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

Asheville and the Smokys

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Always a great trail have done in all season and winter is the best

The day was fogged in, so unfortunately we didn’t get any of the awesome vistas. But we could imagine them. We did however still have a great hike. The leaves are gone at the upper elevations now but there is color (every shade of green) in the moss, ferns, and undergrowth. Still quite amazing. I’d rate the trail as moderate, and found it a nice leisure hike. We stopped at the shelter for a bite to eat and were greeted by a die and two fawns grazing in the reeds in front of us. That was our ‘10’, along with the shades of green undergrowth. We decided to head back from there since there was no expected view from Charlie’s Bunyan ; we’ll be back on a clear day. I rated 5 stars as I didn’t want to down rate it for the weather. This has all the makings of an awesome trail.

This is my favorite hike in the Smokies. Beautiful views and lots of amazing natural wonders to take in. Can be difficult at times but is well worth the effort. Can't wait to do this again when the wild flowers are in bloom.

Nice hike. It was the only blue sky day of the week. We got to the parking area about 10:00 am and did find a parking spot. There is a bath room at the trail head. It was fairly busy to the falls. Easy to moderate. The falls is beautiful and it’s cool that the Trillium trail passes behind it. We had a snack there and continued up the trail another mile or so towards LeConte. Here, we were wonderfully alone. This trail is much less traveled. Only saw a group of 6 people coming down from the Lodge. The snow line started around 4000 ft. I found some neat ice needles forming in the mud at the base of some of the fallen tree roots. We turned around at a river crossing around 4500 ft. There are several turn of the century log homesteads on the motor trail that are interesting history to spend time at on your return to Gatlinburg.

hiking
5 days ago

We did not go all the way to mount leconte. My hubby and I stopped at the bluff. From the trail head to the bluff, it’s about 2.2 miles. What a great hike. Really loved this trail. The mossy trees and creek were amazing. The arch was super cool. The bluff had icicles hanging that were falling down like missles. Loved it. This is a very popular trail so go early.

This trail had a bit of everything. the view from the top was amazing too! just beware of the ice all over the trail this time of the year

This trail delivered just what I was looking for as far as being a bit challenging but nothing crazy and the payoff at the top was amazing ! I went on a Sunday morning , on the way up it was only minimally busy, the rock itself was pretty crowded and on the way back down around 1pm was very heavily trafficked and SO MANY off leash dogs, which would have been fine as long as you don't have a dog reactive dog with you, as my friend did . I would not suggest bringing a dog unless it is extremely well trained and non dog reactive because it appears that off leash dogs on this trail is a big thing .

I would totally do this hike again but probably on a weekday or a colder day to avoid the crowd.

I have so much respect for this mountain after hiking this trail. Definitely one of the hardest hikes I've done, but also the most rewarding. There are so many beautiful landmarks to keep you inspired along the way.

hiking
6 days ago

Very fun trail with amazing views! In my groups opinion it wasn’t very hard like the reviewers say (and we aren’t in very well shape like most). Would recommend this trail to anyone.

The walk in was steep and slippery in spots. Bridge crossings where slick and had ice. Snow closer to the Falls. Was worth the hike! 16,433 steps according to my watch. Recommend for those that want to see beautiful water falls. We did see a huge buck driving in. Then we saw a bear both going up and heading down.

not horribly difficult. it's is almost completely uphill on the outward leg. lots of springs so the trail gets pretty wet. We did it in tennis shoes and had no issues. amazing view at the end.

My wife and I hiked to Mt. LeConte via Alum Cave Trail. We have never gone this way before but have done it several times via Rainbow Falls and Grotto Falls. No matter which way you go, it is beautiful. The foliage was gorgeous.

What a wonderful trail A+++++

This hike has it all! Great variety of trees, views and difficulty including the cave, stone steps, and exposed rock where you will be thankful for the handholds. Be sure to wear waterproof shoes and once you get to the Lodge keep going for better views from the Cliff Top.

Beautiful hike, 10 mile round trip from Rainbow falls parking lot.

hiking
12 days ago

It​ is​ place​ to​ visit​ for​ Fall​ season.

Don’t miss this!!Absolutely amazing!!! Majestic views. It’s a long hike, start early so you can stop and take pictures along the way. It took us 8 hours round trip moving at a goos pace and making a few stops. Don’t eat the sack lunch at Le Conte lodge, it was horrible. Pack your own food and plenty to drink.

hiking
12 days ago

Me and my sweetheart Hoss went on this hike and it was beautiful,the climb is so worth it!! Beautiful views and cliffs.Seen the first snow of the year! The view from the top was beautiful,it was cold and windy. But cant wait to do it again. I couldn't ask for a better hiking partner,he wore me out!!

hiking
12 days ago

Hiked this trail in the early morning hours of a Sunday (started at 8am) and half the parking spot at the trailhead were already taken. So go early. First half is a well-trod wide trail with a steady incline, but easy going; runs along the river with plenty of photo ops. Once you hit the switchbacks it does get a little steeper, but very doable with a steady pace. Falls are spectacular. We climbed up to them (despite a sign advising against it). =) Just be careful and use common sense. Pictures don’t do it justice. Beautiful hike in the fall with plenty to see.

hiking
12 days ago

Very awesome! I climbed behind the waterfall itself. It’s slippery and there are signs saying to be careful, but I’m a dare devil and was determined to do so. Hike itself wasn’t too challenging. Saw a deer, climbed up a fallen tree! Enjoyed it very much. Will do again

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
12 days ago

Beautiful hike this time of year! The GOLDEN canopy of fall foliage was.breathtaking.
The Gift at the end of the climb is walking behind the Falls. I captured some mesmerizing photos on the way back down at sunset looking over the mountains.
Great hike for ALL.

My favorite trail in the smokies. This is also my favorite route to mount leconte. During fall and spring parking can be full so leave early. Beautiful trail during the fall!

hiking
13 days ago

Easy hike, but really touristy. Perfect for kids and new hikers though! The falls are beautiful and you can go under them. I recommend continuing to Brushy Mtn (2mi further).

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!

hiking
13 days ago

Moderate climb, muddy with some slick rocks and roots and lots of traffic but 100% worth the amazing 360 degree views of the mountains. Parking was tight, dogs were friendly and people were courteous on the trail when it got a little narrow or tricky. One of the best trails on the parkway!

Great hike especially later in the year. You get to see multiple layers of the forest on the way up. Beautiful at the top. Moderately tough hike up, but if you go at your own pace it’s more than doable. Wear good shoes. Weather can change throughout the day.

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.

Awesome trail. We logged 14 miles adding the two additional trails at the summit/lodge. Cliff tops is a must do for the views. Lodge is super quaint, check out the Lamas by the dining room. This is a strenuous hike with a good elevation from the base to the trailhead. Nice resting spot at Inspiration. Don’t forget to look for the eye of the needle. Others have mentioned it is very popular and well trailed. There are two parking lots at the trail head.

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