"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." Read more
"Some hikes are busy for a reason. This one has several, including highlights ranging from spectacular views to old-growth forests to a natural arch—rare for the Smokies—and finally to an overhanging bluff with views of its own. A well-timed hike will let you enjoy these highlights on a less-crowded day.
Winter offers the most solitude on this busy trek. Otherwise, try to hike early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the crowds. This trail was rehabilitated in 2016." Read more
"This 5.9-mile (11.8 miles out and back) trail in the heart of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is deceptively challenging, but provides a variety in trail experiences as you make your way from the river at the bottom, past caves and massive overhangs, and along steep inclines, to reach the LeConte Lodge at the top. The Alum Cave Trail is not for the faint of heart, especially if you have determined to take it on in less than ideal conditions, such as during any type of rainy or cold weather. The way can become muddy and/or slippery, and it gets cold at the higher elevations. When snow is melting, giant, sharp icicles from the cave ceiling can fall and impale a person, and the hike is almost as challenging going down as it is going up, because of steep inclines." Read more
"Mount LeConte is the park’s most spectacular peak, and the cozy accommodations of LeConte Lodge, not to mention bountiful (but simple) meals, make an overnight on this mountain one of eastern America’s real adventures.
It’s not easy, but because there’s food and a warm bed waiting on top, this memorable hike is often tackled by well-equipped, motivated novices in good shape. It’d be a lot more difficult if you were backpacking!" Read more