It’s another beautiful day high above the Smokies. With 55 days left in the season, it’s time to bid farewell to September and get psyched about the leaf change season that makes October famous. Skies are a bit cloudier and hazy today as temps have warmed in time for the weekend. We’ll spend much of the afternoon up in the 60s, and overnight lows will get down into the bottom 50s. Winds, if any, will be light over the mountain. Rain is expected to return come Saturday, with percentages for storms increasing each day after.
Tomorrow is the big day as booking reservations for the 2022 season officially begins. A couple helpful reminders:
*Beginning Friday, October 1st at 8:00 AM Eastern, phone lines will go active and written requests received prior to Sept. 27 will start being processed simultaneously. Our dedicated reservations team will work non-stop until 5:00 PM.
*No bookings will take place over the weekend. Bookings will resume at 8:00-5:00 Monday, October 4th.
*Due to our company’s COVID-19 safety protocols, we are NOT accepting any walk-in reservation requests. Do NOT come to our reservations office in an attempt to bypass the online written requests or phones.
*2022 bookings are processed exclusively at our reservations office via telephone and previously received written requests. Not at the lodge atop Mt. LeConte, not through any GSMNP visitor center, and not through this blog.
*Make sure to check your email’s spam folder for possible booking confirmations. Some domains filter emails from “@lecontelodge.com” differently than others. We don’t want you to miss out on time sensitive payment information.
We have received no indication that GSMNP or the lodge will be closed tomorrow despite the ongoing deliberations regarding a potential federal government shutdown. As soon as we learn of anything that could affect the visitor experience, we will of course share that information promptly. Repaving work is still happening around Alum Cave, so expect continued traffic congestion and limited parking in that vicinity today.
Have a great day and good luck to those vying for 2022 slots tomorrow!
We had yet another day filled with glorious sunshine over the mountains. We’re really getting spoiled as we wrap up the month of September, but it truly has been an appreciated change from what was a rainy and cloudy summer. The temps have been increasing steadily each day, but are still far from oppressive. The mornings are cool and crisp while the afternoon sun sees plenty of warmth and even the return of some humidity. Today we’re looking at the mid 40s to start and should easily jump into the mid 60s this afternoon. Light winds, if any, will pass over the peaks. As we scout the extended forecast, it appears as though our first rain chances in quite a while could happen sometime Saturday.
The Cades Cove loop road reopened to all traffic yesterday, so that could help relieve visitor congestion elsewhere in the park. The repaving work along US 441 (Newfound Gap Rd) is taking place right along the Alum Cave trailhead now, with single lane closures creating long delays and limited roadside parking causing prospective hikers to park further away or consider alternate trails to the summit. This could be the case for one or two more days until the day time repaving work takes a hiatus.
We are of course monitoring the situation surrounding a potential federal government shutdown beginning October 1 very closely. At this time, no details or instruction have been provided from the NPS, so we are unable to speculate as to what that could mean for the lodge should any kind of GSMNP closure occur. We will continue to provide information as we receive it, and of course move hastily to contact those guests whose reservations could be affected by a potential shutdown.
Have a great day.
More sunshine you say? We do say! Sunday was stunning with its clear blue skies and great visibility toward all horizons. Monday is looking like a repeat is on tap. Temps this morning are in the lower 40s, and we might actually witness a return to the 60s this afternoon. The mountain ash trees can be hit or miss with their leaf change, a muted gold at best, but their ripened berries are certainly adding a bright pop to the landscape this year. And with a bright blue backdrop, simply too tantalizing to look away.
Reminder that today is the last day to submit written requests for consideration when we start booking spaces for the 2022 season on October 1st. Any requests received after 4:00 PM today will not be considered until all those submitted before the deadline have been processed, of which there are thousands.
We will also be resuming some of our on-site maintenance projects this week with such great weather. So please pardon our noise and altered amenities while we make improvements to the visitor experience.
Have a great day.
