Mount Leconte: 6-Routes 3-Summits
ElevationAscent: 10,186' 3,105 m
Descent: -13,373' -4,076 m
High: 6,571' 2,003 m
Low: 1,898' 579 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 30% (17°)
Popular hikes nearby
Great Smoky Mountains Peak Loop
26.6 mi 42.8 km • Point to Point • 6,507 ft Ascent 1983.19 m Ascent
4.6 mi 7.4 km • Out and Back • 1,104 ft Ascent 336.64 m Ascent
Andrews Bald Out and Back
3.6 mi 5.8 km • Out and Back • 806 ft Ascent 245.82 m Ascent
5.4 mi 8.7 km • Out and Back • 1,607 ft Ascent 489.94 m Ascent
Deep Creek Loop
5.1 mi 8.2 km • Loop • 847 ft Ascent 258.19 m Ascent
Deep Creek to Clingmans Dome
49.5 mi 79.6 km • Point to Point • 9,414 ft Ascent 2869.43 m Ascent
“Experience ALL of Leconte in a single hike!”— Anthony Groft
Features Birding · Cave · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
You really can't go wrong when picking a route or a summit destination on Leconte, but what if you picked all 6 routes and all 3 summits, would this make you more right?
Need to Know
No fees to entering the park or for day use of the trails. Overnight camping is permitted/fee-based.
All trailheads on this route (with the exception of Porters Creek) can become crowded, parking may be hard to find.
Pit toilets are located at each trailhead (with the exception of Porters Creek) and are generally unlocked. Pit toilets are seasonally open at the Lodge on Leconte and a privy is located behind the Leconte Shelter.
Water is petty much available year-round at the Lodge on Leconte either from a potable tap or a spring. Streams and creeks intersect most trail sections as you reach lower elevations. All spring, stream, and creek water should be treated.
You'll cover elevations between 1,800 feet and 6,500', the weather can vary greatly across these elevations in the Smokies.
#1 Alum Cave Trail
#2 Boulevard Trail (with a section of the Appalachian Trail from Newfound Gap)
#3 Rainbow Falls Trail
#4 Trillium Gap Trail
#5 Bull Head Trail (with a section of Old Sugarlands Trail)
#6 Brushy Mountain Trail (with sections of Porters Creek Trail and Trillium Gap Trail).
At the bottom of this description, there are links for detailed descriptions of each of the 6 routes.
The 3 main summits of Leconte are:
#1 Mount Leconte 6,593'
#2 Cliff Top 6,555'
#3 Myrtle Point 6,443'
The hike described below follows a route that minimizes mileage and total gain while linking all six routes and reaching all three summits.
While the hike is intended to be continuous, it can be broken down into four somewhat equal sections for planning:
Section #1: Newfound Gap to Alum Cave Trailhead (~14 miles/2,800' gain/3,900 loss)
Beginning at Newfound Gap (35.6111, -83.4250) head north on the Appalachian Trail 2.7 miles to Boulevard Trail. Follow Boulevard Trail 5.1 miles to Myrtle Point Trail, hike out and back to Mrytle Point. Continue on Boulevard Trail another 0.25 miles to Cliff Top Trail. Follow Cliff Top Trail over Cliff Top then down to Rainbow Falls Trail. Head down Rainbow Falls Trail past lodge to Alum Cave Trail. Head down Alum Cave trail 5 miles to the trailhead on HWY 441 (35.6295, -83.4515). This completes Section #1 and at this point, you have complete 2 of the 6 routes and cross all 3 summits!
Section #2: Alum Cave Trailhead to Rainbow Falls Trailhead (~12 miles/2,700' gain/3,900' loss)
From the Alum Cave Trailhead on HWY 441 head back up Alum Cave Trail 5 miles to Rainbow Falls Trail. Turn left and head down Rainbow Falls Trail 0.5 miles to Bull Head Trail. Head down Bull Head Trail 5.9 miles to Old Sugarlands Trail, turn right and travel 0.5 miles to Rainbow Falls Trailhead on Cherokee Orchard Road (35.6757, -83.4857). This completes Section #2 and at this point, you have complete 3 of the 6 routes and cross all summits!
Section #3: Rainbow Falls Trailhead to Trillium Gap Trailhead (~13 miles/3,700'gain/3,100' loss)
From the Rainbow Falls Trailhead on Cherokee Orchard Road head up Rainbow Falls Trail 6.5 miles to Trillium Gap Trail. Head down Trillium Gap Trail 6.5 miles to the trailhead on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail (35.6802, -83.4627). This completes Section #3 and at this point, you have complete 5 of the 6 routes and cross all summits!
Section #4: Trillium Gap Trailhead to Porter Creek Trailhead (~9 miles/1,400' gain/2,800' loss)
From Trillium Gap Trailhead on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail back up Trillium Gap Trail 2.9 miles to Brushy Mountain Trail. Head down Brushy Mountain Trail and Porters Creek Trail 5.5 miles to Porters Creek Trailhead on Greenbrier Road (35.6969, -83.3877). This completes Section #4, all 6 routes, 3 summits, and the RUN!!!
Detailed Route Descriptions:
Alum Cave Trail: hikinginthesmokys.com/lecon…
Boulevard Trail: hikinginthesmokys.com/lecon…
Rainbow Falls Trail: hikinginthesmokys.com/lecon…
Trillium Gap Trail: hikinginthesmokys.com/lecon…
Bull Head Trail: hikinginthesmokys.com/lecon…
Brushy Mountain Trail: hikinginthesmokys.com/brush…
Flora & Fauna
History & Background
Land Manager: NPS - Great Smoky Mountains National Park