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Mount Le Conte via Alum Cave Trail, TN
mini location map2015-05-22
25 by photographer avatarThe_Eagle
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Mount Le Conte via Alum Cave Trail, TN 
Mount Le Conte via Alum Cave Trail, TN
 
Hiking avatar May 22 2015
The_Eagle
Hiking12.76 Miles 3,505 AEG
Hiking12.76 Miles   6 Hrs   53 Mns   2.22 mph
3,505 ft AEG   1 Hour   8 Mns Break14 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Day 2 of my trip to NC.

It was off to the Smoky Mountains on the North Carolina/Tennessee border. Getting there was half the fun, driving 37 miles on the Historic and Scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. I'm glad I wasn't driving, because I got to soak in the views. We saw a heard of Elk in the park, on the drive in.

On the agenda for today, was to hike to the Mt Le Conte area. The Mt Le Conte area stands close to 6600' and is a popular destination in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (GSMNP). There are 4 Trailheads that can get you to the top, but The Alum Cave TH is the shortest, steepest and the most scenic, making it the most popular. This was our choice. There are no roads to the top, so the Lodge is resupplied by Lamas 3 days a week.

We started with temps in the low 40's and were afforded perfect weather all day. The trail crosses Walker Camp Prong (Creek) and starts a gentle climb along Alum Creek. You are in thick forests crossing over this creek numerous times. The trail turns North an follows the Styxs Branch (Creek) to the Natural Arch. The trail passes through the arch, climbing steeply while doing so. [ photo ]

At this point the trail get steeper to the top. You are still in tree cover, but the views open up showing all the mountains and greenery in the area.

Cresting the steep trail, we gladly took the flatter trail over to the Mount Le Conte Lodge area to check it out. Hikers can get a sack lunch and refill their water up here. There are numerous cabins that seem like a popular option for many. There is also a shelter up in the area the can sleep about 8 hikers. There are many bears in the area and one actually had to be put down a few days before we were up there. From the lodge there are good views to the West, of Gatlinburg Tn.

We made our way over to Myrtle Point to sit and have some lunch. The perfect spot, with almost 360 views. After lunch, we checked out the Cliff Tops Trail and view point, but Myrtle Point was the best place for views. We went back down the mountain way we came.

Video :next: https://youtu.be/GH ... SMNk

A great Day 2 Hike!

If you only have time for one hike in the Smokys, this would be an excellent choice. Be forewarned to get there early, because the 2 small lots fill up quickly. Stay away from the weekends and Holidays for hiking.

On the drive out, we were 2 cars behind a car / Motorcycle, head on crash. The guy was laying in the road when we approached. He stood up, wobbled to the side of the road, while yelling at the driver of the car. I can only assume the car cut the corner. The car was spewing Radiator fluid on the roadway. 15+ emergency vehicles made their way to the site as we were driving down.
Fauna
Fauna
Llama
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Alum Cave Creek Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Mt Le Conte Faucet 76-100% full 76-100% full
May be turned off during cold weather

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Walker Camp Prong Medium flow Medium flow
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