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After trudging up the Rainbow Falls trail we reached Mt. LeConte, the second highest peak in the Smokies.
We spent about an hour or so at the LeConte Lodge where we sat on a porch in rocking chairs and admired the amazing vistas. I bought a rather expensive sack lunch at the dining room and after bathroom breaks and conversation we headed up to the “actual” peak which is two tenths of a mile still up the mountain to an area called Clifftops that affords beautiful views in every direction.
We then re-grouped back at the lodge and then headed back down the 7 miles and 4,000+ feet of the Bull Head Trail to the parking lot. The whole hike plus the time at LeConte took about 12 hours or so. I think we were all sufficiently wiped out after this hike.
We went into Gatlinburg after the hike and ate at the Smoky Mountain Brewery and enjoyed the evening before returning to Elkmont for the night.