Alum Cave Bluff
In Tennessee, United States
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A virtual cache location in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - there is no container to find and you don't need to leave the trail. Coordinates can be tricky due to the land formations, but the way is perfectly clear.
Parking coordinates are: N 35° 37.777, W 083° 27.087
The Alum Cave Trail is a fantastic walk in The Smoky Moutains National Park. A gain of about 1200 ft in elevation can be tiring, but don't be discouraged because the reward is absolutely well worth your effort!
Alum Cave Bluff is a unique geological formation that sits at an elevation of about 5000 ft.
Alum Cave is not what the name implies. It is not actually a cave - instead, it is concave rock wall curving upward about 80 feet over the trail to give the impression of a cave. The formation's name comes from the deposits of alum found along the "cave" walls. Alum is a form of sulfur, and you can detect the odor of sulfur in the air when you reach the site.
In wintertime, ice makes hiking along many sections of the trail difficult; at the cave, icicles as large as a person may hang from the top of the ledge!
The National Park Service describes Alum Cave Trail:
"This is a 4.4 mile roundtrip hike, rated moderate. It includes Arch Rock (a natural arch), Inspiration Point, and the Alum Cave Bluff. Inspiration Point offers a spectacular view of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River's upper basin. The bluff resulted from Confederate mining of saltpeter during the Civil War. This trail continues to Mt. Le Conte, and its beautiful viewpoints...."
Allow yourself at least 3 hours roundtrip to hike to the Cave (took us about 2.5 at a fair speed). You will need to bring plenty of water and a snack to enjoy at the 'cave' (there are a few places 'inside' to rest up and enjoy the view). Please pack out any trash you create or see along the way.
Wear sturdy hiking shoes and dress appropriately. Weather changes occur very rapidly in the Smokies - a rain poncho is highly recommended in summertime. Always hike with a partner - if you simply must go alone, please notify someone where you will be and how long you plan to be gone.
To log this cache:
(1) Take a photo with your GPS at the 'Cave'.
(2) Find the small wooden sign at the 'Cave' and email us what it says.
You must physically walk to this cache location to get credit as a find. This is not a so-called "armchair" virtual cache that you log without leaving your computer - the whole point is to actually experience this place by visiting in person. False logs or logs without the required info will not be allowed and they will be deleted.
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 3/18/2015 10:45:20 AM Pacific Daylight Time (5:45 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum