Hiking to Charlies Bunion in the Smoky Mountains

January 14, 2019

Make the climb to Charlies Bunion in the Smoky Mountains, and you will find the effort it took to make it there was well worth it! Hikers will travel along the famous Appalachian Trail while taking this hike. Not only that, but you will be rewarded some of the best views you can find in the Great Smoky Mountains! Keep reading below to find details about this trail:

Round Trip Length 8.0 Miles
Elevation Gain 1600 Feet
Trail Highlights Panoramic Views

Trailhead:Appalacian Trail marker on tree

To reach the trailhead for Charlies Bunion in the Smoky Mountains first travel 13.2 miles on Newfound Gap Road from the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Once you reach the parking lot for Newfound Gap the trailhead is left to the overlook. This will be the same end of the parking lot as the restrooms.

Trail Description:

Charlies Bunion is a wonderful day hike option in the Smoky Mountains! It is 8 miles round trip, so 4 miles each way. From the start hikers will follow east along the Appalachian Trail. The first two miles of the hike have a steady incline. However, your effort in this section is rewarded quickly and often with beautiful mountain vistas.

Throughout several portions of the hike you’ll be traveling at elevations around 6000 feet. At these points it will feel like you are walking along the spine of Appalachian Mountains! At 2.7 miles into the trail hikers have the option to head to Mt . Leconte via the Boulevard Trail. Instead, stay straight to continue towards Charlies Bunion. A quarter of a mile later, you will pass the Icewater Spring Shelter.

Finally, at 4 miles from the trailhead a short spur trail will branch to the left and lead you to Charlies Bunion! This rock outcropping offers amazing panoramic views of the mountains! From the west you can see Mt. Kephart and Mt. Guyot is to the east.

charlies bunionHow the Trail Got its Name:

Charlies Bunion is named after Charlie Conner. Charlie ventured up the hike with Horace Kephart. He was an early supported for the formation of a national park in the Smokies. When they stopped for a rest Charlie removed his socks and shoes to show off a bunion that looked like the rock outcropping. After looking at Charlies feet, Kephart told Charlie he was going to name the place and put it on a government map for him. As a man of his word, he did! Today, hikers enjoy the panoramic views offered here.

No matter the season hiking to Charlies Bunion in the Smoky Mountains is stunning! However, in spring hikers will get to enjoy the beautiful high elevation flowers that bloom. Summer, fall, and winter all offer beautiful ways to experience the Smokies in unique perspectives.If you are looking for another beautiful mountain hike we recommend the Chimneys! The Chimney Tops Trail takes hikers to another substantial rock outcropping, but is shorter in distance.