We will update as we get word from hikers.
Crew members have hiked Alum Cave Bluff trail and Trillium Gap trail starting at Grotto Falls and both trails are fine. No damage. No word yet on Boulevard.
We will update as we get word from hikers.
LeConte Lodge is open for business, and will begin day hiker services at noon and welcoming back our overnight guests with reservations for this evening.
US 441 Newfound Gap Road is open to all traffic. Cherokee Orchard and Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail are as well. That gives folks access to Alum Cave, The Boulevard, and Trillium Gap Trails effectively immediately. Still waiting on Greenbrier Road. Rainbow and Bull Head are closed for maintenance.
Trails have not been assessed, so if you plan to summit be aware that creeks could be swollen and there may be downed trees. If you come across any trail hazards, please notify the lodge staff upon your arrival or alert the NPS at Sugarlands Visitor Center on your way out.
Thank you and be safe on the trails. We’re excited to be welcoming folks back!
6:00 PM Update:
Mt. LeConte is approaching 2.25” of rainfall since we started feeling the effects of Florence. Winds have been light and variable. All of the drainages around camp have been overflowing their banks for the last couple hours, so all that water has surely made its way into the rivers down below. Hopefully the trees around the mountain have been holding firm.
The NPS has announced that the existing closures will remain in place through at least Monday morning, at which point they will be dispersing teams to assess the park for damage. Should results come back favorably, they will begin the process of reopening areas of the park. If not, closures could be extended. Since we don’t know where Mt. LeConte falls into that picture, it is too early to know when we will reopen our doors. You can be sure that once we receive permission from the NPS we will be notifying our guests with upcoming reservations quickly. Until that time unfortunately, we remain closed for business.
9:00 AM Update:
We’re still hovering around 54 degrees. The rain has been light but steady. It seems like the Tropical Depression is having a hard time maintaining its strength as it slams into the Smokies’ crest. Winds are breezy with only the occasional gust tapping 30-40mph.
The crew was quick to make the most of the closure. Without a Dining Hall full of guests, the tables were spread apart and the room was turned into an indoor cornhole playing field. Jacob and Sydney were the eventual champions after some tight competition. Other games and scary movie watching ensued.
This morning is a bit lazier for the crew, the rare opportunity to sleep in and listen to the rain come down on wooden cedar shakes. Henry and Jacob decided to give the breakfast cooks a break. The rest of the day will have a preseason feel as we tackle some projects.
6:00 AM Update:
LeConte Lodge will continue to be closed to all overnight guests and day hikers for Sunday, Sept. 16th. All roads that provide access to the mountain have been closed. No reopening date has been announced at this time.
TS Florence began moving into the region overnight. Outer rain bands have been sweeping over Mt. LeConte with occasional gusts of wind. The heaviest rains are still on their way should Florence continue on its current track. The wind advisory remains in effect until 4:00 PM this evening. Yesterday’s high temp was 59 degrees with a low of 54 this morning. 0.4” of rain has fallen so far with the storm.
We will provide updates on the weather and closure through the day. Please be safe if you are in Florence’s path.
2:30 PM Update:
GSMNP has issued a news release with additional closures in preparation of Tropical Storm Florence starting later today. Cherokee Orchard and Roaring Fork Roads will be joining Newfound Gap and Greenbrier Roads to be closing at 8:00 PM this evening. All approach trails to Mt. LeConte will be inaccessible at that point and will remain as such until the NPS lifts the closure. We remain in cloud cover with winds starting to pick back up again. Temps remain mild in camp.
12:00 PM Update:
LeConte Lodge is now officially closed to all visitors for the Tropical Storm event. A reopening date has not been determined by the NPS at this time. US 441 is still scheduled to close at 8:00 PM tonight.
A current wind advisory goes into effect starting at 4:00 PM today and lasts until 4:00 PM Sunday. Sustained winds of 40 mph with possible gusts of 60 mph are being forecasted for our area. Several inches of rain are still possible on the mountain. Yesterday’s high temp was 63 degrees and our low was 53. We picked up 0.1” of rainfall from showers not yet associated with Florence.
7:00 AM Update:
Beginning at NOON today, LeConte Lodge will be CLOSED to all visitors. There will be NO hosting of overnight guests and NO day hiker services provided during this closure. Business will resume as normal once GSMNP permits it.
DO NOT PUT YOURSELF OR OTHERS AT RISK BY IGNORING THESE CLOSURES!
The latest conditions forecasted for the higher elevations and this region still pose a significant threat for causing floods, landslides, and downed trees. Winds atop Mt. LeConte have been picking up over the last 12 hours and should continue to do so. Conditions remain cloudy with temps in the 50s.
We will continue to provide updates on the tropical storm and the closure as they happen. If you are in Florence’s path, please stay safe.
Starting at NOON Saturday, September 15th, LeConte Lodge will be CLOSED to all overnight guests and day hiker services. US 441 Newfound Gap Road will close at 8:00 PM Saturday to all traffic. Hurricane Florence is expected to unload the most wind and rain over the region throughout Sunday and possibly into Monday, which could likely extend the closure. Our Reservations Office is attempting to contact guests with reservations on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at this time. Weather conditions call for sustained winds of 40 mph with locally higher gusts along the peaks, and potential rain accumulation of 4-8” through the storm’s duration. This poses an increased risk for downed trees, flooding, and landslides across an already saturated mountain that has received above average rainfall for the year. It’s possible that GSMNP officials permit the reopening of LeConte Lodge sooner OR later depending on how Florence tracks. We will continue to provide updates on weather conditions and closures as they relate to Mt. LeConte.
7:30 AM Update:
It’s a beautiful morning on the mountain, getting to enjoy a complete a sunrise for the first time in a while. Temps have been consistent with previous days. No changes to the weekend outlook at this time as it pertains to our ability to continue to serve guests. We are expecting a decision from the NPS later on their course of action for the hurricane. Again, if we are told to close during the storm, we will work speedily to notify everyone affected. Stay tuned for more news throughout the day.
5:30 PM Update:
Our outlook remains the same at this time. There are too many uncertainties in the forecast for our area. We hope to have a better idea from the NPS tomorrow morning in regards to potential closures. Stay tuned.
6:30 AM Update:
This past evening turned out to be one of the clearer night skies we’ve had in a while, stars above and city lights below all twinkling in unison. By 6:00 AM the mountain quickly developed a cap cloud so bye-bye constellations. Yesterday ended up being a toasty day for September with a high of 70 degrees. Our low was 52, and for one brief moment we had 0.15” of rain pour down. Here we are just 5” of rainfall away from an average year on Mt. LeConte, and we have 3.5 months left in the calendar. Who knows, Hurricane Florence may get us there.
On that note, the park, and in turn LeConte Lodge, are making preparations in case there is a closure of roads, trails, and facilities in the coming days. If one were to happen, it could be as early as Friday to allow people enough time to clear out of the backcountry. Folks wondering what that looks like can refer to last September’s blog posts around the time of Hurricane Irma. For now though, we remain open and ready to serve.
As things develop, we will let you know the latest here on this blog and our reservations office will quickly notify guests booked for this weekend so they can plan accordingly.
So far it has been an enjoyable day to be on the mountain. When the sun breaks a hole in the clouds you can feel the heat, but the autumn like breezes are keeping things comfortable. We received a meager 0.05” of rainfall yesterday, merely a compilation of light mists. Our temps continue to bounce between 50s and 60s.
We’re still waiting on official word from the NPS in regards to the pending hurricane. If Florence tracks this direction, it could mean a significant amount of wind and rain. Such conditions could lead to temporary closures of park roads, trails, and facilities. If LeConte Lodge falls into that scope, we will of course notify guests with reservations of any changes as quickly as possible. Please continue to follow GSMNP and LeConte Lodge social media to stay current.
Boy does it feel great up here! Yesterday’s temps were stellar and fairly consistent all day. Our high came out to be only 58 degrees accompanied by a low of 54. Sure enough we’re at 55 during breakfast prep. The mountain was in and out of rain clouds all day, with the most significant downpour happening after dinner. In total we gained another 1” of rainfall.
Amazingly the clouds capping the mountain broken around dusk allowing us to catch colors between the layers higher up in the atmosphere and the layer of fog blanketing Sevier County below. We’re socked in currently but salmon hues are teasing us.
Have a great day.
The rough weather held out for a good portion of the day, but it eventually found us. The mountain tallied 0.85" of rainfall. Outside of that, the conditions felt fabulous up top, a lower humidity making a huge difference. Even the chipper llamas took note. Yesterday's high temp was 65 and our low was 54. There is a chance of scattered rain showers again today.
Hurricane Florence appears to be tracking toward the eastern US and our region of Appalachia. Strong wind and rains this weekend could have an adverse effect on trails and roads. We'll keep providing updates to you as guests and followers as we receive them from the NWS and NPS.
Have a great start 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!