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Alum Cave Trail

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

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Alum Cave Trail

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  • The views from Alum are breathtaking.- Alum Cave Trail
  • View from the Alum Cave Bluffs at close to 5,000 feet in elevation. - Alum Cave Trail
  • The locals are cute, but please don't feed the wildlife.- Alum Cave Trail
  • Inspiration Point will definitely leave you inspired! - Alum Cave Trail
  • You'll know you're reaching the top when you start to see the fallen trees. The spruce fir forest of the Smokies is in great danger. - Alum Cave Trail
  • Alum Cave to LeConte.- Alum Cave Trail
  • View from below LeConte on the Alum Cave Trail. - Alum Cave Trail
  • Reaching the LeConte Lodge and summit of Mount LeConte.- Alum Cave Trail
  • The bridge to Arch Rock. - Alum Cave Trail
  • Newly finished steps leaving Arch Rock. - Alum Cave Trail
  • Views from Alum Cave Trail. - Alum Cave Trail
  • Alum Cave Trail going from Alum Cave Bluffs to LeConte. - Alum Cave Trail
  • Take a moment to soak up the views on Alum! - Alum Cave Trail
  • Alum Cave Trail is filled with cable sections. The trail has amazing views but can be slick at times. - Alum Cave Trail
  • Reaching Alum Cave Bluffs. - Alum Cave Trail
  • Alum Cave Trail is known for it's views, though it is filled with tranquility. - Alum Cave Trail
  • Eye of the Needle view from Alum Cave, below the bluffs. - Alum Cave Trail
  • Approaching Alum Cave Bluffs- Alum Cave Trail
  • Backpackers headed to Mount LeConte at the Alum Cave Bluffs. - Alum Cave Trail
  • Alum Cave Bluffs, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.- Alum Cave Trail
  • Taking in the view from Alum Cave Bluffs.- Alum Cave Trail
  • For the first mile of the trail, Alum Cave Trail is filled with gorgeous water areas. - Alum Cave Trail
  • - Alum Cave Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Old-growth forest. Access to Mount LeConte.
Cons: 
Crowds.
Region:
Smoky Mountains, TN
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,763.00 ft (842.16 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
4.40 mi (7.08 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
3,800.00 ft (1,158.24 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Alum Cave Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most popular trails in the area. Once you've hiked it, you'll immediately know why it is so loved. The trail is filled with amazing geological features and breathtaking views. You can do a 4.4-mile round-trip hike to the incredible Alum Cave Bluffs or take an 11-mile round-trip hike to the summit of Mount LeConte. At 6,593 feet, Mount LeConte is the third highest peak in the Smokies. You'll also find the LeConte Lodge on the top, a perfect escape for those wishing to spend the night in a rustic cabin under the stars.

Regardless of your destination, Alum is filled with beauty and, on most days, hikers. You'll begin the trail at 3,800 feet and surrounded by an old-growth forest - yellow birch, American beech and buckeyes. The first section of the trail follows a tranquil stream and passes by multiple areas to dip your feet in. You'll also get a taste of the geological features to come as you are surrounded by giant boulders. At the 1.4-mile mark, you will come to one of the most unique features of the trail, Arch Rock. Arch Rock is the tunnel to the views. Keep climbing to reach and soak up such spots as Inspiration Point, Peregrine Peak, the Eye of the Needle and the Alum Cave Bluffs. It is believed that some areas of the bluffs have never been touched by a drop of rain and were discovered by a Cherokee Chief. The Bluff is also a perfect picnic spot, just remember not to feed the local wildlife or leave crumbs behind. Once you're finished up, return to the parking area or trek another 2.7 miles up to Mount LeConte - where the views only get better the higher you climb.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(32 within a 30 mile radius)

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