All You Need To Know About an Overnight Stay at LeConte Lodge in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

leconte-lodge-cabin-matthew-gjedde-heysmokiesLeConte Lodge is the only overnight lodging, other than camping, available within the borders of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You cannot drive to LeConte Lodge. You must hike one of the five trails that access this rustic retreat located near the top of the 6,593 foot Mt. LeConte. An overnight stay at LeConte Lodge is an incredible experience you won’t find any place else in the world! Just ask anyone who’s witnessed an awe-inspiring sunrise or sunset from LeConte’s Myrtle Point.

LeConte Lodge is open from late-March to mid-November and with a maximum capacity for only 60 guests a night, reservations are often made more than a year in advance.

The traditional ringing of the dinner bell each evening promptly at 6:00 p.m. welcomes overnight guests to a hearty family-style dinner with next morning offering another family-style breakfast feast at 8:00 a.m. Sack lunches, along with lemonade hot chocolate, coffee, and baked goods are also available from the lodge’s dining hall. Adults, be sure to pre-order wine service for your dinner!

Although you should take care to pack your backpack lightly, these items are a must to bring along for your adventure on Mt. LeConte:

  • Sturdy and durable hiking boots or shoes, that are already broken in, along with more than one pair of  non-cotton socks. Trust us, wet feet are no fun. Waterproof boots are shoes are even better.
  • A raincoat or poncho is a must along with lightweight clothing that will dry quickly and can be layered. In spring and fall nighttime temperatures can dip into the teens with snow. Summer nights can even drop to a chilly 30 degrees, so a lightweight fleece jacket is needed year-round.
  • Adequate water supply and a snack or lunch for your hike up the mountain to the lodge. For the safety of your health, please don’t drink water directly from mountain streams.
  • A headlamp or flashlight. There is no electricity at LeConte Lodge. We prefer a headlamp to keep your hands free. Kerosene lamps provide lighting in the cabins with propane heaters providing warmth.
  • A hand towel, washcloth and personal items like toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. Although there are no showers, wash basins with soap are in all cabins. You will be happy to know there is modern privy building with flush toilets. All bedding linens, including pillows and cozy Hudson Bay wool blankets, are provided.
  • Credit card or cash for additional food or souvenir purchases at LeConte Lodge.

Cabin Accommodations at LeConte Lodge

Seven rough-hewn log cabins and three multi-room lodges dot the LeConte Lodge property. The one-bedroom cabins with upper and lower double bunk beds are perfect for two couples or a family of four. For parties of five, there are three cabins that also have a single bed. There is one 2-bedroom lodge that has an upper and lower double bunk bed and two single person beds in the common room; this lodge will sleep a maximum of 10 guests. There are also two 3-bedroom lodges with upper and lower double bunk beds in each bedroom. One of these lodges has a single person bed in one of the bedrooms and the other lodge has a single person bed in the common room. This lodge can accommodate up to 13 guests. Please know that you will not have to bunk up with strangers in the same room with you if you’re single or a couple; the lodge rooms and cabins are booked just for your party. For rates, visit LeConte Lodge.

The 5 Hiking Trails to LeConte Lodge

All of the trails are rated moderately strenuous so be sure start early in the morning to give yourself plenty of time for the climb as well as time to enjoy and explore the mountaintop before the dinner bell.
ALUM CAVE TRAIL – 5.5 miles
Alum Cave Trail is the shortest and most popular of the trails leading to LeConte Lodge; however, it is also the steepest. You are rewarded though by some spectacular scenery at Arch Rock and Alum Cave Bluffs. Near the end of the trail you cross a steep rock face below Cliff Top that gets little sunlight in winter and is often covered in ice. Steel cables have been installed for handholds in any weather but especially in the winter. Alum Cave Trailhead is located at the Alum Cave parking area on U.S. Hwy. 441/ Newfound Gap Road 8.5 miles south of the Suglarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg. From Cherokee, the Alum Cave parking area is about 5 miles north of Newfound Gap Overlook.
THE BOULEVARD TRAIL – 8 miles
The Boulevard Trail begins at the Newfound Gap parking lot where you head North the famous Appalachian Trail for 2.7 miles before coming to the junction where The Boulevard branches left (North). The altitude on The Boulevard never drops below 5,500 ft. so you’re never likely to get overheated on this Spruce-Fir forest even in the summer months and may well encounter snow and ice in early spring and late fall. One reward of hiking The Boulevard is taking the side trail to the Jumpoff. The side trail is one-mile roundtrip, but well worth the extra time and effort on a clear day for amazing views of Charlie’s Bunion, the Sawteeth, and Mt. Guyot.
RAINBOW FALLS TRAIL – 6.5 miles
This trailhead is accessed via Cherokee Orchard Road from Historic Nature Trail – Airport Road at traffic light #8 in Gatlinburg. At mile 3.4 just after the road becomes one-way; you’ll find the Rainbow Falls Trail Parking Area on your right. Hike along LeConte Creek and view Rainbow Falls at mile 2.7 and in spring enjoy a splendid wildflower display. Please note that this trail can be quite icy in winter months.
BULL HEAD TRAIL – 7.2 miles
The Bull Head Trail  also begins at the Rainbow Falls Parking Area. A lot of folks like to hike up to LeConte Lodge on Rainbow Falls Trail and hike down on Bull Head Trail. Highlights of this trail include beautiful spring wildflowers and fall foliage.
TRILLIUM GAP TRAIL – 6.5 miles
It’s 6.5 miles to LeConte Lodge on Trillium Gap Trail if you park at the Grotto Falls Parking Area on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in Gatlinburg. The Roaring Fork Motor Trail is closed in winter, so can park at the Rainbow Falls Parking Area adding another two miles to your hike. If you want to see the llamas that are used to pack supplies to the lodge, then you’ll want to hike Trillium Gap Trail on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday.

