Summer has decided to a break apparently, as we’re looking at another day of unseasonably cool weather up top and down below. Perfect conditions for those who enjoy being outside without immediately dripping after spending time in the humid south...not ideal if your hope was to get quality sun bathing time. We’re heading into our third day of a low pressure system that has parked itself to the East bringing cool air with its counterclockwise rotation. As a result we’ve experienced much cooler temps, as seen by our 34° low on Monday and storms that have brought lengthy bouts of hail. Amazingly, we haven’t set a new record for latest snowfall atop Mt. LeConte, although the hail that piled up side made it look that way. The lodge should be in and out of the clouds again today, with temps unlikely to leave the 50s. Come ready with layers for keeping yourself warm and dry.
Not much has changed in the way of trail conditions. Alum Cave and Rainbow Falls are still your best bets for ascending the mountain without obstructions. NPS trail crews have begun clearing Bull Head, The Boulevard is passable, and Trillium Gap is open to the public on weekends. Brushy Mountain is inaccessible at this time because of issues with the road to Porters Creek. Whichever way you choose to hike, as always be safe and enjoy.
As anticipated, the day started out quite pleasant before clouds and pop-up thunderstorms took over the afternoon sky. Wet conditions are expected to dominate the remainder of today and all of Monday, so have those rain shells handy for the trek up. Saturday turned out to be a gorgeous day but never became overbearingly hot, as our high temp was only 62° accompanied by a low of 45°. These next few days are even supposed to be mild down below, so the upper elevations might feel oddly chilly for some.
We’re into the time of year now where it’s plenty warm at the trailhead, and when bugs can be present just about anywhere. New to our souvenir shop this year are two natural sprays made purely from plant-based essential oils. One is great for keeping your skin cool during this season’s hottest days, and the other is an insect repellent effective against those pesky bugs. So if you’ve reached the summit and need a break from the heat or insects, stop into our gift shop and let us provide you with a quick remedy.
Have a great end to the week.
Abundant sunshine is the name of the game. The mountain is bustling today and surely will be tomorrow with such a stellar forecast on tap. Yesterday’s high temp was 67° and our low was 47°. Conditions should be suitable for some great time in the outdoors Saturday before rain chances roll in on Sunday, so get your trail fix while the going’s good! Llamas are packing at odd times on account of the much needed trail work being done along rillium Gap, with trips slated for today, tomorrow, and Monday. Reminder that visitors hoping to see our lovable llamas can do so from a safe viewing area below the Dining Hall.
With crowds hitting the Smokies in droves these last few weekends, it’s a safe bet to plan on hitting the trailheads early to garner a decent parking spot and maximize your time on the mountain. Our souvenir and snack services begin at noon, as our crew is working diligently and expeditiously to prepare cabins for incoming guests during the morning hours. With such great weather ahead, it’s not a bad idea to hit the grand vistas from Cliff Tops and Myrtle Point before hopping in line to get your “I Hiked It” shirts and No-Bake Cookies!
Have a great weekend.
What a beautiful way to start the week. It was another gorgeous day to be above 6,000’ Monday. Our high temp was 65°, and our low was a cozy 55°. We tallied just 0.16" of rainfall as some pop-up showers managed to roll through late. It’s been a cloudy start to this Tuesday, but temps up top should be consistent with the last few days.
The mountain continues to spring to life. Folks travel from all over to see the vibrant colors of the mountains this time of year. Trails like Alum Cave are popular all year long, but it has different elements that attract crowds for different reasons. Some of the best Catawba Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel displays in the entire park can be found on this mountain’s trails. The Catawbas in bloom are climbing to 5,500’, the white Rosebay Rhododendron are still budding down low, and the Mountain Laurel have just started to open around 4,000’. Surprisingly, there is still a great deal of Mountain Myrtle blooming at Myrtle Point, a display that usually peaks in mid May.
Lots to enjoy on this grand mountain, with only more to come! Have a great day.
Sounds like it’s a gorgeous day everywhere around us, but in typical Mt. LeConte fashion, the clouds seem to have an attachment to the summit. Hopefully they shake off and visitors are greeted with bluebird skies upon their arrival. Temps have been in the 60s, so it’s going to be another comfortable afternoon on the mountain. Any precip chances remain quite low. Winds have been a bit more active since yesterday evening.
Hikers visiting the lodge now have access to the exterior balcony of our Office building. Please pay close attention to the signage, as this remains a modified visitor experience. Folks looking to enjoy the balcony must still respect safe social distancing practices. As we can see hundreds of visitors in any given afternoon, the balcony will be standing room only at this time so that the multitude of visitors to the lodge all receive a fair chance at getting to enjoy the views over camp. Thank you.
It happened! We finally surpassed the 70° mark for the first time this year. Without any cloud cover to obstruct the sun in the morning, we seemed destined to have a full day of radiant sunshine. It could become a pattern, although today is shaping up to be mostly cloudy keeping temps in the 60s. Still fantastic weather for exploring and enjoying the outdoors and upper elevations. Much of the week’s weather looks promising as well, so hopefully that forecast holds and all of our visitors are spoiled with sensational scenes and relaxing moments.
