Allyson's update from yesterday remains the most current information we have on the Trillium Gap, Bullhead and Boulevard Trails. I have the expectation that more melting occurred Sunday as a result of the overnight rain and warmer temperatures. We are enjoying sunny skies as of now, which will help trail conditions I hope. Sunday's high was 43 degrees but our overnight low dropped to 21, refreezing everything that was slushy. Even though much has melted, we still have 14 inches of snow on the ground at the lodge with higher drifts.
I would still give the Boulevard and Bullhead Trails a couple more days of melting before I'd give them a go. Our trail recommendation for reaching the lodge is Rainbow Falls, Trillium Gap and Alum Cave Bluff Trail (in that order).
Chrissy ascended Rainbow Falls Sunday and feels comfortable recommending it. She says there is an incredible amount of water flowing down the trail. Wet and icy feet make for a dangerous day.
I came up Alum Cave Bluff Trail yesterday evening. The trail is passable but still difficult in spots. I would bring some sort of ice traction device for any trail you choose for the next few days as melting and refreezing will be an issue each day. You won't need them for every foot of the trail, but they don't weigh much and you never regret having them when the edges get slippery. The downed rhododendron on Alum is not a huge difficulty. I escorted a hiker without proper cold-weather gear to the lodge who was caught in a dangerous situation as night fell on Alum. We ended up having to hike three hours by flashlight but all ended up OK.
Please plan for more hiking time than you expect you'd need. Also, keep in mind how much shorter the days are now that we've swapped from Daylight to Standard Time. Please pack plenty of batteries for your light source. In fact, I always hike (even in the summer) with two light sources so you have a backup if you need to change batteries in the dark or need to lend one out in a rescue situation. If you've not checked your headlamp batteries since the Clinton administration, then make sure you bring extra. You never regret having too much light when night descends on a wet, snowy and/or icy trail with questionable footing and dropoffs to the side. Sunset tonight is at 5:35 p.m. on LeConte and will only be getting earlier the rest of the season.
Footwear is the most important place to start with your gear. Please don't attempt to climb the mountain with tennis shoes and cotton socks on. I didn't have to break any trail on Alum, but there is still plenty of snow and lots of icy water holes in the trail. Make certain you bring extra dry shoes, cold-weather socks and have enough warm clothes packed to allow you to spend the night on the trail (if you happened to break an ankle or something) in melting snow and icy conditions with the low dropping down into the low 20s.
We'd be happy to see you, but want your trip to LeConte to be a happy and safe one.