FKT: Karen McNeany Hanlon - Mt Le Conte (TN) - 2023-06-10

Route variation
Vertical Mile (out & back)
Gender category
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Finish date
Total time
5h 21m 6s

I followed Christopher Hanlon's original route, starting in front of the Edgewater hotel at the creek on River Road - going up Bullhead trail to High Top summit - then descending Rainbow Falls Trail - finishing at my start point. There is plenty of water for the first 3 miles, as you are along the river. I made the mistake of not filling up all my bottles at mile 3 and ran out of water on Bullhead. It was a sunny hot day and the trail is exposed to the sun for long sections. There were no running creeks as it has been really dry lately. I felt the impact of dehydration and the top half of Bullhead was rough for me today. I refilled 3 500 ml filter bottles of water at the water pump by the lodge and was able to recover somewhat. Then I continued up to the summit, touched the rock pile, and headed back down taking the Rainbow Falls trail and Twin Creeks trail to make my way back to my original start point. Bullhead has some of the best views in the park since the forest fires cleared out the trees, however you pay for it in terms of sun exposure. I'd recommend this route if you are wanting to experience more of the park and some wide open views - just come well prepared with hydration as there are no reliable sources after you leave the river.