Good Morning, Y’all!
I’m sure that by now you realize that every day that I’m on Mt LeConte is a great day! Well, today is no exception. The skies are clear and the temperature is already 38 degrees. Yesterday’s high was only 31 degrees and the low last night was 20 degrees. The trails are already packed snow and we’re sure to see some melting today which will turn to ice tonight. Needless to say, traction devices are highly recommended!
You should be aware that the
Park Service has advised us that the road to Cherokee Orchard will be closed on Wednesday, December 6th, for maintenance. This means that there will be no access to the Rainbow Falls, Bullhead, and Trillium Gap trailheads on that day.
I had an unusual experience yesterday—I met an eight month old day hiker! Of course he was carried by his father, but I believe that’s the youngest person that I have met on LeConte. It’s good to get ‘em started early!
Good Morning, Everyone!
I’m enjoying a Wonderful Wednesday up here on top of our favorite mountain. It’s clear and cold this morning, so I was able to observe an almost full moon as it set in the west as I was walking to my “office”.
Yesterday’s high temperature was 20 degrees and the low was 10.7 degrees, so there wasn’t a lot of snow melt up here on top!
I saw five hikers on top yesterday. Three were wearing traction devices—the other two wished that they were! They reported that the snow and ice starts soon after you pass Alum Bluff. Today’s clear skies and sunshine will probably melt enough snow that the trails will be really icy tomorrow morning. Be sure to prepare accordingly and be safe!
A quick heads up to anyone looking to snag some LeConte swag from our online store for some holiday shopping. Right now we are advising folks hoping to receive their goods in time for Christmas Day to place their orders no later than December 14. Of course, we have no control over the shipments once they’re in the hands of the USPS, so best not wait to get those orders placed for unique items like our 2023 ornament!
Good Morning, Friends!
It’s a terrific Tuesday up here on Mt LeConte. A wee bit on the chilly side perhaps—currently 14 degrees, up from an overnight low of 11 degrees. Yesterday’s high was 24 degrees, so the one inch of snow didn’t melt much!
I’m playing a game of trying to use up left overs as quickly as possible before they spoil. What is the fastest way to use up ten ripe bananas? Banana bread—so yesterday I learned to make banana bread! I think that it turned out fairly well .
If you are planning to take a hike today, dress warmly—remember that mittens are warmer than gloves!
Good Morning, Folks!
It’s looking like this will be a bright, sunny day on Mt LeConte! But be advised that the morning temperature up here on top is only 18 degrees, making this one of the coldest mornings that we’ve experienced so far this season.
The top of the mountain received a little over an inch of dry powder snow last night. The trails are not too slick—yet. But when the snow starts to melt, I can guarantee that you will really appreciate your traction devices. So if you are planning to hike up to the top of LeConte, it would be best to come prepared!
Good Morning to Y’all!
The skies over Mt LeConte were clear at sunrise this ￼morning for the first time in a week, but now just three hours later the mountain is covered with clouds. This will go to show you just how quickly the weather conditions can change up here! It is very important that you are prepared for anything and everything when you start your hikes!
Be advised that there are a couple of blowdowns that have been reported on the Boulevard Trail since the recent high winds.
I’m enjoying the morning while sitting in the kitchen and listening to Southern Bluegrass Gospel music on the radio. This has become my regular Sunday morning routine up here on the mountain.
I’m expecting a visit today from a friend of mine who was a winter caretaker here at the Lodge in 1973 and 1974. I always enjoy hearing his stories about the “good old days “ on Mt LeConte.
I hope that you have a blessed day!
It’s looking like it will be another awesome day on Mt LeConte! After the clouds finally cleared away about noon, yesterday’s high temperature was 48 degrees and last night’s low temperature was 27 degrees.
The skies are clear again, so today should be another great day to “take a hike “! LeConte had visitors yesterday from all over the world—one couple hailed from London, England.
No rain is forecast again for the next few days. However, we do need the precipitation to help get our springs flowing normally again and to get the fire ban lifted for the area.
Good morning, everyone!
Thanksgiving was a glorious day on Mt LeConte, and today appears to be starting out almost as nice. The day’s highest temperature yesterday was 40 degrees. The trails are mostly clear, but there may still be a few icy spots where the trails are shaded.￼
LeConte had clear skies yesterday, but looking toward Clingman’s Dome and Newfound Gap North Carolina appeared to be blanketed by clouds.
