My Top 10 National Park Hikes (over 6 miles)
I completed the list of my Top 10 Short National Park Hikes over a month ago, so I guess it’s about time I start the list of my favorite longer hikes. This list will focus on hikes over six miles long.
You probably noticed by now that I love the National Parks and like making lists. In addition to the list of my favorite shorter National Park hikes, I have previously made lists of my Top Ten National Parks, Top 20 Things to See in the National Parks, Top Ten Waterfalls, My Bucket List, and Ten Places You Should Visit Before You Die. So yeah, I enjoy writing these blog posts. I hope you enjoy them, too.
Let me know if you agree with me, want to add other hikes, or want to try some of these out.
10. Mount LeConte
Location: It is in the interior of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, just a few miles north of the Tennessee/North Carolina border.
Distance: There are multiple routes up the mountain. I took the Alum Cave Trail, which is often regarded as the most scenic and most popular option. It is also the shortest, at ten miles roundtrip.
Elevation change: 2,763 feet (on the route I took).
Difficulty: On my totally subjective scale from a 1-10 (10 being the hardest) I would give it an 8. It was pretty difficult. In my experience most mountain trails of the east are rockier and steeper than those of the west. That was the case with this one.
Brief Description: There are five different trails, but the one I took was pretty straight forward and simple. After two miles or so, you reach Alum Cave, which isn’t actually a cave. It is an enormous “concave bluff.” The space provides a great resting spot as a blimp could probably fit there. There is a steady climb to the top from there. LeConte Lodge is located at the summit.
Highlight of the hike: Alum Cave is definitely a unique sight to see and the summit itself was the other highlight for me.
Tips: Keep an eye on the weather since you will be exposed atop the third tallest mountain in the Smokies. Also, even though I didn’t stay at LeConte Lodge, I bet it’s got to be a very cool experience.