HeySmokies’ Brad Knight and retired National Park Ranger Butch McDade, instructors with University of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountain Field School, led an adventurous group of 16 backpackers on Halloween 2015 on a LeConte Lodge overnight trip that is captured here in this hauntingly fantastic video! Check it out!

For a complete list of  great workshops and courses, visit Smoky Mountain Field School. For more information on the Smoky Mountain Field School, email smfs@utk.edu or call 865-974-0150.

More Hey Smokies Features:

Rose Glen Literary Festival 2018
Rose Glen Literary Festival 2018...
Mark your calendars now to attend the Rose Glen Literary Festival on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 at the Sevierville Convention Center. This year’s k[Read More >>]
Oconaluftee Visitor Center Hosts Holiday Homecoming
Oconaluftee Visitor Center Hosts Holiday Homecoming...
  Great Smoky Mountains National Park hosts the Oconaluftee Visitor Center Holiday Homecoming on Saturday, December 16, 2017. Park sta[Read More >>]
41st Christmas Past Celebration
41st Christmas Past Celebration...
Sugarlands Visitors Center will host the Great Smoky Mountains 41st annual Festival of Christmas Past celebration. The event is scheduled fo[Read More >>]
Biltmore Christmas Celebration
Biltmore Christmas Celebration...
Biltmore Christmas Celebration is a must for young and old! It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Biltmore House which rises in th[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountains Fall Red Beauty Mountain Ash!
Smoky Mountains Fall Red Beauty Mountain Ash!...
Smoky Mountains Fall Red Beauty Mountain Ash! Who wouldn’t love a beautiful ornamental tree, not too large or too small, with an abundance o[Read More >>]
Raise a glass; find your pint and support the Blue Ridge Parkway 2018.
Raise a glass; find your pint and support the Blue Ridge Parkway 2018....
Raise a glass; find your pint and support the Blue Ridge Parkway. For the second time in as many years breweries from Asheville to the High Coun[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Bridges the Foothills Parkway Missing Link
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Bridges the Foothills Parkway Missing Link...
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Bridges the Foothills Parkway Missing Link. The long awaited bridge completion will herald the opening of a [Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Halloween Fun Events
Smoky Mountain Halloween Fun Events...
Smoky Mountain Halloween Fun Events await those who dare enter these mountains during the month of October. Ghost stories about these mountains [Read More >>]
Make your fortune in Smoky Mountain-opoly!
Make your fortune in Smoky Mountain-opoly!...
Make your fortune in Smoky Mountain-opoly! Relay for Life of Sevier County acquired exclusive rights to create a Smoky Mountain version of the b[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Ironweed
Smoky Mountain Ironweed...
Smoky Mountain Ironweed is a beautiful flowering plant commonly found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If a hike takes you through a [Read More >>]
Celebrating Fall During Ober Gatlinburg's 8th Annual Oktoberfest September 22, - October  29, 2017
Celebrating Fall During Ober Gatlinburg's 8th Annual Oktoberfest September 22, - October 29, 2017...
Celebrating Fall During Ober Gatlinburg's 8th Annual Oktoberfest September 22, - October 29, 2017 will be a "beery" good time! Take an amazing s[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hosts Star Gazing Event at Cades Cove
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hosts Star Gazing Event at Cades Cove...
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hosts Star Gazing Event at Cades Cove. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in cooperation with the Smoky Mo[Read More >>]
4th Annual Wears Valley Fall Festival October 20th-22nd, 2017
4th Annual Wears Valley Fall Festival October 20th-22nd, 2017...
4th Annual Wears Valley Fall Festival is fun for the entire family! Sixteen acres of family fun including crafters, storytelling, interactive ac[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Monarch Migration
Smoky Mountain Monarch Migration...
Smoky Mountain Monarch Migration is an annual event. Monarch butterflies migrate south each summer and spend their winter hibernating in parts o[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Solar Eclipse Tips
Smoky Mountain Solar Eclipse Tips...
Smoky Mountain Solar eclipse tips. The HeySmokies team is excited about the upcoming solar eclipse viewing in Great Smoky Mountains National Par[Read More >>]
Cades Cove Foot Race
Cades Cove Foot Race...
Cades Cove Foot Race (AKA - the Cades Cove Loop Lope) hosted by Friends of the Smokies and the Knoxville Track Club is scheduled for Sunday Nove[Read More >>]
Welcome Home Veterans Parade, Pigeon Forge August 26, 2017
Welcome Home Veterans Parade, Pigeon Forge August 26, 2017...
Welcome Home Veterans Parade, Pigeon Forge August 26, 2017. Who does not love a parade? And what better reason to have one than to honor our e[Read More >>]
Six Great Synchronous Firefly Viewing Areas For 2018!
Six Great Synchronous Firefly Viewing Areas For 2018!...
Six Great Synchronous Firefly Viewing Areas For 2018! A spectacular display by the Synchronous Fireflies and the Blue Ghost Fireflies will light[Read More >>]
Tick Safety Tips!
Tick Safety Tips!...
Tick Safety Tips! Ticks and what you need to know to stay safe! It is that time of year in the Smoky Mountains. Summertime and outdoor activitie[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains Solar Eclipse Road Closure Update
Great Smoky Mountains Solar Eclipse Road Closure Update...
Great Smoky Mountains solar eclipse road closure update. Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are reminding visitors that Clingmans[Read More >>]