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“Trails to Heaven”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Mount LeConte

Mount LeConte
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The Great Smoky Mountain National Park Tour by Helicopter
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: One of the most popular hiking mountains in the park.
Caro, Michigan
Level Contributor
45 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Trails to Heaven”
Reviewed 5 August 2014

We were so pleased when we arrived at Mount LeConte. As regular backpackers, we were intrigued by a good climb. Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the top and had our breath taken away by the view. We enjoyed a simple lunch with the atmosphere of oil laps in a beautiful log dining cabin. It was a perfect way to relax and catch our breath before descending back down. Not for the faint of heart, but WELL worth the effort.

Visited September 2013
2 Thank Daniel A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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203 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
125 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Difficult hike but can't beat the views”
Reviewed 2 August 2014

Two years ago, we got a late start on Alum Cave trail and only made it to Alum Cave bluffs before having to go back down. Instead of taking a different trail to the summit, I wanted to finish what we started & conquer Alum Cave trail. We made good time to the Alum Cave bluffs, but slowed down a bit once the trail got a little tougher. The trail includes navigating over rocks, large roots, narrow ledges (many have cables to hold onto), and some steep climbs. Most everyone we came across going up were staying at the lodge. Met a man who has reached the summit 30 times. Also came across a couple guys who jogged all the way up & down. Now that's impressive. If you plan on reaching the summit & back down again in a single day, be sure to give yourself plenty of time. A better part of the day if you're not sure how you'll do. Bring plenty of water & some snacks always help give you some added energy. The Civil War history behind the Alum Cave bluffs is amazing. Imagine having to haul loads of salt peter down from there on a regular basis. There are plenty of spots that open up offering some amazing views. If you make your way to the LeConte Lodges, there's a few picnic tables to stop and rest or eat. A water spigot to fill up for your trip back down. A small sack lunch is available for day hikers for $10 (contents can be found on their website). The lodges aren't actually at the true summit of LeConte, you'll have to go about another half a mile to "High Point." You'll pass the open-air shelter where you can stay overnight for free, but you'll need proper overnight gear and it is open to bears. You'll know you've reached the summit when you see a large cairn (pile of rocks) next to the trail. There is no lookout at the summit, but you can continue on to Myrtle Point for one of the lookouts. If you don't want to go on to Myrtle Point, there is an absolutely awesome lookout shortly before you reach the summit. There's also another lookout up the hill from the lodges called Cliff Tops. All I have to say about that spot is WOW! It was Wednesday so we also got to pay a visit to the llamas they use to haul all the gear up to the lodges. It was a long, tiring day that left us a bit sore the next morning, but was so worth it. Such a great experience and met some very nice people.

Visited July 2014
2 Thank tab1075
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Orangeville, Ontario
Level Contributor
42 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Beautiful Views”
Reviewed 25 July 2014

We climbed Mount LeConte in Sept. 2014. We climbed up the Rainbow Falls Trail and down the Alum Caves Trail. We stayed at the lodge overnight. I would not do the Rainbow Falls trail again as it was rocky and enclosed. The Alum Caves Trail was amazing as was our stay at the lodge. The views from the top were incredible. An amazing experience!

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Mugsy1703
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lawrenceville, Georgia
Level Contributor
42 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“sleep in the clouds”
Reviewed 22 July 2014

Hike up this mountain but make reservations...watch the sun rise from one side and set from the other...no electricity, but great food and sleeping

Visited May 2014
Thank Ed C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
92 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
“This hike is best on a clear day, but worth it either way”
Reviewed 18 July 2014

About a 12 mile round trip hike (despite trail guides putting it at 10 or 11 miles) with an elevation gain of over 2,700’. We took Alum Cave Trail which offers a variety of hiking scenery along the way. First you will hike along the Styx Branch (a stream flowing over a bed of boulders) with Rhododendron (a plant which blooms with flowers) along the way. Then you will cross a bridge made from a milled timber with a handrail on one side. Then around 1.5 miles in you will reach “Arch Rock.” This is an arched rock formation with a narrow rock staircase guiding you up through the opening in the rock. There is a cable hand rail on one side. You will cross another bridge before getting some nice mountain views. You climb a timber staircase, then cross another timber bridge about at the time when you reach “Alum Cave.” Alum Cave is not actually a cave, but a conclave bluff which reminded me of scenes from southern Utah (really neat). From there you will hike over and around several rock ledges with cable handrails. After that you will enter sections of fir forests. These are very neat. The trail can get foggy in there and kind of dark. You will experience great smells of the forest and see moss covered floor and tree trunks (it looks like a movie set). I remember looking back into one of these forest trail sections after exiting it and I could not see into the trail (really cool). Eventually you will get to the lodge area where there is a restaurant and several cabins (you need reservations far in advance to stay in these cabins), but the restaurant will serve you if open. We brought lunch and had a picnic at one of the picnic tables among the cabins. There’s a gift shop/office up there but it had very little merchandise and the employee there was not friendly. Also there was construction going on there with loud saws etc. There was also a water pump to refill your water bottles. To get to the actual summit you take another trail about another half mile. None of the trails were clearly marked up there so we ended our hike at the lodges (just under 12 miles round trip according to my GPS). One reason we did not go to the summit was because of the fog. They don’t call them the smoky mountains for nothing. We didn't have much of a view from up there although on a clear day the views can be outstanding from what I hear. Be prepared for colder temps at the top. I had on a t-shirt and shorts in July and I was chilly but did OK. It was about 50 degrees up there while about 70’s back in town. Our total hike without stopping took about 5 hours round trip (not including our lunch at the top). I would recommend this hike and I’d do it again if I could be sure it was going to be a clear day. We did this hike with kids ages 9-14 and I had a 2 1/2 year old in a backpack.

Visited July 2014
7 Thank USAExplorer_2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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