By Robert Earle Howells

Climb Mount LeConte

When to Go: March to October

Round-Trip: 10.4 Miles

Level: Moderate Peak Ascent

Sixers—mountains higher than 6,000 feet—have magical appeal in the Appalachians because they come with bragging rights (tallest in the East) as well as a cool series of habitat transitions and the region’s most stellar views. A trudge up Mount LeConte (6,593 feet) takes you through hardwood forests to spruce and balsam and on to exposed cliffs that require steel-cable assistance. You’ll also pass through Alum Cave, more of an overhang, which was once a source of saltpeter for the Confederate Army.

Inside Tip: Save the descent for another day by booking a room at the mountaintop LeConte Lodge (

Hit the Trail With National Geographic Maps

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