April 30, 2021
Just like that we’ve reached the end of April and are already a third of the way through the calendar year. Time is flying by as fast as the winds soaring over the mountain. Conditions were quite breezy yesterday as predicted, and the top was smothered in cloud cover much of the day. The rains seemed to have stayed north for a while until late in the evening. Expect wet trails underfoot at least today and for breezy conditions to persist, although not as strong.
Temps have cooled a bit, so we’re back into the upper 30s this morning with chance to break into the 50s this afternoon. Aside from the winds, skies should continue to improve giving way to a mostly pleasant weekend. Saturday should be sunny and warm, although not as hot as recent days. Come late Sunday there is a chance for thunderstorms to return. With such a decent weekend forecast, expect the Park and its most popular trails to be busy with hikers and eager adventurers. So start early if you want a paved parking spot, pack the patience, and consider some of the lesser sought-after trails accessing the lodge of solitude sounds more desirable.
Have a great day.
April 29, 2021
It’s such a nice change to be able to wake up to temps already above freezing in the morning, and for multiple days in a row at that! Spring is finally being felt atop Mt. LeConte with temps reaching the mid 60s. Depending on how much sunshine we pull in today, we could get that warm again. Despite it being the middle of the week, there have been many people taking advantage of the sudden surge in warmer days, and with this abundant sunshine, why not? Our overnight low temps of late have been considerably more mild, dipping only into the mid 40s. As today presses on, increasing cloud cover is expected accompanied by rising winds. Tonight there is a chance for storms producing rainfall up to an inch and winds gusting as much as 35mph. These conditions could persist into Friday morning so expect wet trail conditions to start tomorrow and dress accordingly.
Trails like Alum Cave are finally starting to show their signs of spring’s arrival. A patch of Trillium leaves have sprouted up from the leaf litter just above Gracie’s Pulpit, the relative halfway point of the ascent. Several clumps of Bluets have been sharing their rich blues with hikers at varying elevations for the last couple weeks. And the first Myrtle bloom has opened up at a Inspiration Point two miles in, soon to become a dense blanket of whites and pinks among the bare rocks. Always an enjoyable time to see the mountain wake up from its deep winter slumber!
Have a great day.
April 27, 2021
Now it feels more like spring up here. Yesterday was a sun-filled and beautiful blue sky day to kickstart the last week of April. Temps were warmer than they’ve been in a while as we nearly tapped 60°. And plenty of people where out and about enjoying the delightful turn to more favorable hiking conditions. We’re looking at a mix of sun and clouds today and tomorrow, but temps are expected to hold steady. That means the mountain top should hang out between 40-60° until the next storm system rolls into town late Thursday.
With the warmer weather, naturally that means increased wildlife activity around the lodge and on trail. Birds, squirrels, salamanders, deer, and inevitably black bears. Please remember that we are in a national park created to protect these animals, and how fortunate we are to be able to share this majestic space with them. Do not feed these animals as it does more harm than good for both the animal and those people who have an encounter after you. Feeding wildlife can lead to unnatural and sometimes aggressive behavior where animals learn to associate food with people. Wildlife and other people run the risk of getting hurt all because somebody before them wanted a laugh or a photo-op. Thank you for your cooperation in recreating responsibly and helping to protect this national park.
Have a great day.
April 24, 2021
Hold on to your hats, because it’s about to get interesting up here! The giant blob on the radar is about to smother our region bringing rainfall that is expected to last well into Sunday morning. That much rain for so long could see us receive anywhere from 3-4” over the next 24 hours. As the storm drags on, naturally the mountain streams could get inundated and swell. So to avoid any potential flooding hazards, it’s best to get an early start on the trail and beat the brunt of this thing. The winds forecast has now been upgraded to a High Wind Warning, calling for gusts upwards of 75mph across the mountains. It will go into effect just before lunchtime and last the rest of the day. As of now US 441 (Newfound Gap Rd) is still open. Guests with reservations shouldn’t delay in getting on trail and up the mountain today, as a safe, cozy cabin awaits.