As anticipated, Mt. LeConte was a busy place to be yesterday. And with more fine weather on tap, today could be more of the same. We’re starting off in the clouds this Sunday, but they are expected to lift and bring us more sunshine again today. Light winds will hang around the peaks. Temps are in the low 40s for breakfast and we ought to rise into the mid 50s this afternoon. We’re down to 12 hours of daylight now, with the sun setting before 7:30 PM. So make sure if you’re on a day hike you know when to turn around and depart the summit with enough light to get down. Especially if you aren’t use to treks in the dark.
Please join us in congratulating our own crew member, Austin Funderburg, on completing the Tour de LeConte Challenge yesterday. The nearly 45 mile escapade that traverses all six trails on the mountain in full, and incurring three summits, is not for the faint of heart. Austin has been preparing for the moment all season, actively hiking and running our trails every chance he gets. What makes his completion even more interesting is that it’s the first “reverse” Tour ever to be achieved to our knowledge. That is, starting and ending at the lodge instead of down below. So when the majority of completers at least have the assistance of gravity bringing them down the final stretch, imagine having to dig deep to make that last ascent after already covering 35+ miles. So kudos to Austin on a good show, knocking out the challenge in under 17.5 hours time. Austin now joins lodge employees Greg Donahue, John Northrup, Bonnie Northrup, and Phillip Clarkson as Tour champions.
Have a great weekend.
Outstanding doesn’t even begin to describe the weather enjoyed yesterday in these mountains. The air was calm and felt perfect against the skin, whether in the sun or shade. And the blue of the sky was captivatingly clear and rich. What’s so exciting is that we’re expecting an entire weekend just like it. There will be a little morning fog in places, but should clear up for the afternoon. Any winds today will be light. Temps are starting out in the upper 30s and we should jump into the mid 50s once the sun reaches its max height. Hiking in the Smokies at some of its finest!
Reminder that starting to day we have a few time changes for visitor services on account of the waning daylight hours.
*Supper for overnight guests will now be served at 5:45 PM. This will last for a couple weeks until we bump it up some more to help ensure guests have adequate time to enjoy their well earned meal and make the climb up for a famous Cliff Tops sunset. Breakfast will remain at 8:00 AM.
*Beverage service for overnight guests in the afternoon will now be from 1:45-4:45 PM. Coffee is still 7:30-8:00 AM every morning.
*Gift shop hours will now be 8:30-9:15 AM, and from 12:00-4:30 PM.
Have a great weekend.
It’s the last weekend of September, the first weekend of autumn, and it’s time to cue the sunshine! Yesterday welcomed the transition from wet and dreary to cool and clear. We’re in the chilly 30s again this morning but shouldn’t take long to warm up once the bright orb ascends over High Top. The forecast both short and long term still shows abundant sunshine, so one can expect the crowds to be flocking to the mountains this weekend. These mild sunny days and crisp, cool nights are going to provide the leaf change just the motivation they need to begin. One can see that the upper elevations are ready to transition given their faint yellow hue of the tree tops. Sort of like that golden brown on our delicious cornbread served up daily by our cooks.
Have a great day.
The wool blankets are being held a little tighter this morning, as the mountain top wakes up to temps in the lower 30s. Summer is long gone now! Clouds are still capping the peaks of the Smokies, but we should start to get some gradual clearing as the day progresses. Then it’s abundant and beautiful sunshine for what could be an enjoyably long stretch to kickstart autumn. Still going to be breezy today, which will only add to the chill in the air, as gusts upwards of 20mph are possible. Our high temp should get up around 50° this afternoon, but tonight we’ll expect to dip back down into the 30s.
As is typical once we reach the final two months of the season, the waning daylight hours and cooler temps can catch a number of day hikers and overnight guests off guard. It is critically important that you prepare for these rapidly changing conditions that at times could be life-threatening. Do not get fooled by clear and sunny skies during the day, because once that sun starts to descend, the temps plummet right along with it. Before you know it, you could be caught out on trail in the dark and without sufficient layers to stay warm. It is each hiker’s responsibility to bring the appropriate clothing and provisions to stay warm and dry, especially if you were to get hurt on trail miles and hours from help. There is never a guarantee that your phone will get a signal, another hiker will pass by, or that the lodge or NPS can send medically trained personnel in a timely manner. At that point you are at the mercy of whatever layers and gear you brought. So please do yourselves and those you have the potential to affect a huge favor and come prepared.
