Hiking the Boulevard Trail to Mt. LeConte

Located at an elevation of 6642', Mt. LeConte is one of the highest peaks east of the Mississippi. There are five trails leading to the summit. I've written previously about taking the Alum Cave Trail to the summit. This time my oldest son Lance and I took the Boulevard Trail to the top. It's a 16 mile round trip to the top and back via this trail which makes for a long day hike but it's certainly doable. 

Begin by parking at the Newfound Gap parking lot in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. From there, take the Appalachian Trail 3 miles north before turning onto the Boulevard Trail. 

Most of the trail is wooded but there are some great views along the way. Near the top there are some dangerous cliffs that might require some extra care particularly if hiking in snow and ice. 
At the top of the mountain is the LeConte Lodge, accessible only by one of the five trails, which means when there is a plumbing problem, as there was the day we were there, the only way to get more PVC pipe to the lodge is via helicopter.

Just before reaching the lodge, be sure to throw a stone on this large rock cairn as it's supposedly a Native American tradition to do so.