Alum Cave Trail

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee 37882

Distance4.9mi
Elevation Gain3,418ft
Trailhead Elevation3,851ft
Top6,382ft
Elevation Min/Max3851/6382ft
Elevation Start/End3851/3851ft

Alum Cave Trail

Alum Cave Trail is a hiking trail in Sevier County, Tennessee. It is within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is 4.9 miles long and begins at 3,851 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 10.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,418 feet. Near the trailhead there are parkings. The Alum Cave cliff and Cliff Top and Peregrine Peak can be seen along the trail. There are also viewpoints along the trail. The trail ends near the LeConte Lodge and LeConte Lodge alpine huts. This trail connects with the following: Bull Head Trail.

Alum Cave Trail Professional Reviews and 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."

"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."

"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."

"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!"

Alum Cave Trail Reviews

5
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
icon20 Total
6/9/2018
0
https://cdn-www.trails.com/ui/images/userBlank.png
Comments
6/8/2018
0
https://cdn-www.trails.com/ui/images/userBlank.png
Comments
3/30/2018
Great Hike very crowded in early spring. Start early in order to get parking spot.
0
https://cdn-www.trails.com/ui/images/userBlank.png
Comments
8/18/2017
0
https://cdn-www.trails.com/ui/images/userBlank.png
Comments
7/15/2013
This is a great trail that runs along the stream. Great sights
0
https://cdn-www.trails.com/ui/images/userBlank.png
Comments
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.
0
https://cdn-www.trails.com/ui/images/userBlank.png
Comments
5/26/2011
0
https://cdn-www.trails.com/ui/images/userBlank.png
Comments
5/26/2011
Phenomenal trail.....the views are breathtaking and the wildlife unafraid.
0
https://cdn-www.trails.com/ui/images/userBlank.png
Comments
4/24/2010
In late April, the trees/wildflowers still weren't in bloom at this elevation—but that didn't take away from the glory and splendor of this amazing hike. I'd rate it as difficult because of the elevation; it's not killer, but it's definitely not for the faint of heart. If you can make it, you'll follow a beautiful creek up the mountain. It cascades alongside the trail for a good mile to mile and a half. I highly recommend hiking all the way to the top then getting pictures on the way back down if you want to focus on the physical workout of the hike—otherwise you'll be stopping for pictures every 20–30 yards! In addition to the creek and tiny falls, you'll pass over several stone passages and even up a stone staircase/cave on your climb. I highly recommend taking plenty of water and snacks; maybe even a lunch to enjoy at the bluffs. It truly is a gorgeous hike.
0
https://cdn-www.trails.com/ui/images/userBlank.png
Comments
1/1/2010
Great scenery along the way, and panoramas at high points. Didn't make it all the way to Mt LeConte because of snowfall. The Alum cave lookout is amazing.
0
https://cdn-www.trails.com/ui/images/userBlank.png
Comments

Trail Information

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Nearby City
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Parks
Hiking, Camping
Additional Use
Views
Features
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Sugarlands Visitor Center (2 miles south of Gatlinburg on US 441), Gatlinburg, TN 37738; (865) 436-1200 or (865) 436-7318; nps.gov/grsm/index.htm
Local Contacts
USGS Mount LeConte; TOPO! Tennessee, Kentucky
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018