Friendly reminder that day hikers choosing to brave the elements today are responsible for coming prepared (which is always the case really). Regardless of what the weather decides to do, the COVID-19 health and safety protocols implemented by the NPS at the lodge remain in effect. That means no long term respite indoors, as all services are “to-go” in any public spaces. Sunday afternoon will witness clearing of skies and an end to turbulent weather, offering much more pleasant conditions for exploring the outdoors.
Please use caution on trail today and report any new hazards to our staff or the NPS. Thank you.
April 23, 2021
It’s another chilly start to our day, although temps in the upper 20s sounds toasty compared to negative windchills. The region is about to conclude another Freeze Warning, and temps should finally begin the climb out of the wintry basement we’ve been stuck in of late. Skies will be a mix of clouds today, but enough sunshine might help the peaks see the 40s this afternoon. Continue to watch for icy places on trail until the warmth has enough time to melt it all away.
Today will be decent enough for outdoor exploration. Saturday is going to be a different beast. Beginning late this evening, rain will move into the region and last clear into Sunday. Along with it, there is a High Wind Watch calling for gusts of 65mph currently. Once this storm rolls in tonight, we don’t expect more pleasant hiking conditions to return until Sunday afternoon. So have rain shells ready, along with a change of dry layers in case that sideways windswept rain finds a way in. Hikers shouldn’t have to contend with any ice at that point. Pay attention to the trees in such winds, and please make note of any of new hazards on the trail if any appear. If strong winds across the higher mountains causes a closure of US 441, please have an alternate route planned to the summit, such as Cherokee Orchard.
Speaking of alternate routes, the road maintenance closure happening in Greenbrier has been extended to May 15. So visitors are still not permitted to access the Brushy Mountain Trail to Mt. LeConte from Porters Creek just yet.
Have a great day.
April 22, 2021
All this talk of spring on the trail, but it still looks and feels like January at 6,593’!!! As expected, the mountain endured a long and arduous drop in temperatures as Wednesday pressed on. Our high reading of 35° happened at breakfast yesterday, eventually bottoming out at 7° early this morning. Combined with windchills, we’re talking subzero temps on Mt. LeConte in what is now late April. Snow fell for several hours in various forms, flakes big and small, or the cloud mist instantly freezing to all surfaces. In total it only amounted to a patchy inch at best on the ground, but absolutely coating everything else. The sunshine today should work it’s melting magic, but until the frigid temps break sometime tomorrow afternoon, conditions will remain quite chilly in our neck of the woods.
Another Freeze Warning has been issued for tomorrow morning. Clouds will continue to build throughout Friday. Come Saturday, we’re looking at a full day of potentially heavy rainfall. The forecast is also calling for some gusty winds upwards of 50mph this weekend. Sunday morning looks wet as well until the storm rolls out of town eventually giving us some clearer skies. Despite the rain, temps should rebound to their more seasonal norm.
Have a great day.
April 21, 2021
Looks like we have a very active weather day ahead of us, so let’s get right to it. As a front pushes through this morning, temps will continue to plummet, so essentially our high temp for the day will happen around breakfast. We’re currently near the freezing mark, but temps will fall into the teens by this evening. Accounting for the wind chill factor will make it feel much colder up top. There is a chance for precip all morning long that has the potential to fall as snow. Anything above 5,000’ could witness accumulation up to 1”. By lunch time the storm is expected to have finally exited the region with skies gradually clearing throughout the day. Winds will remain a presence the next several days, with gusts ranging anywhere from 25-30mph. A Freeze Warning is slated for late Wednesday evening into Thursday morning at all elevations, so not just up here. Looking ahead, significant rainfall is in the forecast for Friday night, all day Saturday, then petering out early Sunday. Going to be a wet weekend.
