October 31, 2021
Happy Halloween to all on this fittingly dark and dreary Sunday. While the rain showers linger and dense clouds hold tight, there will be an eerie appearance to the Smokies’ upper elevations much of today. Later on a partial clearing is expected across the region, but as we know all to well, Mt. LeConte could be the last to bid farewell to the grey veil. Temps are sticking close to the freezing mark to start, but we could creep up into the lower 40s by this afternoon. Winds won’t quite be howling like a wolf today, but their presence could make the hairs on the back of one’s neck stand up, gusting upwards of 25mph and adding an extra chill to the air. Once we roll into the new week, and new month, conditions for our mountain should be rather pleasant for a few days, offering up sunshine and slightly better temperatures.
Trails will continue to be wet and slick today until the sun can assist with the drying out process. So step smartly as you traverse the mountain today, possibly navigating some new obstructions from our recent storm. The NPS has seen fit to temporarily close the Bull Head Trail due to the beating it took this week. There is no timetable for when it will be addressed and deemed safe for travel. So visitors looking to access the lodge from Cherokee Orchard will be relegated to using Rainbow Falls or Trillium Gap further up along the Roaring Fork.
Have a great end to the month.
October 30, 2021
It’s going to be a wet and dreary Saturday, with little change in the overall conditions up top. Rain is in the forecast from start to finish today, with temps hovering just above freezing. We caught glimpses of our first snow flakes of the autumn season yesterday among the persistent drizzle and rain, but the rest of the weekend appears as though it’ll stay too warm to catch many more. The rain showers should linger into the first half of Sunday before skies attempt to clear. Winds are going to remain breezy for the next several days, with gusts upwards of 25mph at times. That’s going to keep things feeling extra chilly up here, even if the thermometer reads higher than 32°, so be smart and layer up to stay warm and dry if you insist on visiting the summit in these conditions.
US 441 (Newfound Gap Rd), Cherokee Orchard, and Roaring Fork roads were all reopened yesterday. Big kudos to the NPS road crews for attacking it all and providing access to visitors. We’ll be returning to a 5:20 PM supper time for this evening’s overnight guests. We’re still gathering intel on each of our approach trails after the major wind event on Thursday. We’ve learned of a number of trees down on a few of them, but we can at least confirm that Trillium Gap is clear from top to bottom. In order to keep those farm fresh eggs coming, got to make sure the path is clear for our awesome llamas!
Have a great day.
October 29, 2021
US 441 (Newfound Gap Rd) and Cherokee Orchard are still temporarily closed, but NPS crews will be actively assessing and clearing roadways this morning. Now that the wind advisory has long since expired, and the weather conditions today are less daunting, there is great optimism that some or all roads accessing Mt. LeConte’s trails will be reopened today. Overnight guests with reservations hoping for an early start may need to exercise some patience during this process, in which case there should still be ample time to make the climb today. Continue to follow the links at the bottom of this page for up-to-date information regarding park roads.
The mountain will be experiencing intermittent rain showers and clouds throughout the day. Temps are currently in the upper 30s, and should drop slightly as the day progresses. There is still the potential for a mix of rain and snow showers this evening across the upper elevations, but little to no accumulation is expected should any flurries start to fly. Winds will still be present today and tomorrow with gusts upwards of 25mph. Rain and snow shower chances will persist into Sunday morning, so count on sloppy conditions for the majority of this weekend. Again, double check that your hiking gear is appropriate for spending a great deal of time in wet and cold conditions. Overnight guests have the luxury of having a warm and cozy cabin waiting for them. Day hikers do not, especially with current health and safety protocols still in place. So day hikers, please be responsible and come prepared for spending your entire day outside in the wind and rain should you feel so compelled to visit the mountain this weekend in such sour elements.
Be safe and and have a great day.
October 28, 2021
Update 10:00 AM
Cherokee Orchard Road has been temporarily closed at the park boundary due to the high winds. This obviously includes Roaring Fork as well. There is no timetable for when these roads or US 441 (Newfound Gap Rd) will reopen. Visitors already on trail should use caution en route to and from the lodge. Visitors departing the mountain should be prepared for potential delays if there are downed trees obstructing the roadways that are yet to be cleared. Visitors should contact the NPS if assistance is needed exiting the park.