Today should be another great day to get out of your house and on the trails to try to work off some of that Thanksgiving dinner that you enjoyed yesterday!
Good Morning and Happy Thanksgiving!
We have much to be thankful for this fine morning on the mountain. Between the chaotic weather and our annual shutting down of the lodge for winter, it was an exciting finish. Over the past few days Mt. LeConte has had to endure sunshine and warmth, clouds and hurricane-force winds, rain, sleet, snow, and sub-freezing temps. All made for an interesting sendoff of this season’s final guests and of course our crew, who were all grateful to find roads open and trails clear in time for making a safe descent.
About the time the final deadbolt was thrown and the last drain unplugged, yesterday’s nagging mist eventually transitioned to flurries. The flakes that fell were certainly on the wet side, but the thermometer dipped low enough that accumulation began to form on the ground and trees at the lodge all the way down to about 5,000’ in elevation. Odds are that the warm earth and recent rains have helped to keep trails clear of snow and ice, but conditions can still be quite slick with lingering wet surfaces. It’s life above a cloud sea this morning, and the rising sun is sure to help us warm up and dry out in time for the holiday. Clouds may thicken over the peaks later today, but the next few days are looking ripe for fun outdoor exploration. Temps are expected to range from 30s to 40s.
Just remember that now the lodge is closed, there are absolutely zero services available to visitors until late March 2024. Caretakers maintain the pit privies at the far west end of camp daily, but there is no indoor shelter, no water from spigots, no snacks, and no shirts to buy. Hikers during the winter off-season are 100% responsible for researching forecast conditions, coming prepared with the proper gear and provisions, and assuming all risks of which there are inherently more between now and next spring.
We’d like to take this moment to give thanks to everyone who contributed to another successful season. There are so many wonderful people who put in hard work both on the front lines and behind the scenes to make this rustic experience as unique and memorable as it is. If you were someone who managed to spend a night with us this season or even just came up on an afternoon ramble, then you got a chance to witness how special a crew we had this season. From our on-site staff who clean the beds, sell the merchandise, and cook the meals, to the daily grinders who lead our beloved llamas up and down with provisions and tend to their every need when out to pasture, as well as our fine administrative staff and reservationists with Stokely Hospitality Enteprises, we are blessed to have so many caring and committed people among our ranks year after year.
And most importantly, thank you to our dear patrons and wilderness lodging enthusiasts for taking the time to pay us a visit this year or follow along virtually. Meeting new people and welcoming back those who’ve visited before really sets this experience high above the Smokies apart from the rest. It was our sincere pleasure to host you this 99th season in lodge history, and we are most excited about seeing what grand season number 100 has in store.
From our team to your family and friends, have a safe and prosperous holiday season!
Update: GSMNP WEATHER CLOSURE TURNED REOPENING
Conditions atop Mt. LeConte and across the Smokies are slowly but surely improving, enough so that NPS personnel have been able to safely start assessing roads and facilities this afternoon. Several popular points of interest are in the process of being reopened, if they hadn’t been already. Folks eager to access trails out of Cherokee Orchard may now do so, although the one-way loop around Roaring Fork remains closed at this time. And of great concern to many, US 441 (Newfound Gap Rd) is scheduled to be reopened this evening as well, once again allowing passage between TN and NC. This latest news has everyone who’s been sheltering up here excited.
The winds have eased off significantly in the last few hours. The rain seemed to gain strength throughout the day but it too has finally let up. With this storm the mountain has received close to 2” thus far, exactly what was predicted and very much needed. Our smothering cloud remains in place obscuring any views just yet while also still producing a fine mist. Temps continue to hover in the mid 40s. Now that we’ve cleared some weather hurdles, it’s on to the next big question…will we wake up to snow in the morning?
You’ll know when we know! Have a great evening.
Update: GSMNP WEATHER CLOSURE
We have been informed that the NPS will not be reopening park roads today…at least those that provide access to Mt. LeConte’s trailheads. For all intents and purposes, LeConte Lodge is now closed for the winter season.
Strong winds and rain showers continue to pound the summit. The mountain remains cloudy with temps in the lower 40s.
We will continue to provide updates as we receive new information.
