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Smoky Mountains

Hiking Club

Off Trail Hike: LeConte Creek - Louise Smith Legacy Hike

  • 01/06/2024


  • For member hike registrations
  • For non-member hike registrations

In the old days, before the creation of the national park and its groomed trails of gently ascending switchbacks, hikers reached the summit of Mt. LeConte by a more direct route. Early adventures closely followed the mountain's namesake creek through a wild and rugged landscape. It was in 1924 that a group of twenty-some hikers, including Louise Smith, took this route on a trip that would make history. It was on this beautiful little stream that the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club was born and activism for the creation of a national park in the Smokies was stirred. Just a few years later, the 1927 Smoky Mountains Hiking Club handbook, emblazoned with the iconic emblem designed by Louise, contained a beautiful description of a hike up LeConte Creek. Tales of scrambling up Rainbow Falls and glorious pictures of the awaiting scenery likely enticed many to join that hike nearly a century ago. I can make similar promises to you now. We, too, will scramble up Rainbow Falls, rock-hop along a sparkling creek, negotiate large boulders, hike steeply through high- elevation forest, and enjoy the wintry solitude of a route up Mt. LeConte that has been nearly forgotten with the passage of time. Rated difficult. Ten miles on-trail + 1 mile off-trail.

Leaders: David Sands and Ken Wise

To register, contact the leaders directly. You can find contact information in the January 2024 newsletter writeup for this hike.

For information about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visit the NPS website or call the information line at (865) 436-1200.

Smoky Mountains Hiking Club

PO Box 51592

Knoxville, TN 37950-1592

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