June 30, 2020
The thunderstorms had it out for East Tennessee yesterday, relentless in their pursuit of pounding the mountains with thunder and flooding rains. Conditions are cloudy and calm to start this Tuesday, but the percentages for precip increase as the day marches on. Temps once again should be in the 50s and lower 60s up top, a nice reprieve from the 80s and 90s of the valley below.
We’ve been hearing various reports of bear sightings on a few of the trails. Nothing of concern fortunately, but it’s always good to let lodge staff or an NPS ranger know so we can keep tabs on their whereabouts and keep visitors well informed. Remember, DO NOT FEED any animal in the park...bears, squirrels, deer, you name it. This only leads to the formation of bad, unnatural habits that in turn puts the animal, yourself, or someone else in harm’s way. Thank you.
June 29, 2020
As we approach the holiday famous for pyrotechnics, the skies are echoing with the sights and sounds of their own fireworks of late. The flashes of lightning, rumbles of thunder, roaring wind, and crackling of rain are just Mother Nature showcasing her strength and might. The mountain has spent a great deal of time in the clouds these past few days, and that appears to be the case going forward for a while. Rainfalls range from fast and heavy to light and drawn out. Protective gear intended to keep you dry is something you’ll want to have on the trails.
With this much consistent saturation, areas can get muddy and slick for long periods of time. Wet weather creek crossings can appear out of nowhere as well. Folks nervous about getting their feet wet or maintaining stability while navigating swollen creeks will attest to the benefits of using a walking stick or a pair of trekking poles. It’s always smart to assess your hiking gear before setting out on an adventure as big as Mt. LeConte, especially if it’s a new experience.
Day time temps continue to hang around in the 50s. It has been fortunate that late spring and early summer above 6,000’ in 2020 has been a cool one. If there is a group that appreciates the seasonably mild weather, it’s our awesome llamas. Hats off to our load luggers and team of wranglers for cranking out a bunch of pack trips this past weekend to keep the lodge stocked and in good shape to host our guests!
Have a great start to the week.
June 28, 2020
Big storms rolling through already this morning before the sun has even had its chance to rise. A good bit of lightning so far and a heavy dose of rain in short bursts. Expect trails to share similarities to creeks today, especially if these scattered rain storms persist. Drainages and unbridged stream crossings could also be running high, so you might have to get your feet wet at times. Best to avoid trails like Rainbow Falls on a day like this when considering reaching the summit. Temps should once again remain in the 50s. This rain combined with wind will make it feel a lot colder without warm and dry layers, so pack smart when it comes to your hiking gear.
Be safe out there on the trail and have a good rest of the weekend.
June 27, 2020
Well, the weather has thrown us a curveball and decided to make it a wet mountain top after all. Since before daybreak, we’ve been clouded in with nonstop wind, mist, and rain. Not quite the Saturday we were expecting. There doesn’t appear to be much of a let up in the extended forecast, with high precip percentages called for this next week. Come ready for rain, as the gear will surely make your experience on the trail a better one. Just ask the droves of day hikers who forgot their rain jackets today! We gladly sell ponchos, but that will only help for half of one’s journey in such conditions.
With these winds and saturated soils, please let us know if there are any new downed trees or slides that need to be tended to by NPS trail crews. It’s important those matters get addressed promptly so visitors have accessibility and safe passage while traversing the mountain. Thank you!
June 26, 2020
Happy Friday and happy last weekend of June! Hard to believe it’s already here, but for an unusual year it sort of makes sense. Shaping up to be a decent day on the mountain. Only a slight chance of a late afternoon rain shower, otherwise mostly pleasant conditions from top to bottom. Same for Saturday, which should turn out to be a great day to visit the mountain if you’re a weekend warrior needing that 6,000+ elevation fix! Showers are slated to return to come Sunday and could hang around a few days. Temps up top should continue to hold in the 50s and 60s.
The mountain is bursting open with life in the form of vivid floral eye candy. The trails of Mt. LeConte rival some of the other heavy hitters in the southeast, such as Roan Mountain and Craggy Gardens, known for their grand rhododendron displays in early summer. Sounds like the flame azaleas are finally taking off elsewhere in the Smokies, a bright blooming bush you won’t find much of on our mountain except for remote places on Bull Head.
Whatever you see and wherever you are, enjoy!
