Llamas resting and eating after carrying supplies to the top of Mt. LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Mt LeConte

Top choice in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mt LeConte (6593ft) is the park’s third-highest peak and one of its most familiar sights, visible from practically every viewpoint. The only way to get to the top is on foot. It is accessible on five trails, which range from 5 to 8.9 miles in length. Near the summit, LeConte Lodge is the park’s only non-camping lodging, but you better book ahead – reservations for the following year open on October 1, and are booked solid within 48 hours.

Reaching the summit (located 0.2 miles above the lodge) is a challenging goal, and it's well worth the effort. Aside from great views, you can stop in the office and lounge at LeConte Lodge to check out photos of cabin life dating back to the 1930s. A small shop sells T-shirts, socks, rain ponchos and other essentials, while you can pick up a sack lunch ($11), cookies ($1) or drink bottomless cups of coffee, hot chocolate or lemonade (all $4) at the restaurant.

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