Alum Cave Bluffs Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
miles
LENGTH 4.2 MILES
DIFFICULTY 6.9 Easy
Medium
DURATION 2-3 hours
ELEVATION GAIN
1080
feet
TRAIL TYPE
There And
Back Again
Alum Cave Bluffs

The shorter and less difficult version of the classic Mt. LeConte hike, taking the Alum Cave Trail just to the bluffs and back is still a worthy adventure any day. With great views and some distinctive features, this is also one of the most popular trails in the area so get there early on weekends. Make sure to bring a jacket in case it rains.

The trail begins on US-441, a few miles west of Newfound Gap and Clingman's Dome road. From the parking area, the trail starts off easy, crossing two bridges over the Walker Camp prong and the Alum Cave creek, then continuing along the latter. At 1.4 miles, the trail climbs up a rock staircase passing through the Arch rock. These steps are steep and slippery and should be climbed with caution using the railing. This can be a bottleneck for thru traffic.

From Arch Rock to Alum Cave Bluffs, the path becomes gradually steeper. Shortly before reaching Alum Cave Bluffs, the trail makes a 90 degree turn North which marks Inspiration Point. This is a good spot to stop and soak in the view, but don't take too long, you're almost there.

While technically it is referred to as a rock shelter, Alum Cave Bluff is definitely not a cave. The giant rock outcropping can accommodate several hundred people. This hike stops here, but if you're up for a longer and more difficult hike, check out Mt. LeConte via Alum Cave Trail for another great hiking option.

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Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Terrain Map Click to control map
Details
length4.2 miles
difficulty6.9 Easy-Medium
duration2 - 3 hours
features River/Stream  Views 
trail typeThere And Back Again
blazeNone
elevation gain1080 ft.
state Tennessee 
park/forestGreat Smoky Mountains National Park
ranger districtGreat Smoky Mountain National Park
107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
865-436-1200 (dial 0 for the Visitor's Center)
parking feeNone
trailhead coordinates 35.629117, -83.450968 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°37.75, W 83°27.06 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 35°37'45'', N 35°37'45'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
35.629117, -83.450968 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°37.75, W 83°27.06 most GPS units use this one
N 35°37'45'', N 35°37'45'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
From North Carolina, the trailhead is on the right 4.3 miles past the Newfound Gap overlook. From Tennessee, the trailhead is on the left 1.4 miles after the loop-de-loop.
Notes
For up to date park and road closures, visit GSMNP Alerts or follow @SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter.
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Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
5 (1)
hikethesouth-8 months ago
Half way there is still amazing
Great views. Babbling streams. Distinct features. Half the Alum Cave Trail is still worth it and a great option for families who want a taste of what Mt. LeConte has to offer.
Easy-Medium | Hiked Summer 2011
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