The tallest mountain located entirely within the state of Tennessee, Mount LeConte has an elevation of 6593-feet, with a trail that’s approx. 12 miles out-and-back. Start your hike early on a day with good weather, and rest on top of the mountain to enjoy some really spectacular views! Prints available. Enjoy the great outdoors!
This shaded trail was photographed on top of Mount LeConte, the tallest peak of any mountain which is geographically entirely within the state of Tennessee. Prints available. Thanks for stopping by!
This black and white photograph features long shadows along a trail on Mount LeConte. In the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, it’s the tallest mountain located entirely within the state. Prints are available.
The tallest mountain located entirely within the state of Tennessee – near Gatlinburg – Mount LeConte stands an impressive 6593-feet above sea level and provides hikers with stunning panoramic scenery of the Smoky Mountains.
Clingmans Dome (at 6664-feet, the tallest peak in the Smoky Mountains National Park) and Mount Guyot (6621-feet) each have higher elevations, though both occupy boundaries within Tennessee and North Carolina.
There are five trails to the summit of Mount LeConte. This hike – my second – began at the Alum Cave Trailhead, located approx. 8 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center, along Newfound Gap Road. During the initial 1.5 miles, the trail parallels two creeks – Alum Cave Creek & Styx Branch – providing visitors with pleasant background sounds of running water.
Shout Out: I enjoyed conversation at Myrtle Point with two visitors from Maryland (Kathy) & Virginia (Gail), and hiking back down the mountain with a nice woman – Shawnie – from Dayton, TN. Nice to meet you!
One can expect to meet many people along the trail – it’s a popular place to hike, with most folks opting to walk 1/2 the distance, stopping at Alum Cave Bluffs (an area originally mined for deposits of magnesium sulfate & alum in 1838, by the Epsom Salts Manufacturing Company).
Other landmarks include Arch Rock (a long stairway which winds through the mountainside), Inspiration Point, and the Eye of The Needle. This area is also home to Peregrine Falcons – the fastest bird in the world, with a top recorded speed (during descent) of 242 miles per hour. And, the trail is equipped with several different steel cables, affixed to the mountainside for safety.
Hikers are greeted at the top of the mountain with a series of buildings – LeConte Lodge, cabins, gift shop, fresh water pump & an outhouse.
LeConte Lodge operates via a seasonal airlift of supplies by helicopter in March, restocking throughout the season using alternating teams of pack llamas for several days each week. Cabin availability is limited and reservations should be made one year in advance.
Located a short 0.2 miles away from LeConte Lodge, Cliff Tops is one of two primary overlooks enjoyed by visiting hikers. It’s a great place to relax with a snack and take in the view!
My next destination was the eastern most edge on top of Mount LeConte; also known as Myrtle Point. Here are a few photographs taken en route…
This is my favorite of the two overlooks. It has a more expansive, panoramic view, and much flatter rock surfaces for comfortable seating. Mountain views include Mount Kephart, Newfound Gap, Charlies Bunion and Clingmans Dome.
Including visits to/from the Cliff Tops & Myrtle Point overlooks, I tallied over 12 miles on the hike along the Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte. It’s the shortest route, but, being the steepest trail, a strenuous endeavor. My advice is to be well-rested, bring appropriate clothing but travel as lightly as practical, take a break if fatigued, stay hydrated, use trekking poles when possible, and watch your step. Oh, and take pictures!
Thanks for stopping by!
Enjoy this winter view into the forest, as seen at the beginning of a 2.75 mile trail I recently hiked in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Visit my gallery at Pixels to discover fine quality prints available for purchase!
Here are three photographs taken on the trail while hiking to Mount LeConte in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, near Gatlinburg. See more.
One of many along the Alum Cave Trail, this vintage safety cable was photographed while hiking to Mount LeConte. See more.
With both Clingmans Dome (6664′) and Mount Guyot (6621′) located on the border between Tennessee & North Carolina, Mount LeConte is the tallest mountain entirely within the state of Tennessee, at an elevation of 6593′.
One of the most popular hikes within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it features five trails to the summit and has the highest guest lodge in the eastern United States. LeConte Lodge operates via a seasonal airlift of supplies by helicopter in March, and with alternating teams of pack llamas several days each week throughout the season.
My hike began at the Alum Cave Trailhead, located in Seiver County near Gatlinburg, approx. 8 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center along Newfound Gap Road.
This was my second visit to this trail – see Alum Cave Bluffs In Tennessee.
I left my home in Knoxville, TN by 6:00 a.m. and returned at 6:15 p.m.. It was 7:53 a.m. when I started on the Alum Cave Trail, and 4:35 p.m. when I finished. All told, I hiked 12 miles and ascended 2700′ along the way.
Passing through Arch Rock, then beyond Inspiration Point, I reached Alum Cave Bluffs and rested to enjoy a peanut butter & raisin sandwich. This spot offers impressive views – including the Eye of The Needle – and is a popular destination for most hikers.
The slopes became steeper, thereafter, periodically revealing splendid views:
And, where useful, steel cables were affixed to the mountain for hiker safety:
Once on top, I continued beyond the lodge, stopping to see High Top – a cairn rock pile marking the 6593′ peak:
Walking along the trail on an edge of the mountain, I could see my destination in the distance – Myrtle Point, the easternmost peak on Mount LeConte:
The expansive, panoramic views here were truly stunning, and very much worth the additional 3/4 mile hike! Flat rocks offered welcomed seating to enjoy an impressive mountain landscape – including Mount Kephart, Charlies Bunion and Clingmans Dome:
Next, I backtracked along the trail until I reached a junction leading to Cliff Top, another vantage point offering excellent views – including Chimney Tops:
On my way back, I stopped at the lodge to use the outhouse, and discovered a comfortable rocking hair on the porch of a gift-shop building. So comfortable, in fact, that it took me nearly 15 minutes to stand-up again and resume my hike down the mountain!
Along the trail, I pondered how nice it would be to have a zip-line for my descent…haha.
Over the course of the day I met the same people on several different occasions, as various trails crisscross between points of interest and hikers, once reaching the summit, are usually in no hurry to leave. Also, many folks have reservations to stay overnight.
The following video was filmed at Myrtle Point:
Though strenuous, I can highly recommend this hike! Make sure you’re well-rested, carry sufficient water, monitor weather reports, and consider using “trekking poles” for added stability.
Many of these photographs can be purchased on prints of all kinds, including: framed, canvas, art, metal, wood, acrylic and tapestries. Other items available, also. See more in my shops at Pixels and/or Fine Art America. Thanks!