Charlies Bunion

Knoxville, Tennessee 37998

Charlies Bunion

Charlies Bunion Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Leave Newfound Gap and head northbound on the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Rise amid rare spruce-fir forest with occasional clearings that present warm-up views. Pass Icewater Spring trail shelter before descending a knife-edge ridge. Come to the outcrop where astounding views into the Volunteer State and beyond open wide.

The view from Charlies Bunion is arguably the park’s finest. Unlike a view from a fire tower or a rounded peak, Charlies Bunion boasts a vista from a cliff face with an abrupt drop of more than 1,000 feet. There will also be fine views on your hike to the bunion, interspersed with sections of spruce-fir high-country forest. Since the park tries to keep Newfound Gap Road open year-round, this trek is a good way to jump into the maw of a high-country winter. Spring and fall are fine times when skies are clear. Summer will be busy—very busy."

More Charlies Bunion Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best of the Appalachian Trail Day Hikes (Menasha Ridge Press)
Leonard M. Adkins & Victoria and Frank Logue
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"Charlies Bunion, an exposed, rocky knob, is the destination of this hike. From this knob, there are several outstanding views—Mount Kephart to the west, Mount LeConte to the northwest, the gorges of the headwaters of Porters Creek to the north, Greenbriar Pinnacle to the northeast, and the Sawteeth Range to the east. Take care when climbing around the bunion: a man fell to his death here in 1990. From the parking area at Newfound Gap (elevation 5,045'), follow the A.T. from the northeast corner of the parking area east along a graded trail. Red spruce and Fraser fir (also called balsams) are common in this section. At mile 1.7, reach the junction with the Sweat Heifer Creek Trail, probably named for the cattle drives up this steep trail to the grassy balds where the livestock was grazed. The Sweat Heifer Trail heads down to Kephart Prong." Read more
Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Falcon Guides)
Kevin Adams
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"Nearly everyone who visits the Smokies spends a little time at Newfound Gap, where this hike begins. Unless you just like hanging out in crowds, you’ll want to park and hit the trail quickly. However, don’t expect to get away from everyone on this hike. Charlies Bunion is a classic Smokies hike and can be crowded any time of year except winter. Winter hiking along this trail is very rewarding, with great vistas and the opportunity for seeing interesting ice formations. However, only experienced hikers should attempt it in winter. Regardless of when you make the hike, the views from Charlies Bunion are spectacular." Read more
Top Trails: Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 2nd Edition (Wilderness Press)
Johnny Molloy
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"Leave busy Newfound Gap and head northbound on the Appalachian Trail (AT). Rise amid rare spruce-fir forest with occasional clearings that present warm-up views. Pass Icewater Springs trail shelter before descending a knife-edge ridge. Come to the outcrop where amazing views into the Volunteer State and beyond open wide. The park tries to keep Newfound Gap Road open year-round; thus, this trek is a good way to jump into the maw of a high-country winter. Spring and fall are good choices with clear skies; summer is busy." Read more

Charlies Bunion Reviews

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9/6/2018
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7/30/2018
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3/22/2009
I should have picked another trail to start back-up with after a month off. The trail starts with a long steady climb full of tourists, but eventually the crowds fade away, and you find yourself enjoying some real quite time. The trail is pretty rocky in places. The "bunion" itself makes the effort worth while. Great views! I met several AT thru-hikers on this trail (early spring).
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11/2/2007
Enjoyable hike. The trail was easy to moderate. The 1/2 mile side trail to the jumpoff was rugged but well worth the effort, I would definetly recommend this side trail as a must see. Dissapointed to see a lot of trash along the trail. The bunion was spectacular but there was too many people there to enjoy it. If your seeking more solitude I would hike this one later in the fall or winter. Nice view of Mt. LeConte to the N.W.
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Trail Information

Knoxville
Nearby City
8
Distance
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
4.5 hours
Duration
Year-round
Season
5,015 feet
Trailhead Elevation
6,105 feet
Top Elevation
Camping
Additional Use
Views
Features
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: 865-436-1200, nps.gov/grsm
Local Contacts
Great Smoky Mountains National Park map; Trails Illustrated #229 Great Smoky Mountains National Park; USGS Clingmans Dome and USGS Mount Le Conte
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018