"Alum Cave Bluff" Top 5 Page for this destination Great Smoky Mountains National Park Off The Beaten Path Tip by Stephen-KarenConn
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Off The Beaten Path: 18 reviews and 25 photos
The only way to reach Alum Cave Bluff is by a strenuous 2.3 mile hike (one way). The trailhead is along the Newfound Gap Road, about 7 miles south of the Sugarlands Visitor Center. There are two parking lots since this is one of the Park's more popular hikes.
For the first 1.3 miles the trail runs beside a beautiful clear trout stream and then passes through Arch Rock, a dark, steep, narrow passage on a set of rock steps. If you hike the trail in late June or early July you will see an abundance of rhododendron in bloom. A little later in the season there will be blueberries to pick. A half mile before reaching Alum Cave Bluff, make a stop at Inspiration Point, a rocky outcrop which offers splendid views of the surrounding mountains. Just beyond Inspiration Point look toward the far the ridge and you may see an unusual formation called "Hole-in-the-rock."
At the Alum Cave Bluff, you are exactly half way from the trailhead to the peak of Mt. Leconte, 6,593 ft elevation. Red squirrels and chipmunks hang out at the Bluff and beg for handouts from hikers. Be careful/ the red squirrels may bite fingers. They also know how to unzip backpacks and dig out your gorp or crackers.
During the Civil War, saltpeter was mined here at Alum Cave Bluff and used in the manufacture of gunpower.
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