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Bull Head Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 3.3 (12)

One of many trails leading to/from Mt. Le Conte, this trail has impressive wildflowers in the spring


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Map Key

5.9

Miles

9.5

KM

Point to Point

5,969' 1,819 m

High

2,615' 797 m

Low

0' 0 m

Up

3,354' 1,022 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Great Smoky Mountain National Park closes secondary roads on a seasonal schedule due to snow. Schedules can be found here.

All campsites must be registered with the park. Backcountry rules and regulations can be found here.

Description

Most hikers seem to prefer hiking up to Mt. Le Conte, and taking Bull Head Trail on the way down. From Mt. LeConte, it's over 3,000 feet down over the span of six miles.

Being at a higher elevation in the Smokies, there are plenty of opportunities to see beautiful spring blooms. There are also a lot of really nice views of the Smokies from various points on the way down. There's also a stone structure known as The Pulpit, a stone structure built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (created as part of FDR's New Deal) in the 1930s. It's a great spot to stop for a break or a picnic and enjoy the view.

After a short distance, the trail descends into the forest and back towards the Rainbow Falls Trailhead. Hikeers should keep an eye out for the interesting rock formations and overhangs.

Flora & Fauna

The Smokies are home to more than 1,600 species of plants, most of which produce an abundance of flowers in the spring. These species include mountain laurel, rhododendron, azalea, and many others. Spring wildflowers peak from early April through late May. To learn more about the plants of the Smokies and even get a trees and shrubs checklist, visit the park's website.

As for local fauna, black bears are common in the area, along with white-tailed deer and 31 species of salamanders. Birdwatchers can spot a variety of species, notably the northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) and red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus). For more information on black bears, refer to this webpage.

Contacts

Shared By:

Max Willner with improvements by David Hitchcock

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 12 votes

#18065

Overall
  3.3 from 12 votes
5 Star
17%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
25%
2 Star
17%
1 Star
8%
Trail Rankings

#355

in North Carolina

#18,065

Overall
30 Views Last Month
1,121 Since Sep 4, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
45%
0%
55%
0%

Photos

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Bullhead Trail
Sep 4, 2015 near Gatlinburg, TN
Great Smoky Mountains Bull Head Trail.
Sep 3, 2015 near Gatlinburg, TN
Awesome singletrack on Bullhead.
Sep 4, 2015 near Gatlinburg, TN
Stopping to appreciate the local geologic formations on Bullhead Trail.
Sep 4, 2015 near Gatlinburg, TN
Peaking through the trees on Bullhead Trail.
Sep 4, 2015 near Gatlinburg, TN
Making our way up Bullhead Trail!
Sep 4, 2015 near Gatlinburg, TN

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Check-Ins

Jun 6, 2020
Jenny Kroll
Dec 20, 2019
David Hitchcock
Hiked from parking lot up Bull Head Trail to the junction with Rainbow Falls. Spectacular views due to fire, sun on large portions of trail. 5.9mi — 3h 00m
Oct 29, 2019
Noah J. Stinnett
Oct 22, 2019
Thomas Mcadorey
5.9mi — 1h 00m
Aug 12, 2019
Eric Hall
Way down from lecont
Aug 7, 2019
Ryan Brant
5.9mi
Jul 14, 2019
Thomas Mcadorey
back down Rainbow Falls Trail 5.9mi — 10h 00m
Jul 7, 2019
Thomas Mcadorey
11.8mi — 11h 10m