The Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains, have a wide range of elevations, making them home to over 400 vertebrate species, 100 tree species, and 5000 plant species. Hiking is the park's main attraction, with over 800 miles (1,300 km) of trails, including 70 miles (110 km) of the Appalachian Trail. Other activities are fishing, horseback riding, and visiting some of nearly 80 historic structures.
Total Silence. Make SURE you get to the parking lot EARLY as possible. My GPS said I would get there at one time and I ended up hitting bumper to bumper -- two hours late.
The trail is to the left of the main walk way, to the store and observation deck -- leaving the parking lot.
Long enough to make it a hike, short enough to make it in no time.
For you fellow Eno Nation lovers out there, the end has (from what I found) no real good two trees to hang your Eno -- however there are plenty of spots along the way, in the woods.
A must when visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Take the beautiful Newfound Gap Road to the equally beautiful Clingmans Dome Road. The Clingmans Dome Road is closed in the winter, but you can hike up if you are in very good shape and an experienced hiker.
After a wonderful and long day hiking in the mountains, I ended on this flat and easy trail just inside GSMNP. It is beautiful with the large meadow by the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Mountain Farm Museum, the pretty river views and the surrounding hills. I even saw several elk resting on the edge of the meadow!
This was a great hike. It was more of an incline than we anticipated,but loved it. We went yesterday which was pretty much at its peak in fall and was simply beautiful. There was something very ominous that occurred after the first 2 miles..my wife and I both experienced a fast pulse in our heads that was the exact same beat 3 separate times in the same location in the back of our heads. I know this sounds strange,but it happened to both of us during 15 min of a section of the hike. So if this happens to you,it will pass! Interesting to say the least though . There were many signs of the early settlers which was great to experience throughout the hike. We did not see the burial sites though. Many river crossings that we had to ford through made the hike more interesting. We brought wet shoes since it's much easier to cross without slipping. I'm sure the water would of been much higher a few months back,but It was up to our knees this time around. The hike on all trails says its 7.5 miles but it's actually a little over 8 miles. We took extra breaks to enjoy the fall colors and of course the incline didn't help. Ha. I highly recommend this hike!
We hiked here for our 5 year anniversary and wow, I can't imagine a better way to spend it! There were two other people at the Bunion, and we waited a while and then had it to ourselves for the time we spent there. It is not an easy hike. There are quite a few steep parts. It is crucial to eat well, lots of carbs and protein, no greasy junk food- and hydrate adequately not only during but also BEFORE hiking. If not, this hike will be gruesome and not so enjoyable! Charlie's bunion was gorgeous, and afterwards, with the small amount of energy we had left, we did the side trail to the Jump Off/ Mt. Kephart summit. It was a HUGE drop off (1,200 ft) and the views are second to none that we have ever seen. If you have binoculars and/or very good vision, you can see way across the overlook to where you were earlier at Charlie's bunion. The people there looked like microscopic organisms, but you could see faintly them! The Ice water spring shelter is very cool. It is just a short 30 second hike off the main trail, and next time we hike here we definitely want to camp out in it. It requires reservations and a permit from the park service. Hope this helps anyone who has never hiked here before!