Lead Cove Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,183' 360 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 3,015' 919 m
Low: 1,833' 559 m
GradeAvg Grade: 13% (7°)
Max Grade: 17% (10°)
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“An easy trail that provides access to the Bote Mountain Trail and Spence Field along the AT.”— David Hitchcock
This trail provides the shortest run to Spence Field via the Bote Mountain Trail. While it covers 1.8 miles, the trail gains 1200 feet of elevation in a steady climb toward Bote Mountain Trail. Following the Sugar Cove Prong, there are a couple easy rock hop creek crossings at the start of the trail. Running under hemlock, tuliptree, and other hardwoods, you'll pass the ruins of a homestead, as evidenced by the remains of a foundation and chimney.
Roughly 3/4 miles into the run, the trail moves away from the creek and begins climbing more steeply toward the Bote Mountain Trail. The trail narrows as you wind around the ridges in this area. When you emerge on the wider Bote Mountain Trail, you can turn right and head up the Bote Mountain Trail to the Appalachian Trail, which provides easy access to the popular Spence Field area.
You can return to your car via the same trail you came up or turn left on Bote Mountain Trail and run down to the Finley Cane Trail, and return to your car via that trail.
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Land Manager: NPS - Great Smoky Mountains National Park