Boulevard Trail (Mt. LeConte)Moderate

Newfound Gap, A.T. / Gatlinburg, TN

Boulevard Trail (Mt. LeConte)

Distance (One Way)

5.4 miles

Elevation Gain

1,544 feet


Newfound Gap, A.T.


Gatlinburg, TN

Trail Description

The Boulevard Trail is one of the more difficult of the 6 trail options for a hike to Mt. LeConte. The trail itself is 5.4 miles long from the AT to LeConte Lodge, but hikers must start at the Newfound Gap parking lot and hike the Appalachian trail for about 2.7 miles to reach it, making the total one way distance to LeConte Lodge 8.1 miles

From the Newfound Gap parking area, head up the steps on the Appalachian Trail just to the right of the Rockefeller Monument, where the national park was dedicated by FDR in 1940. This is also the route to reach Charlies Bunion. Like most popular trails in the Smokies, this area can get quite crowded, so it is best to get an early start.

The trail does not dip below 5,000 feet for the entire hike. From Newfound Gap to the highest point of Mount LeConte the total elevation gain is 1,544 feet. The Boulevard Trail and AT junction is just above 6,000 feet in elevation.

You'll reach the Boulevard at 2.7 miles and take a left at the intersection. Just a tenth of a mile in is the spur trail to The Jumpoff, a popular vantage point about a half a mile off the main trail. After this point you will descend for almost a mile and lose about 500 feet of elevation.

The Boulevard provides some of the most beautiful views of surrounding mountains of any LeConte trail. There are countless open areas on the way up for hikers to pause and look out.

For the next mile and a half you will gradually ascend before meeting a switchback at the high point of Anakeesta Knob, a peak that you will later be able to look back at from Myrtle Point. From here you descend again. No matter which way you're traveling on the Boulevard, Anakeesta Knob is a welcome sight to all hikers; it's a marker that you're about to head downhill again.

Anakeesta Knob is 2.3 miles from Myrtle Point's spur trail. For the first mile and a half of this distance, hikers will enjoy only a moderate incline with ups and downs along the way. You will then reach a large, open area with the best views on the trail. From here you can see several of the Smokies Sixers (peaks over 6000 feet in elevation) including Old Black, Mount Guyot, Tricorner Knob, Mount Chapman, Luftee Knob, and more.

From here you will begin to climb again on the steepest part of the trail. It's only about a half mile to the Myrtle Point spur trail, so your efforts will soon be worth it. Take a left at the sign and travel just 0.2 of a mile before seeing the 360 degree views from Myrtle Point, the easternmost peak of Mount LeConte.

From the sign at the spur trail, LeConte Lodge is just 0.7 of a mile away. Half of this portion is quite the climb as you will be heading directly for High Top, the highest point of the mountain at 6,593 feet, marked by a large stone cairn. Then you'll head downhill once more until you reach the lodge.

"Many people assume that because this hike begins at such a high elevation that this must be the easiest trail to the summit of Mt. LeConte. Don't be fooled. This is a very tough hike. The trail rises and falls many times as it crosses the ridgeline between Mt. LeConte and the main crest of the Smokies." - Hiking In The Smokies

Because of the unique elevation profile of this trail, its difficulty shows on the way back to Newfound Gap. You won't get the constant relief of 100% downhill like the other LeConte trails. The final climb at the end before reaching the Jumpoff is the most brutal part of the hike.

#appalachian trail
#mt leconte
#gatlinburg tn

Boulevard Trail (Mt. LeConte) Elevation Profile

Boulevard Trail (Mt. LeConte) Elevation Profile Tom Dunigan's Elevation Profiles

Mt. LeConte Trails

Other ways to reach Mt. LeConte: Alum Cave Trail (Mt. LeConte) (5 m) Brushy Mountain Trail (Mt. LeConte) (4.9 m) Bullhead Trail (Mt. LeConte) (5.9 m) Rainbow Falls Trail (Mt. LeConte) (6.6 m) Trillium Gap Trail (Grotto Falls, Mt. LeConte) (8.9 m)

