Hiked to the lodge and high point yesterday on the Alum Cave trail. Really impressed by the trail improvements made this season, especially the section through the cave. Great work.
what is the least strenuous or easiest trail to take to mt leconte
It's usually the trail that you aren't on. :-)
I would say alum cave
Is Alum still closed during the week? I heard it opened early, but I find nothing stating that on the park service website. Will be taking a day hike on the 17th, 18th or 19th.
I say Alum is the best by far! Many may disagree, but that has been my experience as an avid Smokies hiker all my life. The trail is smoother and shorter with great views all the way up. With a husband who has weak ankles, there are a lot less rocks and roots for him to dodge. But however you choose to get there, just go! You will be glad you did! Happy hiking!
Tammy......this is kind of weird....I had a park ranger tell me last year that Trillium was the least strenuous. But, remember to start at the Trillium parking lot. Don't start at the Rainbow Falls parking area or you will add several miles (I think) to your hike. Like, everyone says on here. It's your personal preference. Alum is the shortest. Rainbow was hard for me, but I loved coming down Bullhead and would consider going up it. And the Boulevard is a goal of mine. The longest, but I've heard alot of ups and downs, but with the least overall elevation gain. Will be spending 2 nights up at the lodge soon, so I hope to hike the Boulevard out from the lodge a ways to see what it's like. Happy hiking!
Tammy(TX)....Please post your experiences on Boulevard! My husband & I are thinking about up Alum & out Boulevard for our next trip & would like to hear how it worked for you. Thanks.
Okay Nadine, I will. Any hiking is hard for me due to health issues. But, I refuse to stop doing it. Especially when I've just become very interested in hiking over the past 5 or 6 years. I find that ups and downs are easier on me than just going basically up the entire time. Rainbow was brutal for me but others find it easy. Another goal is to do an off trail up one of the area creek beds. I've made some friends who off trail regularly in the Smokies and I'm hoping to get to experience that in the next year. I think the slow pace would be doable for me and I just want to try. No bucket list....but if I had one, that would be on it. Anyway, any hiking is a good thing to do.
I agree - don't stop hiking! We (a couple of senior citizens) go at a speed that works for us and have been up on every trail except Boulevard, some trails more than once. As I saw in a T-shirt somewhere, "You don't stop hiking because you get old. You get old because you stop hiking."
Well stated. DON'T stop hiking. I hike slowly (thus my trail nickname of "Slowwalker") but I get there, enjoying the scenery along the way. There is NO best nor easiest trail. It is a question that is asked regularly but each individual has to determine which one pleases them the most, but for me personally, the Trillium trail for now does the job and after 59 years of hiking in the Smokies I still change my preference every few years. Just hike..........
Nadine, I have to chime in on the trail issue. Alum is the quickest, with most views and maybe less strenuous. Trillium is not real strenuous but the last 1 1/2 mile is basically straight up so that's a real challenge. My favorite is Boulevard for the views and serenity and the ups and downs. I hiked up in September via Alum and came down Boulevard. I am like Doug a slow hiker. I start early and take my time and enjoy the journey to the top. My goal in getting up is to arrive in time for the hot chocolate before dinner. Coming down Boulevard you first hike up a little and then it evens off to ups and downs...some more strenuous than others. My sister and I found that the last mile and a half to 2 miles before the jump off were the most difficult and strenuous as you are going up, up, up with very little descending. Once you get past this it reverts back to up and down. There is one precarious small section where you are walking along a very small ridge line (probably the result of rain/trail washout) but other than these it is a wonderful trail down to Newfound Gap. You will know you are close to the end when you get to a series of steps. It took my sister and I probably 6 1/2 to 7 hours to reach Newfound Gap with the stops we made eating lunch and at the jump off. It would probably take a lot more people a lot less time than it took my sister and I but I'm 75 and I have never been one of those hikers/walkers who rushed to my destination. I would definitely recommend Boulevard to anyone who wants a different perspective and some quiet serenity while hiking...we only passed 2 people on their way up to the Lodge. The others we met at the jump off were either going to or from Charlie's Bunyon. Enjoy your hike whichever you decide.
Thanks for the info - just what I was looking for.
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