Sunday turned out to be not only a great day to get some work done outside, but for peaceful rambles through the woods. The light during the sun’s waning hours meant there wasn’t a bad spot anywhere on the mountain to bid farewell to the day. If you went to view sunset, you just couldn’t have walked away dissatisfied. The hot summer haze of the Tennessee Valley gave the impression of a muted sunset early on, but the eventual array of colors did not disappoint.
As summer marches on, the plants seem to be getting happier as well. The purple Catawba Rhododendron that are in bloom are quickly approaching 5,000’. And there are plenty of smaller plants looking to impress as well. Numerous Yellow Bead Lilies, a handful of Umbrella Leaf, and even a Rose Twisted Stalk were found along Bull Head Trail yesterday. Several Turk’s Cap Lilies seem to be coming in strong as well. Remember, don’t pick the wildflowers, or else they’ll cease to be what so many of us enjoy in a national park created for the enjoyment of all.
Have a great start to the week.
Twas a marvelous day to be in the mountains on Saturday, and if this morning’s sunrise is any indication, Sunday could shape up to be even better. Clouds blocked the lodge’s view much of the day, but great views could be had at places like Cliff Tops and Myrtle Point. Conditions improved as it rolled into the evening and guests were afforded a stunning sunset and one of the clearer skies we’ve had in a while. Our llamas are making a trip today as the Trails Forever team will be hitting the upper portion of Trillium Gap hard this week.
Our high temp yesterday was 66° which felt toasty in the sun and fabulous in the shade. Surprisingly our high mark for the year remains the day in late March during the early stages of the recent closure. With 90s expected in the valley in the coming days, one would think we might finally eclipse that mark. Maybe today?
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Yesterday was our quietest and wettest day of the week so far, but that is not the case today. The weekend warriors are out in force, and who can blame them. It’s cool up top and we’re in and out of the clouds, a great place for spending a Saturday in June. Temps are comfortable in the 60s. The next few days look to be pleasant as well, so we’re anticipating a string of great days for getting out and playing in the woods.
With the summer season kicking into gear, one can count on seeing more people from start to finish if visiting the lodge. Overnight guests with reservations are advised to park at trailheads early in the morning to beat the crowds and also avoid having to leave your vehicle along the side of the roadway. An early start also gives you plenty of time to scope out the various mountain vistas and an opportunity to visit our gift shop. With occupancy limits inside our public spaces, it’s not unusual to see a line out the door at peak traffic. As always, our souvenir gift shop hours are 12:00-5:00 PM (and 8:30-9:30 AM for the REAL early risers). Outside those hours our day hiker services are closed as our team is taking full advantage of that time clean, organize, and sanitize.
Have a great sunny weekend!
Since dinner time yesterday we’ve been in and out of the clouds with intermittent rain showers and rumblings. Temps managed to reach 66° in the afternoon before storms popped up and cooled things off a bit. We tallied 0.4” of rainfall before breakfast time. Precip so far today has been rather light at times, not enough to really inconvenience anyone. The forecast for the weekend has vastly improved. The rain chances have decreased substantially, and the temps for down below look to be a scorcher. What better place to beat the heat than up top on Mt. LeConte? We might finally tap 70° for the first time this year, but no promises with how cool it continues to be up here.
The Trails Forever team has started to tackle the upper reaches of Trillium Gap Trail. We are excited to see the improvements develop in the coming months. Some nasty areas are in need of attention for both the benefit of hikers and our llamas. Here’s a glimpse at some of their initial handy work. Reminder that this trail is closed above Grotto Falls on Monday’s through Thursday’s. We will also be modifying our llama packing schedule next week to account for some of the trail work being done.
Have a great weekend.
Oh plentiful sunshine, please don’t go away! It’s been a mostly cloudy morning, with brief stints of sun as the crew makes the rounds cleaning up camp and last night’s guests depart the mountain top. Thunderstorms are expected to flare up by mid afternoon across the region, so take care of your hiking business early if you can. Temps are currently in the mid 60s and quite comfortable.
So many visitors have been great about packing out their own trash, a joint mission embraced by both the NPS and lodge in accordance with Leave No Trace practices. When people research a vacation destination, more often than not they look at photos to get inspired. What attracts folks to the Smokies are the pictures of stunning sunsets, rolling and lush landscapes, precious wildlife in its natural habitat, and cascading rapids just to name a few.
Know what you don’t see in those magnificent photos for advertising, tour guides, or blog posts?
Orange peels. Plastic bottles. Candy wrappers.
Imagine if in one’s research of a vacation destination they saw photos of those items and more strewn across famous landmarks, on a trail, or in a swimming hole. Odds are people would be less inclined to visit and decide to vacation elsewhere. So if that isn’t how somebody found the place when they got there, why leave it that way? The answer is obvious to some but not all unfortunately. You may think throwing that orange peel to the side is harmless and will magically decompose as soon as you turn your back. This is not the case. Something like an orange peel can take MONTHS to finally break down, and even if it’s just one person a day it can add up quickly. Yuck.
The Smoky Mountains are the salamander capital of the world, home to the highest peaks along the Appalachian Trail, and welcome the most visitors annually among national parks. Every bit of it is worth protecting and preserving. One very simple and easy way hikers can all do their part...pack it in, pack it out. Please visit lnt.org to learn more.
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!