It’s the second Highest peak in the Appalachians. 6 Miles UP starting from The trailhead, but first 3 miles to Alum Caves!
Just past Alum Cave is Gracie’s Pulpit. This landmark is named after Gracie McNichol, who hiked to Mount LeConte on her 92nd birthday! At roughly 3 miles from the trailhead the pulpit marks the halfway point to Mt. LeConte. Over the next few miles you’ll pass over several rock ledges, many with cable hand rails. A few of these ledges pass small waterfalls that requires some careful negotiation to get around, while continuing to grasp onto the cables. On a hot day the cool water that inevitably splashes on you is quite welcome. The last of these ledges passes just below Cliff Top.
Once beyond this point the trail flattens out and you’ll enter a spruce-fir forest. Before long the LeConte Lodge cabins come into view. Before reaching the lodge, at just over 6 miles from the trailhead, the Alum Cave Trail dead-ends into the Rainbow Falls Trail. Hikers should turn right at this junction.
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the lodge, however, to reach the true summit of Mount LeConte you’ll want to head down the peak trail to the “High Top” at 6,395 feet! The place to see sunset is “Cliff Top”, which is located near the LeConte Lodge. You will have passed two side trails that lead to Cliff Top, on your right, as you made your way up to High Top. Cliff Top is the best location for sunset views.
We will camp overnight in a cabin before watching the sunrise and heading DOWN.
For sunrise, in the morning, we’ll go to Myrtle Point by continuing along the main path, which has now turned into the Boulevard Trail. Roughly 0.5 miles from High Top you’ll reach a spur trail on the right side of the trail. After turning onto the spur, walk another 0.5 miles to reach Myrtle Point. This spot has nearly 360-degree views, and is the best location for sunrises be here just before sunrise!
Pack food, snacks, water, and supplies to camp.