trail before the sun goes down. This means you should get an early start on the day of your hike.

Chattanooga...
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5. Re: hiking to LeConte Lodge-do I need a guide?

Just to clarify a little, what time of year? And are you staying at the lodge (reservations needed and not open during the winter) or coming back down that same day? It makes a big difference, 5+ miles in a day or 10+.

But finding your way should be no problem. Just get yourselves in shape and plan so that you have plenty of time, and the number of that "special" birthday will be just that - only a number.

Cullowhee, North...
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6. Re: hiking to LeConte Lodge-do I need a guide?

No, you don't need a guide. Do you wish to have a guide? Are you day hiking or backpacking/overnighting either at the Lodge or the backcountry shelter? If you are day hiking the most popular and perhaps scenic route is the Alum Cave Route as it is the shortest to the summit. If you are over nighting it up there my favorite route is up or down Alum Cave then up/down the Boulevard to the AT and in/out at Newfound Gap. I have been to the summit nearly 24 times now and have seen several ladies groups at LeConte including some hiking Nuns a few years ago. All made it to the top without a guide.

Saint Louis...
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7. Re: hiking to LeConte Lodge-do I need a guide?

Thanks for all the advice! We will probably make it the spring or summer. I know the lodge books up but we are very flexible so we'll get our reservations soon.

Cullowhee, North...
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8. Re: hiking to LeConte Lodge-do I need a guide?

I am not certian if you do not have your reservations and dates for the spring/summer in by now if you will get in to the lodge. I have never stayed there, but they are offering lunches and I think dinner to backpackers now. I have stayed in the backcountry shelter many times though and it is free! Someday I wll be one of the beautiful people who stay at the lodge (lol)...

Atlanta, GA
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9. Re: hiking to LeConte Lodge-do I need a guide?

Unless you like the hot weather, I would go for the spring..much cooler and the views are better, not being all hazy. And that trail is very easy to follow so no guide needed. It gains 2500' I think, so a pretty solid hike...but if you start out early, you can take your time. It's all downhill on the way down of course.

10. Re: hiking to LeConte Lodge-do I need a guide?

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