One of my favorite hikes in the Southern Appalachians. I left on a foggy July morning to beat the crowds. Unfortunately, the skies didn't clear as much as I hoped. This is a 12 mile round-tripper that gains over 2500 feet of elevation. It was also the first peak I bagged on the South Beyond 6000 list. Enjoy!!
3850' - A short trail leads from the parking area to the true start of the Alum Cave Bluffs Trail. This sign gives you a good overview of what is ahead.
West Prong Little Pigeon River - 3850 ft.
Alum Cave Bluffs Trailhead - 3850 ft. - The standard park service trail signpost sets in front of the large bridge you will use to cross the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.
3900' - For the first mile or so the trail closely follows Alum Cave Creek. It is a very scenic stream with many beautiful cascades.
3950' - Breaks in the clouds like this gave me hope that the overcast would break by the time I eached the top.
3950' - Alum Bluff Creek consists of one unnamed cascade after another. It makes for a beautiful beginning to the hike.
4050' - During the first mile the trail crosses Alum Cave Creek a number of times. This bridge is typical of what is used.
4050' - Just below Arch Rock Alum Cave Creek narrows to create this pretty cascade.
4100' - Arch Rock is an interesting formation that creates one of the more unique hiking experiences in the Smokies. The trail actually ascends via rock steps up through a six foot tall natural tunnel to the top of the rock.
4100' - I found these log bridges to be both convenient and quite scenic.