Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cool summer hiking

The mountain summit weather reporting station at Mt. Leconte in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park has been showing some really cool temperatures this late spring and summer.

Yesterday, the last day of June 2008, LeConte Lodge at 6400 ft. reported a high of only 54 degrees F. and a morning low of 40 F. On June 19th and 20th, LeConte reported a wintry overnight low of 35 degrees F. By contrast, on the same day, the low temperature at Cades Cove was 50 F. at 1600 ft. with a daytime high of 80.

Some people say they don't hike in the summer because it's too hot... never in the Smokies, especially at altitude.

I mention the LeConte temperature because it is reported here on the NWS page on a regular basis. Personally, I would never hike LeConte in any month except Jan or Feb. Simply too many people. (I dare say say LeConte lodge is "the slum of the Smokies" - I heard there was a rat problem there).

For a real wilderness experience, there IS only ONE WAY to visit the Smokies in summer, the most beautiful way: by boat.


Old Man and mid pack runner said...

how about Clingman's dome, best time or route for a day hike? to avoid the crowds

William said...

The Ultimate Day Hike:
From the end of Forney Creek on Fontana Lake, you can hike to Clingman's Dome and back to the lake in one day using the Forney Creek Trail but it's about a 25 mile round trip and a vertical climb of nearly 5000'. You could also start the hike from Clingman's Dome and go down to the lake and back to Clingman's Dome but I'd much rather start from the lake and get the hard part over first. (day hikers should start this by 6 am). This is perhaps one of the only day hikes east of the the Rockies that has a 5000' elevation gain! I first did this hike on 7/06/01. It took 6 hrs to hike to the Clingman's Dome summit from the lake. Even though it was mid-summer, during the hike the temperature never exceeded 72 degrees F. So nice! I've done this hike 3 times, plan to take 13 hrs - that includes a 90 min rest break.

Lisa said...

Beautiful area for sure.

Anonymous said...


I don't think I'll be doing any 25 mile hikes anytime soon, but my knee was scoped three weeks ago and is feeling much better so I might be able to do some thoughtful walking, soon.

I'm in Colorado until the 14th and then when I get back to NY I'll be going to the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival--that will be a treat.