November 17, 2021
We’re down to the last week of the season, which means a number of lasts to experience for guests before we shut our doors for the winter. One last week of meals, one last week for getting “I hiked it” merchandise, and one last week to soak up some stunning sunsets before snuggling into a cozy cabin. The mountain spent much of yesterday in the clouds, and today’s conditions could have us inside, above, or below varying cloud layers intermixed with splashes of sun. Temps are going to be incredibly mild up top today and we should have no problem tapping the mid 50s this afternoon. This unusual warm spell won’t last long though given what’s on deck for Thursday. Rain is expected to arrive tomorrow afternoon and with it a steady descent in temps. In fact we could see a 35-40° drop from Wednesday’s high to Friday morning’s low. So if you’re staying with us these next couple days, come prepared for the major swing. As recently discussed, the winds will also continue to play a factor, gusting as much as 30mph today and up to 40mph tomorrow. Best to enjoy the warmth and sunshine today as it might be the last of its kind until next spring! There isn’t much left in the way of fall color in the mountains these days. What little remains has been relegated to the lowest reaches of the foothills and gateway communities. With the leaves turning so much later this year though, it’d be no surprise if some of our neighboring states to the south get to enjoy a more colorful Thanksgiving weekend than one is used to.
Have a great day.
November 16, 2021
Already more than halfway through November and closing in on turkey day fast. We’re also on the favorable side of the freezing mark again, as temps took a plunge around supper time but have slowly been marching upward since dusk. We’re already in the upper 30s for daybreak and should easily spend most of our time in the 40s the next 48 hours. The top is socked in thick with clouds at the moment, but we’re hoping for some gaps of sunshine later on today. The winds will continue to be around with occasional gusts of 25mph. Should be a wonderful day to ramble in the woods. What colors are absent from the trees are being made up for by the ever-changing skies. These cold temps of late have really cleared the air providing detailed definition of the distant landscapes.
Have a great day.
November 15, 2021
There are numerous reasons the lodge doesn’t operate during the winter months, and it’s days like these so close to the end of the season that remind us why. The mountain top is a frigid place to be at the moment. Just as the oven was cranking out the heat as best it could to perk the morning coffee, the thermometer kept tumbling downward. The dial bottomed out at 14° this morning, and with gusts cutting through cabins and trees, the wind chill factor had us experiencing temps at or just below 0. Our coldest conditions at the lodge since April and the most bone-chilling the air has been all autumn by far. To make up for it, thankfully, the skies continue to be clear and mostly sunny, offering up limitless views and vivid colors at dusk and dawn. We’re creeping back up near the freezing mark and could tap the mid 30s later this afternoon, but with this persistent wind it won’t much matter. In fact, the next several days the gusts forecasted are expected to maintain their speed at 25mph. So load up on the layers and protective shells to retain warmth and keep the cutting winds at bay. We have a few more days of sun on the docket before wet conditions return by Thursday.
Reminder that beginning tonight guests staying overnight will be served supper at 6:00. Ever since the time change, visitors have the opportunity to catch a sunrise from either Myrtle Point or the closer Apollo Overlook before breakfast is served at 8:00. And for these remaining nine days (yes, single digits now) of the season our gift shop hours will be 8:30-9:15 and 12:00-5:00.
Stay warm, hike smart, and have a great rest of the day.
November 14, 2021
It was a chilly Saturday on the mountain, one that never saw us overtake the freezing mark despite the all-day sunshine. At one point the thermometer dipped as low as 22°, and when you factor in some of yesterday’s breezes, the air certainly would have felt like it was in the teens. We’re getting a nice break from the cold already this morning. Who knew that 33° and rising would feel like a balmy heat wave? There is a solid chance we reach the 40s this afternoon, combined with another sunny sky, today will make for some fantastic outdoor exploration. Be wary though, as tonight temps will once again plummet to what could be their lowest of the autumn season thus far. With the possibility of getting down into the low 20s plus 35mph gusts, folks could endure single digit wind chills. So don’t skimp on the layers and certainly protect the extremities.
It’s amazing (not a in a good way) how many people seem to overlook bringing hats and gloves with them in these conditions. With the wealth of information available in this day and age, ignorance is no excuse for coming into the backcountry unprepared, especially when a lack of preparation can put your own well-being and that of others at risk. We’re getting into the time of year where attempting firsts or “winging it” presents more and greater challenges and hazards. In 10 days time our doors are closed for several months. That means no visitors services, no shelter, no food, only you and the raw elements of nature. And should you come into difficulty, there is no guarantee for any type of rescue, at least in a timely manner, with fewer people visiting the park or those available to assist. So please, be smart out there when it comes to planning visits to the mountain. It isn’t going anywhere.
Beginning tomorrow, we will be moving guest supper service up to 6:00. This still leaves folks with plenty of time to make the trek back down from sunset at Cliff Tops before supper. All other service hours will remain as is.
Have a great end to the week.