We are in the thick of it now! These last few hours before sunrise have seen the storm’s highest intensity as it relates to wind and rain thus far. Although the rainfall itself hasn’t been constant or heavy yet, its occasional pitter-patter is comforting enough in getting things wet. The winds are certainly rolling through as advertised, with speeds and sounds consistent with hurricane strength. The forecast has recently elevated possible max wind gusts to 100mph over the mountain! If the lodge were sitting on an airport tarmac with the constant hum of jet engines overhead, that would best describe our current predicament. The Red Flag Warning is set to expire at noon today, while the High Wind Warning will drag on into the afternoon. It will be several more hours yet before these raging winds ease off at our elevation. Rain is expected to last all day and linger into tomorrow. The possibility of snow showers come Wednesday remains. Temps are reading in the mid 30s to lower 40s today, but the windchills will have it feeling significant colder across the board.
Reminder that we are essentially closed today to any new guests or day visitors. Due to the extreme weather conditions and (now dissipating) fire threat, numerous GSMNP roads and facilities are closed until further notice, which includes all those accessing Mt. LeConte’s base. Lodge guests who made the climb yesterday and stayed with us have the option of sheltering in place another night, or hiking back down at their own risk. There are still several unknowns and risks as it relates to trail or road conditions at this time, or how quickly the NPS will be able to safely assess and attempt to reopen areas of the park. Hopefully by Wednesday morning, if not tonight, conditions have improved enough that travelers can more safely and effectively enter and exit the park. By that point, we will be officially closed for the winter anyways, and visitor services at the lodge will not resume until March 2024.
We will provide updates or new instruction from the NPS as we receive it. Stay safe and have a great day.
Update: GSMNP CLOSURE FOR WEATHER
Beginning at 1:00 PM this afternoon, the NPS will be closing numerous roads and facilities inside the national park due to the inclement weather and associated hazards. This includes all roads and trails providing access to Mt. LeConte and LeConte Lodge. All day hikers will need to vacate the park as soon as possible.
Guests already on trail today will have their reservations honored. Once here, all guests will be asked to shelter in place, as will all lodge staff.
On Tuesday, November 21st, the lodge will be closed to all “new” guests. Our reservations office is in the process of contacting all those folks affected by tomorrow’s safety closure. Guests staying Monday will have the option of sheltering in place at the lodge a second night or departing the mountain at their own risk. The NPS will only assess roads and trails when it is deemed safe to do so, which might not be until Tuesday afternoon or evening.
Rain is expected to transition to snow sometime Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. The lodge officially closes for the winter on Wednesday.
We will provide updates as soon as we receive new information. Thank you for understanding and support.
These final two nights of the season are setting up to be anything but uneventful. Please take a gander at the mountain’s weather forecast and plethora of pending warnings and watches for our area…
A High Wind Warning will be in effect from 2:00 PM today through 4:00 PM Tuesday. Sustained winds of 25-40mph with gusts upwards of 85mph out of the southeast are expected. Due to the predicted wind speeds and their perpendicular angle to the Smokies chain, the peaks and leeward side (East TN) of the mountains are expected to endure a “mountain wave” event. To learn more about the significance of mountain waves, we encourage you to check out this link. Use caution on area roads and trails as such wind speeds increase the potential for falling trees, swirling debris, and downed power lines in the gateway communities.
A Red Flag Warning (recently upgraded from a Fire Weather Watch) will also be in effect from noon today through 7:00 AM Tuesday. The strong winds, low humidity, drought conditions, and warm temps are all potential factors that can contribute to extreme or rapidly spreading fire behavior. Strict burn bans remain in place throughout GSMNP and Sevier County. Due to these forecast conditions and the effect of this autumn’s drought on our natural water source, we will be implementing various fire safety and water rationing precautions until the lodge closes Wednesday, climate conditions improve, or we receive new instruction from the NPS.
Rain is currently not expected to arrive until early Tuesday morning. It is one’s hope that it will last all day and unload a couple inches. As the front pushes through and winds shift from south to north, temps will drop and the precip could transition from rain to snow. As of now, little to no snow accumulation is expected Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. So in a matter of 48 hours, Mt. LeConte will likely be going from one extreme to the other as we try to put a bow on the 2023 season and close up shop before the holiday.
Temps up top this morning are mild in the low 40s. Clouds have thickened over the summit, and winds have been gradually picking up during the night. It appears none of those observations will change today, so please hit the trails early and come prepared for what is expected.
Be safe and 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!