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We paid for shuttle to pick us up at Laurel Falls parking lot at 8:30. He took us up to Clingmans Dome road and we hiked back down, 12.4 miles total. There was snow for 3 1/2 miles at top. Beautiful views at the major burn area on the ridge, looking back down on Chimney Tops, 441, and Gatlinburg. Colors were at peak. Just before end of trail you have a big ridge to climb. Awesome trail!

Can combine this with Rich Mt beginning @ Rich Mt Rd & create a 12mi loop with plenty of elevation gain & loss. Good for trail running.

One of the first hikes I did of the weekend! It was definitely a challenge and pretty long but well worth the hike up! Weather was beautiful, part of the mountains were frosted off from the sun not hitting them just yet. The views are to die for! Keep your speed steady.

hiking
7 days ago

Hiked on Sunday 11/04/18.

We hiked from Rainbow Falls Trailhead and followed Trillium Gap Trail past Grotto Falls and on to Brushy Mountain.
Total mileage was 11.2 and I would say moderate is a better description of this hike instead of hard). It took us 3.75hrs to get to the top and 2.75hrs to return (average fitness, 17wks pregnant, and baby-wearing a 1yr old).

GETTING THERE:
SO here is the tricky part- the gates to go onto the road to reach Grotto Falls Trailhead and parking area have been closed the past few times I have tried to park there. From this parking lot this hike would only be 6ish miles. Of course, the gates opened right after we had started hiking around 8:45am. I’m not sure why they are closed ever or what times they open. BUT you can always park at Rainbow Falls and about 0.1mi in you’ll go left to follow signs for Brushy Mountain. The trails are well-marked and once you get to where Trillium meets Brushy Mountain Trail (the other way up from the opposite end) there are 2 sets of signs and one that reads “Brushy Mountain 0.2.” GO THAT WAY!!! Also- it is more like 0.4 to get to the top and HOLY VIEWS!

This is probably one of my most favorite trails in the Smokies right now. I’m also baffled by the reviews saying that there are not views- perhaps those people are blind or simply did not actually summit Brushy Mountain. There are actually views all along the hike. We saw mountain views for much of the hike (through trees, not giant clearings) and an absolutely phenomenal view from the top of Brushy Mountain. I’m truly surprised this isn’t a more popular trail. We didn’t see as much wildlife as predicted, but we did see a doe who appeared to be pregnant or in actual labor near the top.

HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

Really worth it when you see the view! Kids might think this is “moderate” but this old dude w bad knees and a pacemaker says it is most definitely worthy of a “hard” rating! But a great hike!

Location
The trailhead starts in the Newfound Gap Overlook parking lot. It's on the left side right next to the bathrooms! It is labeled Appalachian Trail. Nothing about Charlie's Bunion is listed.
About 1.5 miles in there is a spit in the trail. Go left!
Still no mention of Charlie's Bunion haha.

Splits in the trail
Whenever there is a split in the trail choose the Appalachian Trail side. I believe the next split is at mile 3 or so. Choose to go right there.


Views
On your way to the Bunion you have lots of views and even a chance to check out a shelter. Be mindful of thru hikers who may be using that as a resting spot.


The Bunion is better than any picture so hike it yourself! We even did a shoot off to the Jump Off and wow!!!

Moderate is right
We were exhausted from the constant climb up to the Bunion and are legs were sore Dr the long walk back down (burning calves). Moderate is an accurate listing for this trail. Not super technical, but definitely a work out.

Time it right
We got on the trail around 7:30 and had it mostly to ourselves. We passed at least 50 hikers on our way down though, so get there early!

Conditions
It is wet/icy and VERY windy!

A lot of incline but the views were incredible. We started around 12pm and there was a little bit of ice on the trail but overall a great hike.

hike it with my wife on November 2nd. beautiful, foggy and cold. not too many hikers. nice and relaxing.

This was a great trail. Not too long and not difficult. Great for a quick hike!

Short hike on heavily trafficked forest floor trail that leads to John Ownby's cabin. Parking and bathrooms at Sugarland Visitor Center. The trail guide was very informative and gave us an opportunity to stop and look around.

This is such a fun trail! I started off at 8:30am on a weekday, went up seeing only maybe 3 or 4 other people, and had the Bunion to myself for a good 20 minutes. The view is absolutely stunning! On the way back, I turned on to Boulevard Trail to go to The Jumpoff. The fall colors were brighter than anywhere else, and the view was definitely worth it. My GPS clocked it as 9.5 miles (and 2500 calories burned, so bring snacks to keep up your energy!)
I wear trailrunning shoes, and found most of the trail pretty easy to navigate. Definitely wear appropriate shoes; running shoes are not gonna be a good idea. By the time I got back to Newfound Gap, it was busy with lots of people heading up.

This was a great hike. The ending was epic! So glad we did it!

Awesome hike! But very busy, we had to pass and stop for people coming the other way quite often. The scenery was beautiful and the view at the end was worth it. The trail was rocky with lots of roots so you have to watch your footing!

Great hike! Very rocky and uneven in parts but the view is worth it. We also hiked to the Jump Off and it was just as beautiful! Great hike all around!

we did this and branched off to include the jump off and everthing totalled out to 4hrs 23min and 8.8 miles. i think it was a total of 3.9 miles uphill. i slept good that night!
i usually start early (6am) but since the sun is coming up later we started at 9am. it still wasnt crowded and having the sun directly overhead at the bunion really helped with some good pictures

hiking
23 days ago

This trail is easy and very relaxing. It runs right along a main road but that didn’t bother us and our two dogs at all. It was great to park at the Sugarlands Visitor Center and walk the trail over to Gatlinburg and explore the town. Would do again but definitely not a secluded hike if you are looking for that.

The view from Charlie’s Bunion is amazing. When we hiked up it was cloudy foggy and cold on the way up. Once we cleared the tree line the clouds started to lift and clear. When we got to Charlie’s Bunion it was clear and the view was amazing. Well worth the hike up the hill. Recommend you hit the trail early to avoid the crowds. Hardly anyone on the trail on the way up however on the way down there was literally 50 to 100 plus groups on the way up.

Really good hike. Went in about 10 am. Wasn’t too busy. Came out about 2pm and it was very busy. Get there early.

Lovely mostly flat very easy trail to a small waterfall. Perfect for seniors and little kids. Cross the creek and keep goi g and the trail behinds a slow incline leading g to another small waterfall that cascades from the top of mountain all the way down. This part is good for running.

nice hike, a few views on the way up. we started early in morning in heavy fog. it opened up by the time we reached the bunion. the forest was great in the fog, lots of good pics. if it's a clear day do the jump off for a added bonus.

The view would have been amazing if it wasn’t cloudy!! Overall a good hike. Mostly through woods but there are a few spots along this 4 mile hike with very nice views. Be careful at the bunions, they are literally a straight drop down on both sides.

Nice easy stroll along the stream. It wasn’t strenuous and the scenery was beautiful!

The view at Charlie Bunion is just amazing!! Worth a shot. Make sure you carry enough water cause it's not an easy hike.

Great hike! Beautiful view!

Good hike. Has a hill but keeps an easy incline.

a nice, moderate trail, with easy reaches along the Little River. A portion is also known as Jake's trail, and the signs can be confusing. The non-river reach is sparsely hiked, with several challenging stream crossings, making the trail totally worth it. Parking at the trailhead is easier to get than at some of the other trails in GSM park.

Loved the trail. Had a lot of fun.

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