June 25, 2020
Going to be a wet and cloudy Thursday. Conditions have us socked in with intermittent rain showers expected for much of the day. Temps maintain their hold on the 50s. Forecast improves for leading into the weekend, with storms rolling through for the back half. Should be plenty hot down below, so what better way to beat the heat than to climb up high where it’s been nice and cool?
As the Trails Forever crew continues to make great gains on improvements to Trillium Gap, we’re staggering our llama pack trips accordingly. We’re looking at several visits by our favorite fuzzy friends in the coming days.
A bit of trivia for you...countless visitors to Mt. LeConte track how many summits they make in their lifetime. In fact, if you’ve never seen it, there is a logbook in our office for hikers to register their hike they made that day. Past logbooks are kept in secure storage and go back many decades. Of course, there are plenty of people out there with hundreds and possibly thousands of summits who don’t keep track of their personal number, and that’s okay too. What is known is that there are very few people who have climbed this mountain more than most of our pack llamas through the years. Our recently retired and longest serving packer, Clifford Cliff Tops, probably surpassed 800 summits in his illustrious career with the lodge. And that’s averaging 40-60 lbs. of supplies on his back per trip as well. Just one more thing to think about when you marvel at the impressive work these critters do week to week!
June 24, 2020
Yesterday’s weather made for a turbulent Tuesday across a East Tennessee, as conditions tap-danced between sun, clouds, wind, and rain. The large puffy clouds that dot the sky this time of year are always impressive, and equally daunting when they roll up on you. The potential for afternoon storms today is there, but not nearly as much as yesterday. Best to come prepared for some rain anyways. Temps should continue to hang out in the 50s and lower 60s.
The Dwarf Rhododendron have started to bloom en masse from below Inspiration Point to above Alum Cave Bluffs. They produce a sweet, almost cinnamon-like fragrance that absolutely fills the air where hikers pass by. Something folks will get to enjoy for the next several weeks as the blooming bushes continue to put on a show ascending the slopes.
Have a great rest of the day.
June 23, 2020
It was your typical summer day in the Smokies yesterday. Mostly clear conditions to start the day with a strong, sticky dose of that southern humidity. Followed up by the afternoon thunderstorms that help to keep things cool up top. We managed to tap the lower 60s yesterday and not get nearly as toasty as what is being felt in the lowlands of late. Today’s forecast should be much of the same, as scattered showers moving across the state should reach the mountain in the next few hours. Come ready for wet if you are hitting the trail today!
Our team has been working hard to keep things rolling up top and on the trail. We just delivered a fresh supply of our incredibly popular trucker hats to the summit. They are also available online now for anyone who may have missed their chance to purchase one this past weekend. Be sure and check them out, along with all kinds of other great lodge swag, at www.lecontelodge.com/store.
Have a great day!
June 19, 2020
It’s starting off as another day scraping the clouds up here in the high peaks. There are chances for afternoon storms to flare up before clearing overnight. Temps across the region should start to warm slightly as well. We’ve been hanging out in the lower 50s of late, and yesterday brought us tiny amounts of rain. The weekend looks rather decent for outdoor exploration, but there are still possibilities for pop-up showers on Saturday and Sunday, so best to come prepared for an array of conditions.
The beauty of the mountain continues to burst forth in vivid color. The Mountain Laurel at the mid elevations are opening up nicely, and the Catawba Rhododendron continue to bloom higher up the trail. Even the white Rosebay Rhododendron are beginning to reveal themselves in the lower elevations, greeting hikers as they embark on the day’s ramble.
Kudos to the NPS trail crews for clearing out a monster of a tree on Alum Cave. And the fine folks with Trails Forever continue to make great improvements to Trillium Gap, helpful to both hikers and our hard working llamas. Our fuzzy and famous friends will be making trips today, tomorrow, and Monday for those folks interested in catching glimpses of them at the lodge. Reminder that they usually arrive around lunch time and rest for about an hour before saddling back up. Just follow the signs, or ask one of our friendly crew members. to our safe llama viewing area and get yourself some great photos.
Have a great weekend!
June 18, 2020
A bit cloudy and misty atop the mountain to start the day, even though conditions seem to be clearing elsewhere outside the park. Still waiting on the slowest moving low pressure system ever to roll on out of town. Once it does, temps should rise back up to their seasonal norms and hopefully we see some sunnier skies along with it. Expected temps around the lodge should continue to be in the 50s again today.
Our crew bios are up, so go check them out on our team page and get to know the fine folks working hard to serve the hundreds upon hundreds of people visiting the mountain everyday.
Have a great day!
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!