Appalachian Trail to Charlies Bunion

MODERATE 172 reviews

Appalachian Trail to Charlies Bunion is a 8.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November.

8.7 miles 2086 feet Out & Back

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

old growth

rocky

snow

washed out

no dogs

Nice hike along the summit of the Smokies, with views of Charles Bunion. The trail starts off with a gradual ascent of about 300 feet in the first mile. For the most part, the trail is tree covered, but there are a few views on the way to the Ice Water Spring-AT shelter. The shelter is one of the nicer structures along the AT in North Carolina. It sleeps 12, but a permit and reservation are required through the Park Service. Some of the comments in the AT logbook note that Elk have been seen in this area. The trail continues onto a side trail about a mile north of the shelter. This trail is well marked and goes left to Charles Bunion. This is a large rock out cropping created years ago by a fire, rain and subsequent landslide.

12 hours ago

Gorgeous hike! Beautiful views at the end too. Can be windy on the ridge though, may be worth avoiding on a windy day!

hiking
1 day ago

We started at new found gap on the Tennessee North Carolina line parking lot and ended at Charlies bunion. There are restrooms below the trail, it would be wise to go before embarking. It took about 2hrs15 min to get to Charles bunion and 2hrs back. Make sure you follow the AT Trail Blazers. The views are beautiful on the way up there and the view from the look out are even better. I believe you can see sevierville and Douglas lake from there.

hiking
2 days ago

Beautiful hike, not too strenuous. While some bits might be uphill there are plenty of level areas to catch your breath. Definitely recommend!

hiking
4 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

This is a beautiful trail, though pretty strenuous for novice hikers like myself. Definitely felt this hike in my knees as I tired out on the way down. The view is really great, too. It did get a little crowded by the rocks, but everyone was patient, friendly and I think just ready to rest after such an uphill climb. There is a shelter a little over half way up that is great for a rest. As far as wildlife goes, we saw a group of turkeys! We also might have heard a bear roar in the distance at some point? It took us about 5 hours to hike up and back down. All in all, it is a nice hike, but be prepared to walk up hill most of the way.

hiking
13 days ago

Great morning hike. The end is certainly worth the trek. Awesome view of the Smoky's

hiking
14 days ago

I love this section of the AT. I have done this one many times.

1 month ago

backpacking
1 month ago

This was our first visit to the great smoky mountains and this trail was perfect for
a way to experience the park for visitors. We hiked in November on a busy holiday weekend but it was easy to find, navigate, not too difficult with regular walking shoes, jacket, and water. We brought some granola bars for snacks. There are some rocky areas and if there is moisture also some slippery areas but all in all a breathtaking view at the end.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Very well marked and maintained trail with plenty of challenge without being too difficult. Lots of beautiful vistas along the way. Definitely go early if you want to enjoy Charlies Bunion without a crowd.

I recommend taking the short detour up to The Jump Off on your way to Charlies Bunion. It's only about 0.4 miles round trip to a cliff overlook. It is a little more rugged than the main trail, but well worth the effort.

2 months ago

Very cold at the peak with snow covered trees and an icy wind but gorgeous view to take in!

hiking
2 months ago

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago