I took the Alum Cave Trail up the mountain to the lodge on May 6, 2004. Be forewarned this is not an easy 5 mile hike but well worth it when you arrive at the top.
I am 55 years old and in above average condition,
exercise 5-6 times a week. The change in altitiude had something to do with it since I live at sea level. Anyway, the first 2.5 miles is easy. The rest of it is mostly straight up until it levels out about 1/4 mile from the lodge.
Younger folks in their 30's called it "strenuous".
I was fortunate with the weather. Bring more than one bottle of water and drink it before you think you need to. The short climb to the Cliff Tops at sunset was well worth the magnificent view.
Food was very good; staff do a very good job.More