Thank you and have a great day.
So long summer and welcome to autumn! As we reach the nine-weeks-to-go mark for the season, one can literally see and feel the climate turning the page. We have one more day ahead of us with substantial winds, clouds, and rain, but by tonight conditions will quickly make heat and humidity a thing of the past. Scattered rain showers and thunderstorms will be present throughout the day, so come dressed for sloppy trail conditions. Winds are going to be strong again with gusts of 30mph today, 25mph tonight, and dropping to 20mph tomorrow as the cold front pushes everything out. Temps this morning will actually be close to our high for the next 24 hours, as they are expected to fall steadily with the approaching front. We’re talking 50s to start, but by tonight, say hello to the 30s. Despite all this moisture and precip, there isn’t great concern for ice formation underfoot yet because the ground will still be retaining its warmth for a while. Come tomorrow, we should witness the return of the sun making for a fabulous final week of September.
Have a great day.
It’s the last official day of summer on the calendar, and what a wet summer it has been for the mountain. Only fitting that we make the seasonal transition during a deluge. We’ve still got two solid days of steady precip to endure, and although the wind advisory is set to expire shortly after sunrise this morning, conditions will be breezy up top for a bit longer. Wind gusts today could tap 30mph, and even though they are expected to ease slightly this evening, they’ll pick back up tomorrow with gusts of 20mph possible. And with the scattered showers set to hang around through Wednesday, a couple more inches of rain are likely to fall. So continue to be diligent about how you prepare for your hike and use caution while outside in such elements. Temps are to remain fairly stable in the 50s until late tomorrow night when it appears the bottom of the thermometer will drop out, welcoming us to the 30s and what could be some of our coolest temps since spring. Another great way to welcome in the autumn season.
A couple important reminders as the month winds down:
*We’re down to the last week for submitting written requests to be included in the booking process for 2022 reservations that begins Friday, October 1st. Any requests received after 4:00 PM on Monday, September 27 will not be considered until all requests received during the open period have been processed. So get those requests in now to give yourself the best chance at securing a stay next season!
*We’re quickly approaching the time of year where less daylight means adjusting meal times. We know that enjoying a stellar sunset at Cliff Tops is a rewarding part of the lodge experience for overnight guests, so we shift our dinner service accordingly. Beginning this Saturday, September 25, guests will be served dinner at 5:45 PM. This will allow everyone adequate time to finish digesting a delicious meal before making the climb up to enjoy sunset. As our hardworking crew has a great many tasks to accomplish every morning before day hikers and the next round of guests arrive, we are unable to delay breakfast service for sunrise, so it will remain at 8:00 AM.
*Starting this Saturday, a slight adjustment to our morning gift shop hours will also be taking place. Early rising day hikers or overnight guests about to depart will have an opportunity make souvenir purchases from 8:30-9:15 AM daily. Afternoon gift shop hours will stay at 12:00-4:30 PM.
Have a great day and stay dry out there.
Rain and increasing wind continue to hound the mountain, a status not likely to change much the first half of this new week. Depending on how the scattered showers strike, a few more inches of liquid precip are possible over the coming days which is going to keep trails soggy and cause the creeks to run higher than average. Winds today could gust as high as 35mph this afternoon, with the strongest surge happening this evening as the forecast calls for 45mph gusts. Conditions will still be breezy leading into Tuesday but should improve as that day progresses. Temps are going to hang around in the 50s and gradually cool with each passing day this week. We could be looking at overnight lows in the 30s by this weekend, temps that will surely kick the autumn leaf change into gear. With the saturated surface soil and strong winds, please pay extra close attention to your surroundings during the hike, and please make studious notes of any downed trees on trail. It’s important that any new obstructions or hazards get addressed promptly for safe passage of hikers and our llamas.
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!