The 2.3 mile trail to Alum Cave Bluffs is located in the Smoky Mountains, approx. 8 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It’s the shortest and steepest of 5 different trails to Mount Le Conte.
Originally mined in 1838 by the Epsom Salts Manufacturing Company for deposits of magnesium sulfate & alum, it’s now a popular hiking area with limited parking – one should plan to arrive early; or, park along the road some distance away.
At lower elevations, the trail meanders alongside the Alum Cave Creek, providing a pleasant and constant sound of running water throughout the forest.
Here are a few photographs –
At 1.4 miles along the trail, hikers have the opportunity to pass through a natural tunnel in the side of the mountain – at Arch Rock. A series of steps with a cable handrail make this a fun, navigable passageway.
Here are some photographs –
Eye of The Needle
As hikers continue up the trail, the sound of water fades and glimpses of the surrounding mountains begin to appear between the trees. Inspiration Point is situated at 4,700′, which, on a clear day, provides an unobscured view of the surrounding landscape, most notably Little Duck Hawk Ridge – which features the Eye of the Needle (a see-through hole cut into the side of the ridge). It is in this area, if you’re lucky, that you might see Peregrine Falcons.
Here are a few shots –
More Scenes From The Trail
Note: it’s not really a cave. Rather, large sandstone bluffs standing 80′ tall, extending 500′ in length, with a substantial ceiling-overhang.
If your home or office has an empty wall, please consider purchasing a print – framed, canvas, art, metal, wood or acrylic – from my gallery at Pixels. Customization options are available to make it your own! Other items to see, also.
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