When it comes to mountains, underground caves and incredible hiking opportunities, Tennessee does it right. If you've never traveled to this great state, you need to ASAP.
It seems like just when you thought you've seen it all, something else is discovered. This hike in the Great Smoky Mountains will take you up rocky stairs to an above-ground cave that has pretty sweet views.
This trail to Alum Cave is located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the eastern part of the state. You might get winded hiking to this cave, but it will be worth it. Also, this is the easiest way to get to Mount LeConte, the third-highest peak in the Smokies.
The hike to Alum Cave is only 4.4 miles round trip, but it is a very steep hike. There are rock steps that you'll have to climb but you'll eventually get to the "cave." It is more of a rock bluff so you don't need to worry about getting claustrophobic. You'll get spectacular views throughout your journey and once you reach your destination.
To get to Alum Cave, you'll go through a hardwood forest that will first lead you to Arch Rock. This is another great landmark on this trail and is a good spot to stop and snap a few pictures.
This is a narrow tunnel that you'll have to walk through with stairs made out of rock that take you to the next part of the trail.
On the next part of your journey, you'll constantly have views of mountain tops and outcrops. This will give you something to look at even though your thighs and calves might fall off at any point in time.
You'll reach Alum Cave at around 2.3 miles from where the trailhead is. As we mentioned, the cave is more of a curved rock bluff and the ground you'll be standing on is very slanted.
If you want to continue on to the third-highest peak of the Smokies, you'll have to hike about three more miles after hitting Alum Cave. It's the perfect opportunity if you (and your legs) are up for it.
Why You Need To Go: This trail will lead you through rock tunnels and eventually take you to the "cave," where you'll get some of the best views.
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.