Charlies Bunion via Kephart Loop is a 14.1 mile loop trail located near Cherokee, NC that features a great forest setting and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.
Avoid the crowds to this scenic overlook. This challenging hike offers an alternative route to Charlies Bunion to avoid the crowds of Newfound Gap. The first 2 mi is a nice stroll through the area of and old CCC camp. The Kephart Shelter is in the middle of this 3-way intersection. Take the Sweat Heifer Trail to the left; the next 3.7 miles will be the hardest part of the hike. Near the top you reach a small clearing and as you catch your breath slowly turn around for breath taking views of NC. A few more yards turn right on the Appalachian Trail and continue on the AT when you reach the Boulevard Trail. About 1.5 mi the spur trail to the left to Charlies Bunion. When you leave Chrlies Bunion you can continue to the right to reach the AT and turn left for about 0.2 mi to the Dry Sluice Trail. Turn right on the this nice soft wooded trail for 1.3 mi. Turn right on Grassy Branch Trail and you will quickly descend for 2.5 mi to the backside of the Kephart Shelter. It is a easy stroll back on the Kephart Prong to your car
Charlie's Bunion provides a spectacular view. Traveling up the Kephart trail leads you directly to the Newfound Gap trail. By parking at the Newfound Gap parking lot you can cut the hike in half. This trail doesn't provide any great views until you reach your destination. This trail isn't difficult, but strenuous. The forest is beautiful as always though. Charlie's Bunion is well worth the hike. Once you arrive at the top there will be a rock face you can climb up or take the dirt path towards the entrance to. It will provide a great aerial view of the Charlie's Bunion. Enjoy!
Definitely go early! Started the trail around 8am and by the time we made it to the bunion and back, the Newfoundland Gap parking lot was packed and the road up the mountain was backed up.
It is a long hike, but very doable. The view is absolutely worth it... there are multiple levels to explore and areas to take a break. Bring a snack! Will definitely be coming back.
Hiked the trail from Newfound parking lot and at first clouds covered the scenery. After it cleared and we got to the top the view was priceless! Would go on it again any day!
It is long and strenuous trail which took us about 8 hours to finish. It is fun and interesting, you see a typical Great Smoky view and experience different variety of landscapes.
The first 4 miles up was brutal, once up to the top of Charlies Bunion, you can enjoy the way down from Grassy Branch Trail.
It was my first trail to hike in the smokey mountains and it was just perfect. Can't wait to experience more trails.
Great hike. Not too bad of a climb. Maybe rate it moderate. Worth the views. :) A must do for GSMNP.
Just really starting to hike but did this trail Saturday and loved it! The 4 miles up is strenuous but the view is worth it!!
could have been a nice view, I'm not sure the clouds rolled in before I got all the way out there
We actually did Charlie's Bunion from the trailhead at the New Found Gap parking lot, which is 4 miles in and 4 miles back. The trail is easy to follow and well maintained. It climbs for 2 miles from the trailhead. Then it's up, down, and level for about a mile and right where the trail splits from the path to Jump Off, it takes on a pretty decent for the last mile to the bunion, which seems great at first until you realize you're climbing both directions. I'm still pretty new to hiking so this took a lot out of me, but I am psyched that I completed it. We met a guy at the Bunion that was in the midst of completing the whole AT from Georgia up to Maine. Good luck guy, where ever you are!