Mount LeConte

Location: Western North Carolina/Eastern Tennessee
Trip Starts: US 441 (at Husky Gap Trailhead)
Trip Ends: US 441 (at Sugarlands Visitor Center)
Total Distance: 32.2 miles
Hike Type: One-Way, Shuttle Hike
Hike Difficulty: Difficult
Trails Used: Husky Gap, Sugarland Mountain, Appalachian, Boulevard, Bullhead, Two Mile Branch, Old Sugarlands Trails
Trail Traffic: Moderate to Heavy
Trip Type: Multi-Day Hike
More Information:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
(865) 436-1200


Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses 800 square miles of land and 95 percent of it is forested. In the park, the Appalachian Trail follows the ridges between the states of North Carolina and Tennessee, and it crosses the highest point on the entire Trail at Clingmans Dome at 6,643 feet. The Smokies get more annual visitors than any other National Park in the U.S., but surprisingly most people never see the backcountry which has some of the most pristine wilderness in the Southeast.

On this hike, we started at US 441 and climbed to the Mount Collins Shelter via the Husky Gap and Sugarland Mountain Trails. Once on the ridge, we followed the Appalachian Trail across Newfound Gap and up to the Boulevard Trail which crosses the summit of Mount LeConte at 6593 feet. There is both a shelter and clustering of commercial buildings available for rent on the mountain, and both Myrtle Point and High Top have spectacular views near the summit. The shortest decent from Mount LeConte is via the Alum Caves Trail, but this route takes the longer and more gradual decent along the Bullhead Trail. It intersects with the Two Mile Branch and Old Sugarlands Trails after 5.9 miles and these trails lead back to an overnight parking area at Sugarlands Visitor Center on US 441.

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