Mount LeConte's 6 Trails

Alum Cave

Route Info: 1 trail, 5 miles total

Trailhead: Newfound Gap Road [Map]

Starting Elevation: 3878'

Pros: shortest & easiest route, incredible views throughout including Alum Cave Bluffs, Inspiration Point, and a distant Clingman's Dome on a clear day

Pros: the busiest of all 6 trails and one of the most trekked in the entire park

More Info

The Boulevard

Route Info: 2 trails, 8.1 miles total

Trailhead: Newfound Gap [Map]

Starting Elevation: 5039'

Pros: a high starting point makes for the only LeConte hike that isn't a relentlessly steep climb, incredible views throughout

Pros: first 2.7 miles on the AT can get fairly crowded; elevation changes make it a tougher one to go back down

More Info


Route Info: 3 trails, 6.9 miles total

Trailhead: Cherokee Orchard [Map]

Starting Elevation: 2602'

Pros: potential loop hike, The Pulpit, wide open views for most of the trail after the 2016 Gatlinburg fires, least traveled route

Pros: some of the roughest terrain out of the 6 trails, very steep, many consider it very difficult

More Info

Rainbow Falls

Route Info: 1 trail, 6.5 miles total

Trailhead: Cherokee Orchard [Map]

Starting Elevation: 2602'

Pros: waterfall at the 2.7 mile marker, potential loop hike

Pros: the short waterfall hike makes the first portion of this trail a very crowded spot if you don't start early enough

More Info

Trillium Gap

Route Info: 1 trail, 8.9 miles total

Trailhead: Cherokee Orchard [Map]

Starting Elevation: 2602'

Pros: most gentle incline of the 6, potential loop hike, the LeConte llama train, Grotto Falls early on in the trail

Pros: the longest single trail to LeConte, the last 3.6 miles can feel pretty brutal

More Info

Brushy Mountain

Route Info: 3 trails, 9.1 miles total

Trailhead: Greenbrier Cove [Map]

Starting Elevation: 1696'

Pros: the roundabout way of reaching the lodge makes it an unpopular option, beautiful views of Mt LeConte from the trail & summit of Brushy Mountain

Pros: the longest route possible, includes the last 3.6 miles of Trillium Gap; most of the trail gets overgrown in the spring & summer

More Info
Alum Cave Trail (5 m)Arch Rock (1.4 m)Arch RockAlum Cave Bluffs (2.3 m)Alum Cave Bluffs (4.1 m)Vantage PointInspiration Point (2 m)Inspiration PointAppalachian Trail (2.7 m)Boulevard Trail (5.4 m)The Jumpoff (2.8 m)The JumpoffAnakeesta KnobAnakeesta KnobVantage Point (6.9 m)Vantage PointMyrtle Point (7.4 m)Myrtle PointHigh TopHigh TopOld Sugarlands Trail (0.4 m)Bullhead Trail (5.9 m)Rainbow Falls Trail (0.6 m)The PulpitThe PulpitFire Damage (2.1 m)Fire DamageIntersection with Rainbow FallsIntersection with Rainbow FallsRainbow Falls Trail (6.5 m)Rainbow FallsRainbow FallsFire Damage (3.7 m)Fire DamageTrillium Gap Trail (8.9 m)Grotto FallsGrotto FallsBrushy MountainBrushy MountainPorters Creek Trail (1 m)Brushy Mountain Trail (4.5 m)Trillium Gap Trail (3.6 m)Summit of Brushy MountainSummit of Brushy Mountain12345678925003500450055006500

Trail Difficulty Scales Explained

Elevation Grade


Gentle Slope

Paul Petzoldt Scale






Shenandoah Scale


Moderately Strenuous




Hiker Tips & Trivia

  • Hikers recommend taking a break about ⅔ of a mile in to enjoy the views of the North Carolina side of the Smoky Mountains
  • "The Boulevard, which never falls below 5,700 feet, is one of the crookedest and most precipitous ridges in the mountains." - Paul J. Adams, 1966

Trail Map

More Hikes

The above list of hiking trails in the Smokies is incomplete and constantly being updated. If you have information or photos you would like to contribute, please contact [email protected]

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