Plan for your upcoming hike accordingly, whether staying overnight as a guest or braving it as a day hiker. These conditions are nothing to sneeze at, so please don’t be fooled by the delightful arrival of spring happening below. This mountain still has plenty of winter and turbulent weather left in it. Traction devices are highly recommended if the trails turn slick today. Bring enough layers to keep you dry and warm, and also to change into should you get wet during your trek. US 441 is open at the moment, but have an alternate route planned for reaching the summit in case the Park decides to close the main highway at any point today or in the coming days. As always, please take note of any new trail hazards, such as freshly fallen trees, and report them to our staff and/or the NPS for immediate resolution. Thank you.
Be safe and have a great day.
April 20, 2021
It’s been a delightfully sunny day ever since sunup, with mostly clear skies and a skin-warming glowy object shining from above. In fact, it’s been a great spot for views going back to yesterday with a colorful sunset and superbly clear lights twinkling in the valley below. We danced around the freezing mark last night but might even tap 50° this afternoon as temps rise. Everyone up here knows to enjoy it because we have interesting weather, some of the wintry variety, about to roll in. Wednesday’s mid section is calling for wind, rain, and possibly some snow accumulation. You heard that correctly. That means trail and road conditions could become slick and treacherous in an instant, also depending on the severity of the temperature drop. Have all the gear necessary for making a safe traverse of the mountain, and also consider a plan B for reaching the summit if the Park decides to close US 441 for visitor safety. Looking ahead to the weekend, the forecast appears to be a wet one. We’ll dive into that later once it draws closer.
There just isn’t enough time or room on a page to write what is next, but it’s certainly worth mentioning on here anyways. Yesterday signified the last llama trip of the season with Alan and Chrissy Householder at the wrangling helm. These two dedicated team members have been leading, caring for, and maintaining our farm for a combined 30 years. Despite a great deal of their contributions happening behind the scenes, their involvement and impact has had and will continue to have a lasting positive impression on the lodge. Both in how we operate while also extending to the experience we are able to provide for you, our guests and visitors. They have poured their bodies and souls into tending to our favorite fuzzy friends while staying true to our company’s mission, and we simply cannot thank them enough for their commitment, passion, sweat, and selflessness. Alan is officially retiring, while Chrissy will pursue her life’s calling as a travel nurse. We are excited to see what adventures await them, and will certainly miss having them as part of our team and work family. Please join us in wishing the absolute best to Alan and Chrissy!
Have a great rest of the day.
April 19, 2021
It’s a cloudy mountaintop this morning with some scattered rain and snow showers in the vicinity. Temps are hovering just below freezing at the moment, but should rise later in the day, especially if and when the sun breaks through. The remainder of this week is going to be rather chilly, with a chance for rain and even snow showers again on Wednesday. Highs consistently in the 40s and lows in the 20s. Hikers will definitely need to come prepared for the elements in order to stay warm and dry.
The approach trails continue to be in good shape for hikers. The Boulevard was recently cleared of debris, so folks will have smoother passage there. Unless another extension happens, the road maintenance work in Greenbrier has another week to go. After that, visitors should once again have access to the long Brushy Mountain Trail out of Porters Creek. So many great options for traversing the mountain and avoiding the more popular crowded trails in the park.
Have a great start to the week.
April 18, 2021
Waking up to clear skies above and a sea of clouds below this fine Sunday morning. It’s another chilly start with temps in the 20s. The air is calm, and once the sun gains some height, conditions should warm up enough to see us reach the 40s this afternoon. The next few days should be pleasant until about mid-week when, believe it or not, we stand another chance of seeing some flurries fill the air.
For a few hours yesterday morning, the temps stayed cool enough that the only precip we witnessed came in the form of snowflakes. Whether small and sparse, or big and blinding, it struggled to try and stick as the ground was just a bit too warm for any accumulation. The wintry show was certainly a treat for folks either not use to seeing it this time of year, or anyone who just gets giddy anytime they can see flurries fly. By the afternoon we were in and out of the clouds making for an enjoyable day in the outdoors.
Have a great end to the week.
Welcome to the official blog of LeConte Lodge. We hope you find the information provided here both helpful and enjoyable. Thank you for visiting the site, and we hope to see you on the mountain!