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Newfound Gap Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
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Thundering Streams and Falls of the Smokies
4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

Thundering Streams and Falls of the Smokies

22 reviews
**Please note that all participants will be required to wear a mask for orientation and any instances where close contact cannot be avoided. Please bring your own masks and hand sanitizer. You will also be asked to sign an acknowledgement of risks and report any illness within 14 days of tour.** <br>With 3100 miles of streams in the Smokies, there are thousands of beautiful stretches of white water. Adventure awaits as you explore the magic of pristine cascades and waterfalls on a little known trail. We'll warm up on a more popular trail, pausing to enjoy smaller cascades before turning onto a less traveled section of the Park. In the winter, we'll enjoy beautiful glimpses of the surrounding mountains, during the spring we'll pause to enjoy our famous wildflower display, summer brings refreshing swimming holes and in autumn the beauty of changing leaves. This hike is considered moderately adventurous as we gain elevation, climb over downed trees and get our feet wet.
$62.00 per adult
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Dario Albahari wrote a review Jan 2021
South Bend, Indiana6 contributions
This is my favorite hike in the entire park, but some advice: don't actually bother to hike all the way to the cave itself, because the nicest view is about 20 min before the cave marked with natural carved slabs of rock. Keep hiking until you find a spot with interesting rock formations, take some pictures, and head back down. I Definitely recommend this hike!
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Date of experience: June 2020
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Explorcation wrote a review Dec 2020
Florida309 contributions107 helpful votes
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This trail is known to be the most hiked trail in the Smokies and for good reason. It follows a river in the beginning, takes you through a naturally formed rock arch and leads you to the Alum Cave Bluffs. You can decide how far you want to take the trail. If you want to do a full day hike you can take it all the way to the Mount LeConte peak! Hiking to the peak can take between 6 to 10 hours depending on your pace and how frequently you stop. The whole trail is so beautiful it would be hard to not stop frequently. This area is very popular, so arrive early to get a spot in the parking lot. During our visit many cars had to park along the side of the road. If you are planning a trip and want to see some video footage of the Alum Cave Trail check out our Alum Cave Trail hiking video on our YT Channel Explorcation. The link is in our bio. It also includes some more tips for visiting. Happy trip planning!
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Date of experience: October 2020
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DoctormomStow wrote a review Oct 2020
Stow, Ohio406 contributions98 helpful votes
Did this hike midweek during peak season but on a rainy day & avoided the crowds. We passed the trailhead on a beautiful afternoon & it was packed with cars parked on the road so we waited to go back. Even in the rain, it was a picturesque trail winding along the river with small bridges then headed uphill through Arch Rock & up to the cave/bluffs area. We did not go up to farther point. Did not see any wildlife. It took us under 2 hours for round trip 4.4 miles) but we passed other more mature hikers taking their time. Bring water. Despite the fog it was a great hike.
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Date of experience: October 2020
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Jeff7520 wrote a review Oct 2020
Castle Rock, Colorado187 contributions51 helpful votes
Great trail to experience the Smokies. We started the trail in a heavy mist and as we made our way up across multiple streams, through an arch rock, etc the clouds parted to reveal the terrific mountains around us. We started toward Mt Lecomte but turned around short of this longer goal. Get here early for parking.
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Date of experience: October 2020
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scottcaps wrote a review Oct 2020
Chesapeake Beach, Maryland1,187 contributions214 helpful votes
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We arrived at the Alum Cave Trailhead parking lot at 7:00 am on a Sunday. There were 4 parking spaces available in the smaller lot by the restrooms, but there were still plenty of spaces left in the larger parking lot closer to the road and there were many cars parked along the road, presumably overnight hikers who had parked there the previous day. Since it was a very nice weather forecast (sunny and high in low 70s in Gatlinburg), the trail was crowded. But, we found everyone to be very friendly and very polite – letting faster hikers pass, offering encouragement, and keeping a good social distance as much as possible. A few hikers wore masks, but most did not or would pull their masks/gaiters up when passing. We sat down in Alum Cave to enjoy the view and have a snack. After Alum Cave, the number of hikers decreased a bit. We are three women in our early 50s and we are not avid hikers, but are reasonably healthy. We were each carrying packs around 20-25 lbs each. The ascent was tough, but very doable – we took it slow and steady with lots of stops for breath, to let other hikers pass, and to take pictures. Including the snack stop, it took us 5 hours to hike the 5 miles to reach LeConte Lodge, where we were spending the night. We each had one hiking pole, which we highly recommend. The trail is well maintained with lots of wooden steps, steps carved into rock, and cable handrails. But, the 2600 feet of elevation gain on the trail makes it feel like almost all the trail is an ascent – the very end, just before the junction with Rainbow Falls Trail near the lodge is the only area that seems to be flat, which is a welcome relief. There are bridges for the stream crossings. Many areas of the trail were muddy/wet from the rain two days previous and from what we assume are springs. Good hiking shoes/boots are a must, as is a good supply of water. There are many places with breaks in the trees with inspiring views, along with the glimpses of Alum Cave creek and going through Arch Rock as well as Alum Cave itself. Even if you are not staying at the Lodge, there are pit toilets and water pumps available at the Lodge to all hikers. There is also a gift and supply store in the office of the Lodge. Beyond the Lodge, there is another 0.7 mile hike out to Myrtle Point for more views and to see the rock cairn which marks the actual peak of Mount LeConte. And, there is also a 0.3 mile loop to High Tops just beyond the Lodge for more views.
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Date of experience: September 2020
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