Alum Cave Bluffs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Amazing Views

Our next stop past Inspiration Point on the Alum Cave Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the Alum Cave Bluffs, from which the trail got its name. And once we got there, the views were amazing. Check them out below!

Stair steps in the ground leading up to Alum Cave Bluffs

Stairs carved into the ground led up into the Alum Cave Bluffs. There was not an actual cave, from what you might be picturing as a cave. But instead, there was a bluff that jutted far out above the ground, making a natural covering down below. The bluff created a cave of sorts, providing some shelter from the sun or the rain. In our case, it was the rain, but not too much rain.

Alum Cave Bluffs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The view above looks in the opposite direction from the previous photo. And the people in this photo help you to see the scale of the bluffs up above. Unless there was a very strong wind blowing the rain, you would stay pretty dry up under there. Which we did.

Here come the clouds!

It was interesting how blue the sky was while we were at Inspiration Point. And then by the time we had walked the next mile to Alum Cave Bluffs, the clouds had moved in, bringing with them a few raindrops. We got there just in time to enjoy the shelter from the rain.

Trees and clouds in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

I am sure that you can see pretty far from Alum Cave Bluffs on a clear day. But the clouds quickly reduced the visibility. Remind me again why they call them the Great Smoky Mountains?

The clouds were moving in quickly, along with a little rain

Yes, I took several photos of the clouds over the mountains while we were stopped there. Clouds are cool, and so are mountains. While we have clouds back here at home, we do not have the mountains to go with them. So I enjoyed seeing all of it together.

A majestic view of Alum Cave Bluffs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Going on up the trail under the bluffs would take you farther up, almost to the peak of Mt. LeConte. There is even a lodge up there, LeConte Lodge, that is only accessible by climbing one of the trails up to it. That might explain why we saw some people carrying large backpacks. They may have been on their way to spend the night in the lodge. At 2.5 miles up the trail, Alum Cave Bluffs is about the halfway point to Mt. LeConte. But we had done enough climbing for the day.

Also, in the photo above, the way the bluff leans to the left and some of the trees lean to the right, it is difficult to tell if this photo is straight. But the person in the red shirt near the bottom center is standing up straight, which means that this photo is actually straight.

Rocks and trees and clouds

Here is another view of the rock walls and the trees and clouds out in the distance. Just another reminder to me of how cool God’s creation really is.

Group Photo Time

We decided that it would be good to commemorate our accomplishment of having made it this far by taking a group photo. So here is what we came up with:

A group photo of us at Alum Cave Bluffs

I had not carried a tripod with me, and after all the climbing we had done I did not regret that decision. Because of that, an arm’s length iPhone selfie would have to do for our group photo. Several other people had taken photos sitting on these rocks, so we figured it was as good of a place as any.

A group photo, minus the photographer

Here is another version without that annoying guy in it, taken with my camera instead of my phone. We actually had to wait just a few minutes for those rocks to be vacant. And then we did not linger too long, because others were waiting to take a photo there after us. Who knew rocks could be so popular, especially for a photo location?

Resting people at Alum Cave Bluffs

Looking back down toward the way that we came from, you can see that we were not the only people who chose to sit for a few minutes. You can see several people taking some time to rest in the photo above. Where were all of them when I took the earlier photo of this same view that did not have all of these people in it? I don’t know. Maybe we were just ahead of the crowd in our climb.

Going back down the trail

Once the rain had mostly stopped and our heart rates had slowed down, we headed back down the Alum Cave Trail. It had been a good hike with good weather and spectacular views. It was well worth the trip, and well worth my sore knees, too. Maybe next time I will be in even better shape for that sort of climb!

Check back later on for more photos from our Great Smoky Mountains trip!

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! - Psalm 111:10

About the Photos

As with the Inspiration Point photos, I came up with a preset for these photos in Luminar AI, and then I reused that preset for all of the photos with slight modifications. The main variation was the iPhone photo. For that one, I had to go in a completely different direction because the colors of the iPhone photo were so different from the colors of the camera photos. I wanted the iPhone photo to look very similar to the others. Hopefully, that was accomplished here.

Photo: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in Luminar AI. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
_Lens: _ Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens
Date: July 19, 2021
Location: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.