Little Duck Hawk Ridge

I have been to LeConte about 60 times.  The majority of those trips have been up Alum Cave Bluff Trail.  Between Inspiration Point and Alum Cave Bluff is a great view of a steep, vertical rock formation known as "Little Duck Hawk Ridge," "Kissing Camel Ridge" or "Eye of the Needle."  It is associated with Peregrine Peak which is the large moutain to its NE. Another view is after you pass Alum Cave Bluff the trail makes a turn to the right.  Look to your left through the trees.  You will see a side trail ending at a cable across the trail with a sign.  That is a far as you can legally and morally go. 

Below is the quote from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park of its "Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations , Chapter 1, parts 1-7 authorized by US Code Section 13" with specifics to this area.  Simply put, if you have not made it to Little Duck Hawk Ridge before the closure, you are too late.  Its closed....

Section 1.5 deals with public closures.  Here is the statement:
"Trail and Backcountry closures

The rocky ridge adjacent to the Alum Cave Bluff area,commonly known as: "Eye of the Needle", "Little Duck Hawk", and "Raven's Roost" is closed to public access. The closed area is a narrow rocky ledge that runs in a north/south direction. Closure signs will be posted approximately 100 yards from the junction with Alum Cave Trail along a manway leading to the mentioned ridge. This closure is to prevent disturbance of nesting Peregrine Falcons. The success of Peregrine Falcons in raising their young is significantly decreased by human disturbances. Successful nesting has been observed."

I have seen and heard the falcons!  What a sight.  One day I heard it fly over me before I saw it.  Magnificent!  So, I respect this regulation in defense of the falcons.

Below are a few pics from before the closure. I climbed out to the hole in the rock and took a picture of Alum Cave then went to Alum Cave and took a picture of the hole.  I am glad I did it when I did!

Here is Alum Cave from where I was standing at the hole in the rock at Little Duckhawk Ridge.  Note the hikers standing under the overhang.

1 comment:

  1. They have been marking it CLOSED for decades, mostly for safety. The hawk excuse is a relatively new one. Having grown up on SMHC stories of the box with the names, I ducked under the barrier and went out to the hole in the late 70s. Glad I did, but I still have the occasional nightmare of falling through the hole (knife-edge ridge radically slanted) and into the mist and evergreens below. We dropped off the back side, planning to walk out that valley, and found the gnarliest laurel hell I've ever encountered. Still -- good times~