Everyone needs to get away from it all every once in awhile, especially after a winter full of indoor activities and close quarters. How does an hours long hike and a night in a primitive cabin sound to you? Because we’re going to go so far as to call it HEAVENLY. And you know you’re intrigued. Learn more about this magnificent venture into the great outdoors, below!
LeConte Lodge is located deep in the Great Smoky Mountains, and is only accessible by hike. It is the highest hiking lodge in the eastern United States at 6,360 feet.
There are only a special few folk that make it to LeConte Lodge, being as the shortest trail to the spot is the 5.5 mile long Alum Cave Bluff, steep and for the intermediate hiker. It would take you close to four hours if you're fairly in shape.
You can also choose to hike the five hour one-way trails of Rainbow Falls and Trillium Gap, or take the 7.2 mile trail and Bullhead or 8 mile Boulevard trail. Parking is available at the trailheads of each. You're staying at LeConte Lodge, after all!
There are seven single-room cabins as well as three multi-room lodges. Each are hand-built, and the rough hewn cabins have lanterns, bunk beds and wool blankets. There aren't any showers, but you can utilize the washbasins in each spot. BUT make sure you get everything done before daylight - there's no electricity!
Once you reach the lodge, you can enjoy a family-style dinner and breakfast in the dining hall, and you can also purchase a sack lunch once you head on your way again. You've got a long hike back, after all!
Think you'll make it to the top? We'd recommend you try! The rate per adult is $145 a night, and that includes dinner and breakfast. Children run at $85 a night.
The operating season for 2017 runs from March 20 – November 21, 2017, and you'll want to make your reservations ahead of time. The lodge gets booked out quick! You can opt to be put on the waitlist, too.
LeConte is the third highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and a stay at the lodge tied to its moniker will give you panoramic views of the mountain range. It takes a bit of sweat and blood, but hey - it's the experience that counts.
Check out what the lodge looks like during the wintry months – it’s pretty amazing: