Mount le Conte
Key information: Mount le Conte
- "The" walk in the GSMNP, claimed by some to be the highest point in the USA east of the Mississippi, with predictably wonderful views.
- True wilderness, with huge biodiversity.
- Walkopedia rating78
- Natural interest15
- Human interest2
- Negative points0
- Total rating78
- Length: Variable/ Up to 2 days
- Maximum Altitude: 1,981m
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
The highest point in the USA east of the Mississippi (at 1,981m/6,500ft). Mount le Conte sits at the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains NP.
This is true wilderness, with no road within a day's walk; and with high rainfall, it has huge biodiversity, both in plants (1,500 species of flowers, under fine pines and firs) and a goodly selection of animal life. That said, acid rain from 3 nearby coal power stations is causing problems (and its haze affecting the views).
A delight here is the lodge close to the peak, which makes a walk in and back out over two days both a joy and very practical: with a meal and bunk awaiting you, you can travel light(ish). An introductory thrill for your children?
The whole area is thickly forested, so don't expect much in the way of views until you get high. But those are worth the wait, wooded ridges receding in every direction. Dawn and sunset can be gorgeous.
There are five routes up Mt le Conte. The Alum Cave Trail is the shortest (5 miles), but steepest and most popular. Other routes include the Ranbow Falls Trail (6.5 miles), which stays in the Le Conte Creek valley for most of the way before joining a ridge.
Le Conte Lodge can be booked on 865 429 5704 or www.lecontelodge.com. The season runs from late March to late November. Reservations are by lottery, so make sure you apply in good time.
The GSMNP website has lots of good information -ps.gov/gvsm/index.htm.
This walk is in high(ish), remote(ish) mountains. Come prepared.
Have a look at the dreaded TripAdvisor . You should get good, current views on this walk/area.
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COMMUNITY COMMENTS AND PHOTOS
Posted on: 12/12/2018
To be accurate, I have been on this hike and would love to claim that I have been to the highest peak east of the Mississipi...Mt. Mitchell in the Black Mountains of North Carolina, however, holds that mark. In fact, there are a few higher than LeConte.
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