Hike The Great Smoky Mountains Mt. LeConte via Alum Cave Trail to the Southern Appalachian Spruce Fir Forest which is the 2nd most endangered forest in America and a remnant of the last ice age.
|11.0 Miles Total
|Elevation Gain | 3,061 ft
1. Slip-n-slide rapids
Most of the first mile is near a very clear water stream. Shortly after, you’ll run into a series of rapids with a slick rock looking like a slide called Slip-n-slide rapids.
2. Arch Rock
The trail commences with a dramatic entrance through Arch Rock, a towering natural arch carved by centuries of weathering. Hikers pass through this geological wonder, setting the stage for the adventure that lies ahead.
3. Jagged Overlook
The first overlook of the smokies on the trail. A breathtaking spot on Mt. LeConte via Alum Cave Trail.
4. Inspiration Point
As the trail ascends, hikers reach Inspiration Point, an exposed overlook that provides breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains. The scenery serves as both a reward for the journey thus far and a preview of the grandeur awaiting atop Mt. LeConte.
5. Alum Cave Bluff
Approximately 2.3 miles into the hike, hikers encounter Alum Cave, a concave bluff with a history of various uses, including mining and medicinal purposes. The cave offers a shaded reprieve and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
6. Climbing Onward
Marked on Alltrails, this area is where most hikers turn back around. Keep going to the top of Mt. LeConte via Alum Cave trail, it’s worth it!
7. Southern Appalachian Spruce Fir Forest
The Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest is a unique and ecologically significant ecosystem that spans the high elevations of the Appalachian Mountains in the southeastern United States. It’s the 2nd most endangered forest in the United States, and a relic of the last Ice Age. This forest type is characterized by the dominance of two coniferous tree species, the red spruce (Picea rubens) and the Fraser fir (Abies fraseri). Here’s a brief summary of key features:
8. LeConte Lodges
Before reaching the summit through the Spruce Fir forest, you’ll run into the LeConte Lodges, the highest elevated lodges in East America.
9. LeConte Summit
Reaching the summit of Mt. LeConte is a crowning achievement for hikers, standing at an elevation of 6,593 feet. The summit provides sweeping views of the Smoky Mountains, showcasing the undulating peaks and valleys that define the landscape. The historic LeConte Lodge, located near the summit, offers a rustic retreat for those seeking an overnight stay.