Overnight guests at LeConte Lodge® are very special people. The only way to reach the facility is by taking hiking trails up and back. There are six trails to the lodge, the shortest and steepest being Alum Cave Trail at 5.0 miles, which a hiker in good condition can do in approximately four hours one way. None of these trails can be considered a stroll and you occasionally encounter ice and snow as late as May or as early as September. The other trails are Rainbow Falls and Trillium Gap, each 6.7 miles, a hike of about five hours; Bullhead at 6.9 miles and about five hours; The Boulevard, 8.1 miles and about 5 1/2 hours; and Brushy Mountain out of the Greenbrier area, traveling 9.1 miles and requiring up to 6 hours. Parking and trash receptacles are available at the start of each trail.
Allow ample hiking time so that you can enjoy the opulent and incredibly diverse flora and fauna, yet still arrive in time to explore the lodge area before the 6:00 pm dinner hour. Regardless of the trail you choose, it’s as if the height and climate of the mountain had compressed hundreds of miles of geographical scenery into a single day’s hike, providing a rewarding adventure. A high percentage of the guests each year are people who return time and again to accept the challenge of the hike and bask in the serenity and solitude of majestic Mount LeConte.
An occasional hiker’s bonus on Trillium Gap Trail Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays can be overtaking a llama pack train carrying fresh supplies to the lodge, weather permitting. Since the only way in or out is on foot supplies are delivered that way as well. Horses once did the hauling, but the damage to the trails from their shod feet caused the management to seek alternatives. The most environmentally compatible creatures for packing purposes are llamas, which have very little impact on the trails with their padded feet and are a delight to all hikers of any age with their humming sounds and gentle features.