Explore Smokies - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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They say it's only 0.5 miles up and 0.5 down... The hike up is on a paved path but it is STEEP. Maybe it's because we had just hiked 8 miles for Charlie's Bunion.. The views we're worth it, though. Make sure you bring a light jacket. On top of the observation towers, it's 20 degrees cooler. If there's fog, just wait 5-10 minutes and it'll move! Panoramic photos are a must!

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!

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.

It is just a path up to a viewing point. Not a hiking trail at all. Crowded at the viewing point also, unable to snap a picture without others in the way.

The view was amazing! However, the hike was paved (which in my opinion takes away from nature) and it was highly populated and a steep climb with 3 littles!

hiking
1 day 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.

Fantastic hike, amazing views

Don’t get me wrong, the views from the observatory are breathtaking and definitely deserve 5/5. But there were hundreds of people there and felt like an amusement park and not the great outdoors. That’s probably me being an outdoor snob, to be fair, but if you’re a fan of nature and pure hiking I’d do this one later.

Very pleasant, easy walk. Temperature was in the High 70’s and clear sky. Trail is very easy and only had a total elevation gain of about 700’. Half of the hike is along a beautiful creek. The highlight of our hike was a swim where a small stream cascades into river. Hannah saw a baby snake....

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.

Although there was no visibility, it was a fun experience! It's a steep walk up a paved walkway. Wear layers for sure!

The view is worth the hike!

Amazing views! Absolutely breathtaking.

Very good and a great 1-3 hour day

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

For what it is, this was fun. A steep walk up, but the view from the lookout is breathtaking. If it’s cloudy or foggy, wait 10 minutes, and it’ll clear.

Don’t go at lunchtime, as we found out it was a great place to picnic. Cleared out by the time we were down at 2:00.

long hike. pushed about two miles because the lady didnt believe me when i said the sign for jumpoff was actually a trail turn. well worth the push through the clouds. saw a bear within 15 minutes on the trail. if you actually know how to handle yourself this hike is well worth it. go early for the bunion itself is small in size and large groups get dangerous

The road to Clingman's Dome is just off SR-441, which is the Gatlinburg bypass. It is a long and beautiful road through the Smoky Mountains but there are no gas stations so fuel up in Pigeon Forge (southbound) or Cherokee (northbound) as the mountains will drink your fuel. The parking lot is large and paved and affords great views without getting out of the car. The paved trail to the top is a steep half mile that levels near the top where there is a short trail over to the Appalachian Trail. At this point you can walk the AT in both Tennessee and North Carolina as the trail hugs the border. the tower provides a 360 degree view of the Smoky Mountains with views reaching from 20 miles to 100 miles depending upon visibility.

We went on the trail after a thunderstorm had come through. Waterfalls were muddy but spectacular to see. Not all of this loop was easy. The mountain ascent was steep for this lady who’s just starting to do longer hikes.

Loved this trail! You want an early start so you can enjoy the day hike! I took my ten year old and she did well.l - it’s definitely modern to more intense if you aren’t an avid hiker but you will def be able to do it if you pace yourself! Well worth the view at the end and nice scenery along the way!

hiking
18 days ago

The first part of the trail is nice to see all of the Tubers having fun. MAKE SURE that you all take the right after the bridge to the LOOP trail and DONT go left to the Deep Creek Trail or you will hike for miles!!!!! We ended up going at least 10 extra miles!

hiking
20 days ago

This trail never disappoints! We started early, only seeing a few hikers. On the return trip we passed about a hundred people heading to the Bunion. An early start is key if you enjoy some quiet time out there or would like to avoid crowds. The round trip timing is accurate (for most). You need about 5 hours which includes relaxing / snack time at the Bunion and stopping to observe nature. Lovely views, wildflowers and mossy areas that look like a movie scene.

Great short trail with waterfall. The road without a name off Wayah rd. is Forest Service Rd. 388. There is a sign on this road @ 2 miles in for the trail.

A little bit of a bummer because the tower was closed, but it was beautiful out there and the kids enjoyed it. There were some offshoot trails we explored which was fun too.

How beautiful are the Smoky Mountains? This trail was fairly easy yet extremely enjoyable - beautiful streams flowing through wonderful forests.

hiking
22 days ago

This looped trail is really fun with great waterfall views. The road leading to it is 2 miles long of one lane section and can be a little dangerous, but we made it up and back just fine. If two cars need to pass in opposite directions, be cautious. Key is....be smart and drive up it slow.

I’ve hiked a lot in both TN and NC and this is by far my favorite hike.!!!

The vegetation was unreal. It was beautiful; everything felt so alive, like the plants and trees were going to break out in song and dance. Great hike! I’d totally do it again.

Fun trail with gentle grades that ends at the spectacular Charlie’s Bunion. There are some rocks and roots, but nothing technical. There’s a spring along the way if you need water.

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