Being on top of the world

This location is the highest lodge in the eastern United States. It sits at an elevation of 6400 feet. This location is only accessibly by hiking for there are no roads that lead to the top. Have you guessed the mystery location? If you answered LeConte Lodge then you are correct. The lodge sits just below Mt. LeConte, which is the 3rd highest peak in the Smoky Mountains. Back when there was a movement to establish a national park in the Smokies a tent was set in place where the LeConte lodge stands now. The purpose of the tent at the time was to entertain dignitaries from Washington DC. Jack Huff, who was a Gatlinburg mountaineer and founder of the lodge, started building the retreat in 1926. About 8 years later Jack married Paulina and they were married at Myrtle Point which is a popular spot for watching the run rise. Jack and Paulina continued to operate the lodge until 1960 then turned it over to Stokely Hospitality Enterprise.

To stay up at the lodge you must make a reservation in advanced. Day hikers are welcome to come to the lodge, have lunch and explore the area. The only way to get to LeConte lodge is to hike one of the 5 trails that lead up to the lodge. These 5 include Alum Cave, Rainbow Falls, Trillium Gap, Bullhead and Boulevard. Alum Cave is the shortest trail at around 5 1/2 miles long but also the steepest. It is recommended that you give yourself about 4 hours to get to the top. Rainbow Falls and Trillium Gap are 6.5 miles long and on average will take about 5 hours to complete. Bullhead is the next trail with is 7.2 miles long and can take 5 hours to reach the top. The last trail is Boulevard with is 8 miles and can take about 5 1/2 hours to reach LeConte lodge. Remember, these times are based on seasoned hikers but many give themselves extra time to explore the flora and fauna.

If you are interested in staying at the lodge you need to make reservations in advance. Call 865-429-5704 or visit reservations@lecontelodge.com

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