Well here we are with under four weeks to go in the season, and October is set to go out with a roar. Let’s get right to it…
US 441 (Newfound Gap Road) is closed due to high winds. There’s no timetable for when it will reopen. Visitors still have access to the trails out of Cherokee Orchard at this time.
These next several days are going to bring in varying forms of nasty conditions. Our region has now been upgraded to a High Wind Warning that lasts from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM today. Sustained winds of 20-40mph with gusts of 70mph are expected over the mountains. Air movement will remain quite breezy straight through the weekend, although not as strong as what’s expected today. Scattered rain bands will be lashing the Smokies a good bit today with a possiblebreak in the action during the afternoon hours. Temps will remain mild for the most part, and the lodge could reach the 50s for a high. But by tonight, conditions will begin to sour and cool. Friday through Sunday will experience temps in the 30s and 40s and bring a sloppy mix of rain and snow showers. This could add to the list of possible road closures later, especially if trees still with leaves get bogged down by the weight of wet snow causing them to fall. Currently little to no accumulation is expected, but better to be prepared for slick conditions.
All guests need to evaluate their gear and make sure you have everything you need to make a safe and comfortable ascent of the mountain. That means appropriate traction for slick trails, and adequate layers to stay dry and warm, especially since the hike up will take longer without Alum Cave as an option. Make sure you have plenty of snacks and hydration to stay fueled up, and remember those flashlights in case the sun drops and you’re still on trail.
We will continue to provide updates as it relates to changing road and trail conditions. Stay safe out there!
October 27, 2021
It’s setting up to be a beautiful sunny day across the Smokies, and the autumn colors throughout the middle elevations are still in their prime. Today could be the last day to really enjoy the show before the weather conditions turn yucky over the next several days. Temps are starting out chilly, but this afternoon the summit should reach the mid 50s. By tonight skies are expected to thicken up with clouds before things turn interesting for Thursday.
A High Wind Watch has been issued for Thursday from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. During that time the mountains could experience sustained winds of 20-40mph with gusts upwards of 60mph possible. Due to the mass of arctic air pushing down into the southern appalachians, these winds will also be joined by a nasty mix of rain showers that could mix with snow. At this point, little to no accumulation is expected, but these types of conditions can still create hazards on trail or while driving. So use extra caution if surfaces turn slick and when visibility gets reduced. For Friday, the winds will ease up some, but the rain and snow shower chances will still linger well into Saturday. Temperatures around the lodge will likely hover between the 30s and 40s for the duration. Hikers should have alternate plans ready in case the NPS decides to close any park roads, namely US 441 (Newfound Gap Rd) because of the high winds or falling temps. It’s not unusual for that to happen this time of year, so if Alum Cave is not accessible, be sure and get an early start should one have to ascend any of the trails out of Cherokee Orchard.
Beginning this evening, guest supper will be served starting at 5:20 PM Eastern to continue allowing folks time to attend sunset. All other visitor service times will remain as is, with the gift shop open until 4:30 and beverages for overnight guests happening from 1:30-4:30. We will likely make another shift at the start of the new month.
Have a great day.
October 26, 2021
It’s a cold, wet, cloudy, and breezy mountain top this Tuesday morning. The clouds have everything socked in from top to bottom currently, producing a fine but constant mist. So count on damp conditions for your hike until the skies decide to clear up. We got down to 30° overnight, but it just wasn’t enough to make the precip transition over to the white stuff. And the ground is still fairly warm enough that any liquid precip is still running down the mountain. Conditions are expected to improve throughout the afternoon and especially tomorrow. But don’t be fooled by the return of the sunshine, as the winds are going to remain strong thru the week and temps tonight could fall into the 20s. Thursday onward is still looking pretty sour, despite the forecast easing back on the snow shower chances.
