Hike to Mt. LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains

October 16, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Last week I got to share some pretty sweet views with some pretty sweet people(including my wife!).

Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. The above picture is the view from Clifftops on top of Mt. Leconte.  I watched this beautiful scene with my wife and a handful of others after having a huge dinner at Mt. Leconte Lodge.  

We only got to spend a couple nights in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and I really feel like we made the most of it!

We started off by having a sweet dinner in Bryson City, then heading up to Clingmans Dome to check out the stars.

Clingmans Dome at NightClingmans Dome at NightGallery includes images taken during a night hike up to the Clingmans Dome tower. The fog up on the tower would completely shroud us in darkness for a few moments, only to brighten up a short while later.  Here I caught beginning of a meteor.  This was a good night for me in seeing meteors(I saw some HUGE ones!), but only capture this guy. Clingmans Dome at NightClingmans Dome at NightGallery includes images taken during a night hike up to the Clingmans Dome tower. Clingmans Dome at NightClingmans Dome at NightGallery includes images taken during a night hike up to the Clingmans Dome tower. Obligatory selfie of the wife and I.  A three second shutter speed, and a really REALLY dim light to brighten us up.  The Nikon 20mm 1.8G can really see in the dark! Clingmans Dome at NightClingmans Dome at NightGallery includes images taken during a night hike up to the Clingmans Dome tower.

Clingmans Dome at NightClingmans Dome at NightGallery includes images taken during a night hike up to the Clingmans Dome tower. I really like the below image of the rocks and trees near the parking lot.  You can see the Andromeda Galaxy shining brightly in the center.

Clingmans Dome at NightClingmans Dome at NightGallery includes images taken during a night hike up to the Clingmans Dome tower. The next morning, I almost stayed in bed and didn't go out for sunrise.  Looking back, I am glad I did, but the pictures were meh..  oh well, at least the Sumac trees are looking cool.

Smoky Mountains SunriseSmoky Mountains SunriseSunrise from the main highway in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. ...and I think hemlocks make any scene worth looking at.

Smoky Mountains SunriseSmoky Mountains SunriseSunrise from the main highway in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Smoky Mountains SunriseSmoky Mountains SunriseSunrise from the main highway in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As soon as the sun came up, I bounced!  I got back to the hotel, ate some pretty horrible breakfast, and the wife and I headed up to Gatlinburg to grab a few things before the hike.  I unfortunately left some of my clothes at home on the couch, and could make do with everything except the underwear I packed!  We headed to the NOC and $30 later I was good to go!

The hike we picked was the Trillium Gap trail.  It is 6.7 miles to the Mt. Leconte Lodge.  The cool thing about hiking to Mt. Leconte is not having to pack any tent or sleeping gear!  Somehow, my wife still made my pack heavy though... crazy how that works.

Some of the higher elevations had patches of nice color.  

Mt. Leconte hikieMt. Leconte hikieImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. These badass llamas are responsible for supplying the lodge.   Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. Once at the lodge, we didn't have much time to chill before dinner.  We got checked into our room, thought about how we should never have hiked almost 7 miles up a mountain while also thinking about how AWESOME dinner was gonna taste!

My camera isn't "travel friendly" (d750+28-300VR), so I didn't bring it into the dining hall.  But you just gotta believe me, it was great food.  Mashed potatoes, roast beef, some gross peach thing, green beans, and a cookie!

After dinner, my wife and I, joined by many lodge guests, went up to the Clifftops to watch the sunset.  It is only a .2 mile walk up to the top and well worth it!

Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. Like all other Smoky Mountain scenes, the fog would roll in and out, temporarily taking away our view, only to give it back again.  Below, a couple of really cool guys enjoy some wine as the fog comes in.

Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. After hanging out and shooting the breeze with some other folks in the lodge office, I let Ashley go to sleep while I milled about the lodge taking photos.  There was quite a bit of fog, but some stars still shined through. Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. The lodge on the right was where Ashley and I slept.  You can see a big wave of fog coming in on the right. Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. At these really high ISOs, only a little bit of light from a flashlight makes it look like a UFO has landed! Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. The next morning we headed out for Myrtle Point to watch the sunrise.  It is a little farther than clifftops at about 2 miles round trip.  The wind was HOWLING, which made it difficult to include much foreground because of all the moving foliage.   After taking the below photo, I shot pretty much everything else in the telephoto range.

Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. Mt. Leconte hikieMt. Leconte hikieImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. After the sunrise, we were ready to get back to the lodge and pound some breakfast!  As we made our way out of the lodge, I snapped a few photos of the area.

Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. And here is the parting shot of my beautiful wife as we made our way down the trail.  This was well worth the money spent!  
Mt. Leconte hikeMt. Leconte hikeImages of the hike up to Mt. Leconte on the Trillium Gap Trail. Gallery includes images of Mt. Leconte Lodge, clifftops, myrtle point, as well as night images of the lodge. Thanks for looking!


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