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hiking
21 minutes ago

I hiked it this morning, hoping to see a sunrise at the top. However the rain clouds blocked any “red” from the chimney top you can see. The trail is well maintained and easy to hike in the dark with a head lamp. I’m hoping they work on the last quarter of a mile and open it to the public so you can get closer to the unique tops.

Definitely a must see if you're in the area! 4 miles up and 4 miles down. The first 2 miles are mostly up hill but don't get discouraged! It is definitely worth the hike. When you eventually get to the "Charlie's Bunion" sign, most people take a left toward the "Bunion". I recommended taking a right to stay on the AT. There is a small trail as soon as you form to the right on the left hand side.. Take that straight up to the trail less traveled for an even BETTER view of the Smokies! This is the highest point t possible to view the Bunion. Make sure you bring plenty of water and snacks!

Easy for first time hikers as well as experienced. just make sure you have water prior as water is quarter mile away if you dont want to walk. but worth it!!!

Great trail. Took my 7 yr and we had the Bunion to ourselves for 40 amazing minutes today. Trail is absolutely moderate, not hard but not easy. First2 miles is uphill but then levels out to a nice high forest. The length should not be a deterrent if you bring enough food and water. Great views but the Bunion is small. Could be dangerous when crowded.

Hello! I'm looking to hike/camp on this trail soon and was wondering if it's necessary to have a bear canister? I currently don't own one, so if you know of a place close by that you can rent one, that would also be helpful!

thank you!
hmweeks93@gmail.com

Fairly steady climb, not too strenuous. There's a steep right turn about 0.3 miles from the top that can be easy to miss as that part of the trail is not as obvious.
The views are spectacular. When we got there, we were on top of the clouds. After several minutes they broke and we could see for miles.
I would definitely recommend it if you are wanting a sunrise hike as well, as the vista faces east over the valley.
Approx 2 hours up, 90 minutes down. Expect a lot of traffic, and set off early.

hiking
19 hours ago

This should not be rated hard. Sure there are rocks and some roots on the trail but it’s not a sidewalk. I consider a hard trail one that requires all fours to go up and over, or at least some scrambles and that’s what I was expecting from these reviews. Didn’t happen. This was a moderate trail with a lot of switch backs that make it long but at no point was it a hard trail. I made it up and back in exactly 4.5 hours and that included all stops and my big 15 minutes at the summit to take in the views. I’ve never done a 10+ mile trail rated hard in that time. Anyway, fun hike with a lot of terrain changes (clay, dirt, sand) the switchbacks were annoying but you could see why they were needed. There was just no other way up the mountain. Tower at the top is kind of cool.

hiking
22 hours ago

A lot of trees covered some of the great views but the ones we found were spectacular. A great hike into a temperate rainforest.

on Chimney Tops Trail

hiking
2 days ago

It’s a great hike, not as strenuous as people claimed. Nicely maintained trail, with a lot of stairs. My 5 year old hiked up without any problem. She was super disappointed that we are no longer allowed to climb the big rock on the top. I thought there would be some rocks to climb at the end, but it was only the newly built platform. The view on the top is ok, not spectacular. The view of the stairs is much better.

hiking
2 days ago

VERY STRENUOUS!! VERY WORTHWHILE!! Please make sure to bring a backpack with hydration & snacks. Heavily inclined.

Fantastic hike, amazing views

Starting off in the parking lot the views blow you away. We left early in the morning so the trail was not as busy. Absolutely breathtaking once you reach the Jump Off. Great views along the way also. Once we reached the summit of Mt Kephart we weren't sure if that was the jump off but had to go through some brush to continue. Once we got to the Jump Off there was no mistaking it. Absolutely incredible! Highly reccommend.

hiking
3 days ago

This is a Smoky Mountain classic. The second mile to the overlook is intense but the views are totally worth it! Great mix of forest setting in the beginning to panoramic views at the top. Wife and I had a great time and would definitely would recommend!

hiking
3 days ago

Yup, STEEP. Felt like more than 3-4 miles up to the top, but when you go the way back down, you’ll be “oh that’s all?” :-) I enjoyed hiking this trail even though I had to make some stops to catch my breath! Spot a black bear on the trail, and had to wait some good 10-15 minutes before it left the trail.

This was a nice hike! Overall, it wasn't as hard as we thought it would be, but it was definitely challenging. It had rained a lot the night before we hiked and the trail was extremely muddy and wet, with water running down the trail in a stream at some points. I think we could have done it a bit faster if not for that. The trail surface is definitely rocky and rooty, and I would highly highly advise hiking boots. We started at 6:45am, summited at 10:30am, left the top at 11am, and finished around 2pm. It was cloudy at the top with pretty much no views, oh well. More about the journey for this one. We were the first hikers of the day to summit and encountered about 30 people on the way back down, about half of which were backpacking and half of which were day hiking. Other notes: it's definitely longer than 10.4 miles if you start at the parking lot and end at the top of the observation tower. By our estimates/GPSes, over 11 miles. Also, there are a few switchbacks on the trail that you could miss if you weren't paying attention. We encountered a group of people who were lost on a false trail and we almost went down the wrong one once.

My ABSOLUTE favorite hike in the Smoky Mountains. I always hike up to the Jump Off then back Down to Charlie's and it is always worth it. My gps clocked it at 9.2 miles to complete the Jump Off, Icewater Spring Shelter, and Charlie's Bunion. This hike never disappoints.

