Is the Alum Cave Trail appropriate for a woman in her mid-50's who is not in pristine shape? She enjoys this kind of thing and will try her hardest, but I have read many reviews about how strenuous it is, and I don't want it to be a waste! If we didn't make it to the top, will it still be worth it? Thank you!
Alum Cave to Le Conte is strenuous and as crowded as a Gatlinburg buffet, but it is well worth hiking just a part of the trail if that is all that you can do. Go very very early to get ahead of the crowds. Wednesdays are less crowded and of course spring and winter are less crowded, but due to the recent fire closures Alum Cave is even more crowded than usual; think a very crowded buffet. So start out before the sun comes up and hopefully hit the trail as the sun is rising and everyone else is still sleeping, ha. At least go as far as the Alum Cave overhang.
Yes--you as long as you pace yourself and drink plenty of water you will be okay! The strenuous part about this trail is the elevation change, not so much based on how physically fit you are. The trail is a gradual continuation uphill but the air gets thinner and colder (bottom in January 60 degrees top was 23 degrees). If you enjoy hiking you will enjoy this trail even if you don't make it to the top.
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