Alum Cave Bluffs

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
14 Reviews
5 out of 5
It doesn’t get much better than this! Every able person who visits the Smokies is encouraged to make this hike at least once, even if you can’t stand a crowd. If continuing the 2.7 miles from the bluffs to Mount LeConte, this hike would rank high among the best in the park. Even if you stop at the bluffs and backtrack as outlined in this hike, it’s still hard to beat. Of course, there always seems to be a downside. Any day between spring and fall and on weekends during the winter, you can expect to encounter a few billion people on this hike.
Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park

by Kevin Adams (Falcon Guides)

It doesn’t get much better than this! Every able person who visits the Smokies is encouraged to make this hike at least once, even if you can’t stand a crowd. If continuing the 2.7 miles from the bluffs to Mount LeConte, this hike would rank high among the best in the park.

Even if you stop at the bluffs and backtrack as outlined in this hike, it’s still hard to beat. Of course, there always seems to be a downside. Any day between spring and fall and on weekends during the winter, you can expect to encounter a few billion people on this hike.

© 2013 Kevin Adams/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Gatlinburg
Distance: 4.6
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 3 hours
Local Maps: Mount LeConte USGS quad; Trails Illustrated #229 Great Smoky Mountains; Trails Illustrated #317 Clingmans Dome Cataloochee; Trails Illustrated #316 Cades Cove Elkmont
Topo Map: Alum Cave Bluffs Topographic Map
Guide Book: Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park Guide Book
Driving Directions: View Directions
Trail Directions: View Guide

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Recent Trail Reviews

7/15/2013

This is a great trail that runs along the stream. Great sights

9/20/2012

We started our hike at about 9:45 a.m. on a Thursday. The parking was already pretty packed. We saw quite a few people on the trail, but we still wouldn't consider it crowded. There were groups that were together and there were long breaks in between where we didn't see anybody. I have to say, though, everyone we met was very friendly. We only went up to Alum Cave Bluffs; we did not continue on to Le Conte. Keep in mind when reading this review, my wife and I are in our mid 40s and not in the best shape of our lives. We've been hiking for years, but our hiking has dwindled down to just a couple of times a year. We're hoping to improve that again, though. So, we disagreed with this being rated a "moderate" trail. We've been on other moderate trails before that weren't this strenuous. I think the thing that got to us the most was the ascent. The trail in a lot of places is rocky and there are quite a few stairs/steps in addition to the uphill grades. The rocks were wet and some of them were slippery, but there were guide wires to hang onto. I agree a lot with what the previous reviewer said. There are four log crossings (that's what they call them) which are logs across the streams with cables on one side to steady yourself. There were some older people (late 60s to early 70s) on the trail and some were doing great while others were struggling. There was even a couple on the trail that were carrying their small children! (Kudos to them!) Even with the difficulty and how tired we were doing this hike, the rewards were very well worth it. There were awesome views and we took some great photos (if I do say so myself). The only wildlife we came across was some birds, a squirrel, and a baby snake. I say this because my wife was somewhat worried about bears. It was a great hike. We would definitely do it again but maybe get ourselves a little more in shape and prepared before we do. I'll be posting some pics soon.

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