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Old 03-26-2011, 12:39 PM
Dawgvet Dawgvet is offline
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Default Hiking in and staying at LeConte Lodge

During one of my trips to the park this year I was thinking of taking a few days and hiking up to and staying at LeConte Lodge. How are the accomodations (not expecting a Hilton, mainly just curious about cleanliness and service)? My mom has always wanted to donthis hike with me so wondering what is the easiest approach as she is a fairly experienced hiker but not as young as she used to be. Any help appreciated.
Thanks
Jedidiah
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:49 PM
501 501 is offline
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Jedidiah,
Made the trip 25 years ago and have been dreaming about a return ever since.
As I understand if you don't have reservations now it may be difficult to go. One solution may be to get on a standby list but you must be flexible on your dates. I researched the routes pretty throughly (all 5 of them). We parked a car at Alum Cave parking lot and had friends take us to Newfound Gap. Hiked the AT to the Boulevard Trail to Leconte. Most elevation gain is on the AT until just before reaching Leconte. Route is longer but walking is less strenuous. If my wife made it then it should be accessible to about 98% of the population. We came back by the Alum Cave trail (as I'm sure you guessed). Steep but short and scenic. Exploring the mountaintop was a great experience. Most of this info is available from the standard sources. Accomodations are adequate but simple (dusty, no power). Meals are simple but filling and tasty (highly recommend the wine). Definitely see sunset from clifftop and sunrise from Myrtle Point. In fact, stay two nights if possible. Would be happy to answer any other questions you have if I can.
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Old 03-26-2011, 11:29 PM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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Jebidiah I am friends with the manager Allyson V. up there it is a great place. I stayed up there and got engaged to my now wife Amanda at dinner there last May. Allyson helped us out by bringing the ring out with dinner and all. Definitely the easiest approach trail is the alum bluff cave trail. The cabins are small but cozy and have kerosene lamps and small propane heaters. Most have bunk beds but the beds are really large like 2 twin beds one on the bottom and one on the top. Hot water is available at the kitchen and the meals are good. Its worth it to stay there at least once.
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:04 PM
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I talked to a staff member who was a super athelete. He said he regularly ran up and back on the Alum Cave Bluff Trail. Although this trail is the shortest (5 miles or so) it is considered the steepest in elevation gain. As an approach trail this is something to consider, especially if you are not an athelete........

Lee
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Old 11-10-2011, 12:10 PM
Dawgvet Dawgvet is offline
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Just curious if anyone else has any experience with staying at LeConte Lodge? I've heard a few reports of mice and questionable conditions. Hopefully these are the inevitable rare instance but just curious.
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Jedidiah
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Old 11-10-2011, 01:34 PM
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Just curious if anyone else has any experience with staying at LeConte Lodge? I've heard a few reports of mice and questionable conditions. Hopefully these are the inevitable rare instance but just curious.
Thanks
Jedidiah
Went up there last year with my wife and some friends. Will be going back.

Conditions are rustic. Mice, would not surprise me. It's cabins on top of a mountain.

If someone is looking for a "nice" motel with cable TV and all the comforts of home, I would not recommend it. If the person wants to hike one of several beautiful trails, stay in a rustic cabin (with no electricity, horrible cell phone coverage, no TV, lights from keroscene lamps, food is decent and a great view, then go for it and enjoy.

My wife and I loved it and are going back this summer. We already have our reservations!

Jeff
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Old 11-10-2011, 02:39 PM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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Well said Jeff. I haven't seen mice but I wouldn't be surprised. I also wouldn't be surprised at all if you had a bear at the door of your cabin on occasion. It isn't a 5 star hotel you are in an old rustic cabin in the woods without electricity.
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:51 PM
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Smile Great place minus the canned beef which is awful

I never saw any mice in the 3 times I have stayed there. My wife & I have always had a great time there, and with hot water and real bathrooms it relatively wife friendly.

I was at Peck's Corner on Sat and was talking with a through hiker about how I forgot to tell my wife about the shelter mice on our first shelter trip. Needles to say she strated freaking out after a mouse ran accross her chest on the outside of her sleeping bag, and I don't think either of us slept much that night. She was mad for several days, and wasn't happy with my resoponse of "they won't bother you"
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Old 11-10-2011, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawgvet View Post
During one of my trips to the park this year I was thinking of taking a few days and hiking up to and staying at LeConte Lodge. How are the accomodations (not expecting a Hilton, mainly just curious about cleanliness and service)? My mom has always wanted to donthis hike with me so wondering what is the easiest approach as she is a fairly experienced hiker but not as young as she used to be. Any help appreciated.
Thanks
Jedidiah
Usually, you have to find someone who is a Leconte Donor or a long-time reservation holder to get the good dates in the fall. It usually takes a year or two to get a good spot on the list. However; there are always groups you can stay with if you do not mind sleeping with 4-8 unknown people.

I think the Alum Cave trail is the quickest and it is fairly easy going up. However; you will need to be careful coming down. It does put a strain on your knees and neck coming down.

To enjoy Leconte Lodge; you will need to be in the right state of mind and expect to rough it to some degree. If you are doing a day hike; be sure and take an extra shirt to switch out of at the top. My shirt was covered in sweat on the way up and I about froze before changing in to a dry shirt at the top. This was in August.
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Old 11-11-2011, 01:52 PM
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Madison is right. Better make your reservations real quick. They go fast, according to my son, who stayed there with a friend and family. One thing I don't agree with is people who make reservation every year. They should have them stay off the list for a period of time to let others have a chance to stay on the mountain. Oh yes, there is barbed wire on the doors and windows to keep toothy critters out.
Hiked Alum Cave and the Rainbow trails in times past. Wife's back trouble has cancelled any hiking now.
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