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Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Blue Ridge Mountains, Tennessee

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Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail

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  • Walk behind Grotto Falls.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • View from Brushy Mountain.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • On the way up the Trillium Gap Trail.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • LeConte Lodge.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • Near sunrise behind Myrtle Point.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • Sun poking over the ridge.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • Cloudy sunrise from Myrtle Point.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • Looking back at the summit from Myrtle Point.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • Mountains surrounding Mount LeConte.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • Sun burning through the clouds near sunrise.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • Rough trail along the Myrtle Point spur.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • The shelter.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • Inside the shelter.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • The start of the Boulevard Trail.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • View along the Boulevard Trail.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • Some exposed trail sections with cables.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • Beautiful lush forest.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • The Jumpoff viewpoint.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
  • View along the Appalachian Trail on the way back.- Mount LeConte via Trillium Gap + Boulevard Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great Views. Shelter. Old-growth Forest. Iconic mountain.
Cons: 
Point to point. Difficult to reserve.
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Region:
Blue Ridge Mountains, TN
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
3,374.00 ft (1,028.40 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
17.50 mi (28.16 km)
Trail type: 
Shuttle
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,990.00 ft (911.35 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

At 6,643 feet, Mount LeConte is a staggering mountain. It is the highest mountain entirely within Tennessee and the third highest in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It has a 5,300-foot prominence measuring from Gatlinburg, and hosts the East Coast's highest public inn. There is controversy around which LeConte the mountain was named for, either Joseph or his older brother John, but what is known for sure is how the mountain helped the park come to fruition.

Not much activity occurred in the Smokies until Paul Adams moved to Knoxville. Hiker and explorer, Adams spent much of his time in what is now Great Smoky Mountain National Park. In 1924 he joined the Great Smoky Mountain Conservation Association and led an expedition up the mountain with dignitaries from Washington. The group spent the night on the site that would eventually be LeConte Lodge, and 10 years later the national park was born.

There are many ways up the mountain, probably the most popular of which is the Alum Cave Trail. If you are staying at the shelter, this fills up almost immediately every Saturday night as soon as it’s available to reserve (2:00 a.m. EST 30 days before date in question); please be advised and set your alarm to secure your reservation.

This adventure begins at Trillium Gap Trailhead and passes by two unique points of interest on the way up. Grotto Falls is a small falls along the trail that allows the hiker to walk behind and underneath the falls, and Brushy Mountain is a short 0.3-mile spur trail to a nice viewpoint to the northeast. After making it up to the lodge, take advantage of the pre-treated water and restrooms before heading over to the shelter.

Definitely check out the sunset at the Clifftops overlook, about half a mile from the shelter. Myrtle Point is the place to see the sunrise, and it is about the same distance in the other direction. Signage is good at the top, so don’t worry about getting lost. The summit itself has a rock pile, but no view, so check out the two previously mentioned overlooks for the best pictures.

In the morning, after you start on the Boulevard Trail, use the cables as necessary if you’re afraid of heights, as there are a few steep sections next to the trail. After a lot of up and down, you’ll finally make it to the intersection with the Appalaachian Trail. If the weather is good, take the short spur trail to the Jumpoff overlook; it is well worth the effort. Follow the AT all the way back to Newfound Gap to finish out the hike.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(6 within a 30 mile radius)

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(32 within a 30 mile radius)

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