Friendly reminder to those who secured reservations for the 2022 season that if you haven’t paid for your booking yet, please do not wait until November 1st to do so. Phone lines run the potential of being tied up with callers looking to snag cancellations, and so you run the risk of not getting through to remit
payment by the deadline. So please take advantage of these remaining weekdays in October to contact our dedicated reservations team while the lines are open.
Have a great day.
October 25, 2021
Well the weather for this final week of October is about to do a 180° turn on us. We’re going to go from warm and sunny to cold and yucky for what could be the majority of the week. Winds will be swirling on the regular, skies will be cloudy, rain showers will be lashing on occasion, and dare we say it…there are several days in the forecast now stating the possibility for our first snow chances of the autumn season. And the white fluffy stuff could fly as early as tomorrow depending on how the precip activity and temperature drops sync up. Conditions will start sunny and warm today, but once this first wave of storms enters the region around lunchtime, we can count on spending most of our time in the 30s and 40s this coming week. It is absolutely imperative that each visitor to the lodge evaluate their hiking gear before making the climb. If you don’t have the appropriate layers to keep you dry and warm, or the footwear to provide adequate traction on wet or icy surfaces, then you’re setting yourself up for a less than pleasant time on the trail. The closer we get to the end of the lodge season, the more apparent it becomes why we are closed during the winter months, and it all starts with safety. So please be smart if you plan on venturing out in the sloppy conditions that come to fruition these final weeks of the season.
Have a great day.
October 24, 2021
As anticipated, the mountains were hopping with visitors yesterday. And with some of the best weather of the autumn season so far, combined with the late arrival of changing leaves, you can’t blame anyone for wanting to seek out that Smoky Mountain magic. Today is set to be repeat of yesterday’s pleasantness, if not a little warmer. The lodge could top 60° later this afternoon as we climb out of the 40s. Air movement will start out on the calm side, but by tonight the skies will transition into more sour conditions. Monday kicks off the final week of October with strong storms and blustery winds possible. The current forecast calls for wind gusts upwards of 35mph tomorrow and solid rain chances much of the day. Tuesday sees the return of sunshine, but winds could still be strong over the mountains. So come ready for wet weather on the trail tomorrow. Hard to believe we’re down to one month remaining in the season. And already under eleven hours of daylight, so remember not to get caught out late without a flashlight or proper gear for the colder elements this time of year.
Have a great day.
October 23, 2021
We’ve reached the fourth of five October weekends, and this one might just be the best and busiest one yet. The skies are going to be clear with temps appropriate for the time of year. We’re expecting plenty of sunshine today and tomorrow, with overnight lows in the 40s and highs in the 50s. If there’s any atmospheric concern it’ll be related to the winds. Breezes will be light much of today, but by Sunday night they’ll be ramping up with gusts of 30mph possible in advance of the storms forecast for Monday. With the autumn leaf change now in full swing, one can count on travelers coming from near and far to admire the grand displays. The gateway communities and park roadways are sure to see a great deal of traffic congestion this weekend, so plan your routes and start times accordingly if that’s of concern. Newfound Gap Road and the Roaring Fork are popular anytime of year, but even more so this part of the autumn season, especially if you throw a bear sighting into the mix.
Have a great day.
October 22, 2021
Depending on where you are standing in the park this morning, you could either be in, above, below, or between cloud layers. Regardless, the rain appears to have moved on and now we’re just waiting on the rising sun to break up the fog party. It’s a cool start to this Friday along the peaks, with temps in the upper 30s. Improving conditions should help us reach the lower 50s this afternoon. Light winds are expected all weekend over the mountains. Saturday and Sunday should make for picture perfect days to explore the Smokies and really soak up the sun and changing colors. The middle elevations are certainly putting on a good show. From a distance, Mt. LeConte appears as though it’s wearing a golden sash around its waist. But once you get on trail and immerse yourself in the autumn beauty, don’t be surprised to see some stunning reds and oranges. Sure to be a busy weekend in the park, so it’s a good thing there are multiple trails accessing the lodge in case you want to avoid the crowded parking lots and footpaths.
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!