Lodging at Great Smoky

Unlike most national parks that have more than a few lodges within their borders, most of which you can drive right up to, Great Smoky lays claim to just one lodge. And you have to walk more than a few miles to reach it. But then, that's part of the charm of staying at LeConte Lodge.

Check out this video and entire article about the LeConte Lodge experience.

Located at an elevation of 6,360 feet, not far from the 6,593-foot summit of Mount LeConte, LeConte Lodge is a well-sought destination for those with reservations. 

Five park trails lead to the lodge, with the Alum Creek Trail offering the shortest route, at 5-and-a-half miles. Of course, it’s also the steepest!

Other trails that wind up at LeConte Lodge are Rainbow Falls and Trillium Gap, each 6.5 miles; Bullhead, just over 7 miles; and Boulevard, which entails a hike of 8 miles to reach the lodge.

LeConte Lodge, which actually predates the park’s establishment, coming to be in 1924 when a tent camp was created to foster support for a national park, is not to be confused with a four-star hotel. But it oozes character. You’ll find a collection of nicely weathered and simply furnished cabins, which offer no electricity but nice blankets and clean linens.

Some folks reach LeConte Lodge with llama support. Photo by Danny Bernstein
Some folks reach LeConte Lodge with llama support. Photo by Danny Bernstein

You can, however, clean up by filling the provided wash basin with water from a faucet outside the dining hall, which offers breakfast and dinner.

You can find more information on LeConte Lodge and make reservations at this page. Be forewarned, though, this is a highly popular destination that fills months in advance.

Outside of the park, you'll find more than a few namebrand chain hotels and charming bed-and-breakfasts in the surrounding communities. Here's some contact information:

North Carolina

Bryson City..........(800) 867-9246
Cherokee............(800) 438-1601
Fontana..............(800) 849-2258
Graham County.....(800) 470-3790
Haywood County....(877) 456-3073
Maggie Valley........(800) 624-4431

Tennessee

Cosby/Newport.....(423) 623-7201
Gatlinburg...........(800) 267-7088
Pigeon Forge........(800) 251-9100
Sevierville...........(800) 738-4378
Townsend............(800) 525-6834