12.0 miles, Full day
The Alum Cave Trail is the shortest and steepest of the five trails leading to the Le Conte massif, which contains four separate peaks in all, the highest of which has an elevation of 6,593 feet. Due to its short length and beautiful scenery (it is often considered Le Conte's most scenic route) it is the most common footpath for hikers seeking to reach the summit of Le Conte.
Along the way you will pass by Arch Rock, Alum Cave Bluff which is not a true cave. It is what geologists refer to as a rock shelter.
At the top you will find the LeConte Lodge which provides the only commercial lodging in the national park, as it operates about 10 rustic cabins with no electricity or appliances.
From the Sugarlands Visitor Center, drive 8.7 miles south along Newfound Gap Road to the Alum Cave Trailhead. The parking lot is on the left.
If you want to stay at LeConte Lodge make reservations ahead of time. The cabins fill up a year in advance on busy weekends.(Although with drop outs you may be able to find a reservation)
You can fill up your water bottles at LeConte Lodge.