November 13, 2021
It’s a chilly day on the mountain. The forecast did a quick switch-a-roo on us and ended up throwing some snow flurries our way late last night. Guests woke up to a dusting of snow on most surfaces and a thin layer of frost on the trees. Temps have been frigid, dipping down into the low 20s before factoring in the wind chill. The lowlands are socked in but the lodge has been basking in sunshine above the cloud sea all morning. Even with the clear skies, we’ll be lucky to reach the freezing mark this afternoon, so it’s going to remain quite brisk at least until tomorrow. Air movement will be calm today, but pick up again for Sunday with gusts up to 35mph possible. The extended forecast continues to show an exemplary stretch of sunny skies, which will make for a great final week and a half of the season. Should be a busy Saturday in the Smokies once again. Tomorrow is the annual Loop-Lope taking place at Cades Cove, so it’s possible that visitor traffic being diverted from there increases congestion elsewhere in the park, namely around Mt. LeConte.
Have a great weekend.
November 12, 2021
The rain has come and gone, all happening during the night. And with it, a plunge in our mountain top temperatures. Yesterday held the cool down off as long as it could, but our mild days are behind us now. Our low this morning was 26°, and we can count on more wake-ups just like it over the coming days. Fortunately we get to welcome back abundant sunshine this Friday as the skies are clear. This afternoon we could see a high temp in the lower 40s. The winds are going to be persistent, gusting up around 30mph, so the wind chill factors are going to keep conditions feeling quite brisk this weekend. Watch for slick spots on trail in the morning hours of you get an early start as we trudge through the daily freeze/thaw cycles known this time of year. We’re entering our penultimate weekend of the season, and with such delightful weather in the forecast and some lingering autumn color in the lowest reaches of the park, expect more traffic congestion around the mountain.
Have a great day.
November 11, 2021
Hold on to your hats because it’s going to be a blustery day in the mountains. We are currently under a Wind Advisory until 7:00 PM this evening which forecasts sustained winds of 20-30mph out of the south, accompanied by gusts upwards of 45mph. Tonight and into tomorrow their strength will subside some but not much. Since the warmer air appears to have the upper hand regarding the incoming storm system, we are most likely to only see liquid precip and none of the fluffy stuff. The rain is expected to start up around supper time and last through the evening. After that, skies will clear for a pleasant start to the weekend, but temps are going to drop mightily with the cold front. So folks hiking the mountain today should plan for wet, and everyone this weekend needs to prepare for cold. At this time all roads and trails accessing the mountain are open, but don’t be surprised if these winds create some new obstructions leading to temporary road closures. As always, if you come across any new hazards on trail be sure and let us and/or the NPS know so that the matter can be addressed promptly. We’ve only got less than two weeks to go in the season, but it’s important attempts are made to keep the paths as clear and safe as possible for guests with reservations.
A special thank you to all the veterans out there, and their families, marking this important day that honors all those who have served. Your commitment and sacrifice on behalf of our country is greatly appreciated.
Have a great day.
November 10, 2021
Another day of sunshine you say? We’ll take it! Viewing layers upon layers of endless mountains in the distance is just a sight that never gets old with such superb conditions. Visitors will get treated to one more day just like it before the skies start to sour later tonight. Temps once again today will range from the 40s to 50s at the lodge, in which an extra layer might only be necessary for the shaded places. The ebb and flow of winds the mountain has endured this past week will continue, with some of the higher gusts near 40mph set for this evening. And with them will come the slashing rains expected to last throughout Veterans Day. Despite prior predictions, the forecast now indicates that we shouldn’t have to worry about any snow or ice tomorrow thankfully. Mt. LeConte is no stranger to the early gales of November, but we’re fine with leaving the freezing rain and hurricane west winds to Superior on this day. Once we get through tomorrow, we’ll be spoiled with another fabulous weekend of weather, so expect the Smokies leaf-peeping crowds to return once more. About all the color that’s left on the trees is relegated to the lowest elevations. Our mountain is primed and ready for winter with its blanket of grey and green.
Have a great day.
November 9, 2021
What a fabulous day in the outdoors yesterday turned out to be. You’d think summer was making a comeback with how pleasant it felt up top and down right toasty down below. We’re slated to enjoy at least two more days of such unseasonably delightful weather before conditions turn less favorable midweek. Visitors can expect highs in the 50s and lows in the 40s with plenty of sunshine now until Thursday. Winds will continue to have a strong presence during the evening hours, gusting as much as 20mph tonight and 30mph tomorrow night.
We continue to gather trail intel as we head into the final two weeks of the season. Trails that are clear of any obstructions from top to bottom include Alum Cave and Trillium Gap. Rainbow Falls and The Boulevard are said to have one tree down each, both of which are passable for the average hiker. Bull Head has officially been reopened with a major hazard having been addressed, but there are still a number of trees down there that could pose hurdles. Brushy Mountain, the least taken of all paths, also has a few downed trees.
Have a great day.
November 8, 2021
Whst a gorgeous weekend it was on the mountain, and now this second week of November is starting off perhaps even better. Guests once again were treated to sunny skies, starry nights, and stunning transitions at both dawn and dusk. Temps climbed up into the 40s during the day, with only the wind adding a chill to the air. These next few days will see warmer temps across the region in which we might see afternoon highs in the 50s and overnight lows stay above freezing. It’ll still be breezy at times with gusts around 20mph. By Veterans Day, a nasty cold front will push through bringing much colder temps and turbulent weather. How it tracks will determine if we see just rain or a mixture of precip types come Thursday and Friday. Until then, enjoy these delightful days ahead, since they might be some of the warmest we experience up top for the remainder of 2021.
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!