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“Loved it - beautiful view and rocks to climb on”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Charlies Bunion

Charlies Bunion
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
pla_orange
Level Contributor
29 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Loved it - beautiful view and rocks to climb on”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 8, 2012

We took ten 10th graders and a few adults on this hike in April. We got lucky in that it was a beautiful day with clear blue skys, and the views were fantastic. We took a full lunch in our backpacks and fixed sandwiches, etc. for everyone to eat while sitting on the rocks and enjoying the views. After you have seen the main area, make sure to go back to where the trail splits just before the bunion (left goes to the main area), take the righthand split and then an immediate trail to the left which takes you up to the top of the rocks that overlook the main "bunion" area. That was a cool view also. The trail is strenuous, but we had some inexperienced hikers mixed into our group, and everybody made it with no troubles.

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank pla_orange
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Nashville, TN
Level Contributor
21 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Spectacular views and very challenging hike!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 9, 2012

This is the best panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains I've ever seen! It is truly breathtaking. You hike in 4.4 miles on the Appalachian Trail and then return to the trailhead, which is at Newfound Gap Overlook. The start of the Appalachian Trail at Newfound Gap Overlook is not well marked, but if you are headed on Newfound Gap Road, Newfound Gap Overlook is easy to find. It is at the intersection of Newfound Gap Road and the road that takes you to Clingman's Dome. Most of the hike is along the top of the mountain ridge, and so you get beautiful views for much of the hike. The summit itself offers an incredible view of Mount LeConte and Kephart Mountain.

Because it is longer and more strenuous than many of the trails with panoramic views, it is not very crowded, which was a major draw for me.

The hike is very strenuous. I do not recommend it for children, the elderly, or individuals who are not in good overall health. The first quarter to third of the hike is at a very steep grade and is very rocky. I would definitely rate the trail as "strenuous", and I am a 25 year old female and a runner.


The hike took us 5 hours round-trip walking at a pretty brisk pace, including stopping for lunch near the summit. I would recommend starting no later than 10:00 or 11:00 AM, in order to get back in ample time to avoid nightfall. I would also recommend bringing snacks, plenty of water, sunscreen, and a light jacket/windbreaker because much of it is in the shade.

If you are also camping, I recommend camping at the Elkmont or Smokemont sites, because these are the closest sites to Charlie's Bunion.

If you want a panoramic view without the crowd and are willing to work for it, this is your hike. If you want a shorter or less strenuous hike with beautiful views, there are several of those (Chimney Tops, Clingman's Dome, etc).

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank NatalieA86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Knoxville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
141 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Very rugged trail”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 6, 2012

The trail is not for beginners. Steep, rocky and root bound. The view at the end is well worth the effort however.

Visited July 2011
Helpful?
4 Thank Bobkido
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Lauderdale
Level Contributor
33 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Worth the hike, but bring appropriate clothing layers!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 20, 2011

A great hike with an absolutely stunning view! Leave early to avoid the crowds on this popular trail and bring plenty of water. Even better, take a lunch to eat and sit and enjoy the view. Depending on what time of year you go layered clothing may be crucial. The majority of the trail follows a ridgeline. The trail switches back and forth from one side of the ridgeline to the other several times. Once again, depending on what time of the year you go and how windy it is the changes in weather from one side to the other may be dramatic. For my hike on one side it was sunny, out of the wind, and I was hot and getting a nice tan, while the other side was out of the sun , extremely windy, the trail was iced over and hadn't thawed yet and I was freezing. Fortunately I had plenty of layers with and I was adjusting them several times.

Visited October 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank Canes1969
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingston, TN
Level Contributor
149 reviews
102 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 197 helpful votes
“Spectacular View, especially in autumn”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 19, 2011

I fee like an expert on Charlie's Bunion after doing the hike on the AT to Charlie's Bunion (8 miles round-trip) 5 times this year, mostly during the summer months. We (my husband and I, in our 60's) have been doing a hike in the Smokies once a week since February. The AT to Charlie's Bunion stays between 5,000' and 6,000' elevation so it has been nice and cool during the hot summer months of 2011. And when the humidity is low and the skies blue, the view from Charlie's Bunion just can't be beat! My favorite time is during the peak of the fall colors - just spectacular! This is definitely a hike, not a stroll. We generally take 5 hours for this hike. Be prepared with the proper foot ware for a rocky and rooty trail with lots of uphill on the way to the Bunion. You definitely won't be alone on this trail - a very popular trail! Once during spring break we could not even sit near the Bunion for our lunch break since it was so crowded. But other times we have had the Bunion all to ourselves - a real treat - on top of the world! A must-do hike if you visit the Smoky Mountains. And if you have extra energy, check out the Jump-Off, just a short distance on the Boulevard Trail. It really is just as spectacular a view as from the Bunion (but a shorter distance to hike to).

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank TNKaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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