Not recommend. This wasn’t a trail, it was a road. A road that wasn’t kept up. Tons of brush. Not marked at all. “Amber’s Den?” — would love to find this mythical place. It was a mile down which means a mile up. With a family of five that would’ve been good to know. Not real moderate.

The trail was amazing today. We took everyone’s advise and went clockwise and glad we did. Thanks to all before us for that tip. Ranger Falls was beautiful and the scenic overlooks were amazing. Ended up taking us about 5 1/2 hours and right at 10 miles. We are totally sore and can hardly walk but had a great time and plan on doing again in the fall.

Loved this section of the AT! So beautiful. Took my girls (age 7 & 10) backpacking for the weekend and this was great for them as well. They are pretty tough kiddos and did great. We stayed at the Mountain Harbour B&B, and after an awesome, huge breakfast, we were shuttled to Carvers Gap and started our hike back to 19E. Big Bald was intense but we loved every minute of it. This is defiantly a section I would love to repeat.

hiking
8 days ago

I want to say first that I only hike about 3-5 times a year as I live at sea level.

THIS HIKE KICKED MY #%*

I hiked this yesterday and I can barely walk today. I thought reaching the top meant that going down would be easy but it wasn’t. My legs were giving out the whole way down. Jelly legs.

I work out about an hour a day 5 days a week including swimming and weight training. But apparently that doesn’t prepare one for a hike like this!

It was beautiful especially the first half. And the view at the top was nice but not the best I have seen.

Playing in the creek at the trailhead after the hike was a great treat.

My 11 and 17 year old girls made it to the top but my 7 year old stopped at the Ap Trail.

I would do it again but would love to train more for it. A great accomplishment for me and a great memory.

Very enjoyable trail, even though it was pouring on us nearly the whole time. We took the time to go see the Jump Off and I’m sure it would have been beautiful had it not been so misty that morning! There were some difficult sections on the boulevard trail section with steep uphills but the views paid off. Would definitely recommend if you’re looking for a more secluded approach to LeConte. We did it in three days (1st day: Road Prong Trail+Appalachian Trail with sleep at Icewater Springs Shelter, 2nd day: Charlie’s Bunion back to Boulevard Trail and sleep at LeConte Shelter, 3rd day: coming down LeConte via Alum Cave). Overall an easy paced trail, with us getting done with hiking in early afternoon. Would recommend taking time to see the different viewing points like Myrtle Point and Charlie’s Bunion if you have the time.

loved the views. Truly worth the drive. Would like to go in fall and even start over night.

Amazing views! Absolutely breathtaking.

hiking
10 days ago

Made an over night loop of this trail and a few others. The Mount Mitchell trail is fine, plenty of water sources, really gradual pace to the top and well traveled. The summit was crowed but pretty much what you would expect if you've seen mountains before. The rest of the trails are where this place shines. Every thousand feet the surrounding radically changed from mossy woods, to pine forests and dense brush. The Pisgah is always rewarding.

Challenging hike with lots of rocks and roots. Dense forest most of the way and good views at the top if you get a clear day (hit or miss). Was heavily trafficked at the top by people who drove up. For us, it was a do it just to check the box hike but not the most beautiful or rewarding we have done. 3.5 hours up and 2.5 down. Early morning start (7am) meant cool temps throughout but still very humid in July. Cool that it's the highest peak East of the Mississippi.

Views are beautiful and it’s very peaceful at the top. Like others have said, it’s not much of a “hike” it’s more of a walk to the top, take in the scenery and head back to the bottom. All and all tho, it’s definitely beautiful up there.

Went early like most of the previous reviews suggested (we were on the trail by 7:45am and only saw 2 other cars in the parking area). Ran into about 4 ppl total on the hike to the Bunion, so pretty much had the hike to ourselves.

Lots of steps and scrambling over rocks, which made this trail unique and absolutely fun! The Bunion was masterful; climbed out onto it and had a 45 minutes break with snacks, sunshine, birds, butterflies and stunning, mile-high views.

Headed back to the car, we had to yield frequently to hikers headed up (it was 10:30a by this point) but still were able to make the round-trip hike (including the 45 min AT the Bunion) in just over 4 hours. Our hike ended just after 11am, and by this time the trail head was swarming with people, dogs, kids...and the parking lot was overflowing.

So glad we did this hike early!! And so worth the trek!! Will do again, and will start even earlier (would suggest 7am).

This trail is exactly moderate. Offers lush vegetation, bear sightings, and the occasional salamander.

The views from Charlie’s Bunion are amazing whether it’s clear sky’s, or dissipating clouds. Get an early start to avoid crowds. Most folks don’t get out to the trail until after 9 am. Get up early and enjoy the breathtaking view with limited to no company

hiking
11 days ago

A coworker recommended this trail to me for my vacation and it was quite an experience. My entire family and I hiked this trail. It is a beautiful and scenic hike but when people says it’s steep they mean it. It is by no means an easy trail but it is very rewarding when you get to the top.

hiking
11 days ago

I wouldn't consider the trail hard. There is hardly any elevation gain and the creek crossings weren't terrible. I went late July and some of the creeks were dry or hardly had any water. Definitely wear water shoes, otherwise your shoes will be wet the entire time. I had a hard time locating the viewing area of the window cliffs. It says overlook, but usually when it says that you assume it's below you, but instead you need to look up and you will see them. Definitely missed that and had to ask another hiker. So be sure to look up!

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