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.

Smoky Mtns Map
VIEW FULL MAP

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.

This was a nice hike. The views at the research station are great. There are several picnic tables and bathrooms there. Don't miss the old cabin.

hiking
1 day 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.

hiking
1 day ago

We did this trail after going to alum cave first. I would not suggest that you do both in one day unless you are conditioned. Chimney is strenuous. Trail started to get crowded. Go early!It’s a nice trail but it is a thigh killer. Would def go back especially to finish the trail where it is closed at the top.

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

Great trail went yesterday with my 12 year old son and my wife. Tuff for the kid in the 1st leg but after that no issues beautiful hike.

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.

Beautiful trail which suffered from the 2016 fires. They have made some great progress in restoring the trail and even though the end of the trail is still closed to hikers, it's well worth the 1.75 mile hike to the new overlook

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.

Great views. Trail repairs very nice.

Fairly easy uphill walk on a wide graded road. Beautiful views at the top! My 1st time here so I was a little confused when you come to the fork in the trail where you can either go up the grassy trail, shorter but steeper, or continue on the gravel road. Both end at the science center and views. I missed the turn for the Ferguson cabin and didn't have time to go once I realized my mistake. But I will definitely try this one again!

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.

wonderful panorama's at the very top. one of the few trails that I traveled that is all uphill on on the way to the top with no downs, and all downhill on the way back. great facilities at the top and the research station is amazing

hiking
6 days ago

Only thing keeping it from getting 5 stars is the last section being closed since the 2016 fires, I understand why it's still closed but can't say it isn't disappointing. They have put in some great work to get the trail to the point it's at, but ending where it did was a bit of a tease. As is still a nice short hike with a good climb for the last third.

We hiked the first week of November 2018. Great trail, beautiful colors with the leaves. The day was awesome, mid-60's. The trail was nice, a little mud from recent rain, tree roots and rocks in the trail. well marked to Hen Wallow Falls. Round trip was about 4.2 miles. This trail is highly recommended, we would definitely hike here again.

Follow Garrett's directions. very helpful regarding parking and the gate at the start...loved the trail.

hiking
8 days ago

Great hike! It took us about 3 hours up and down, with lots of stops for pictures and a little rest at the top. Inclines are steep and it was pretty slippery, but overall fine. Views at the top are gorgeous and well worth the climb.

hiking
8 days ago

This was awesome!! It took my girlfriend and me a little over two hours to complete and there were definitely some steep inclines and declines! Not for the faint of heart, but the views at the end are worth every second!! 10/10!

Nice hike on old road bed. Great views. I agree with the difficulty rating only because I was carrying a 30 pound toddler in my pack. It really isn't too bad. The hike down was almost worse because of all the loose rocks hidden by leaves.

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
9 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!!

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
9 days ago

This was beyond the MOST steps I’ve climbed in quite some time! Awesome views. Got to the top and there’s somewhere you can sit! Although about 0.25 miles away is the chimney tops itself, it was blocked off due to the fire. There is a gate blocking it off.

Can you say STAIRS, stairs, and some more STAIRS !
But TOTALLY worth the climb!!!! Absolutely beautiful!
You are literally on top of the world ☺️❤️.

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!

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!

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.

Great views at the top, especially if you go during the fall. It’s one of the hardest hikes in the Smokies in my opinion, just due to the first 3 miles up. It’s definitely doable, but pack plenty of water. The trail is not hard to follow. We went at the very beginning of November and saw some beautiful snow/ice on the trail (not enough to make the trail more difficult, just enough to make it look like a Winter Wonderland)

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!

Load More