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

Smoky's and Asheville 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.

Very short hike, but steep going up the steps. Every person we saw on the way up said it was worth the climb and it absolutely was. I haven’t seen very many falls to have much to compare it to, but it did have that...WOW this is so awesome effect on us both. We even saw some people on their way back down, who had made it to the falls in flip flops, which I would not recommend, as it can be slick on the rocks after the steps part of the climb. I’d go again if in the area.

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.

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.

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.

Breath taking!

Did this in early November and the contrast between the autumn colors at the bottom and icy trees at the top was so cool. Slow burn on the way up, but not too bad. Make sure to stop at the lodge and warm up by the fire!

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.

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.

I thought I was gonna pass out but beautiful

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.

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!

This hike is much longer than stated. we clocked almost 14 miles. This is difficult and very strenuous! The view is worth it, but make sure you begin early enough and bring snacks!

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.

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.

hiking
10 days ago

Easy hike up to the Falls with a breathtaking view. It is mostly steps which makes it possible for all levels. Bench area midway for rest.

If you don’t want to spend all day hiking this trail...you can drive to the summit and enjoy the same views. The hike wasn’t worth it after finding this little tid bit out. Also...almost got mauled by a bear.

hiking
10 days ago

Beautiful hike but VERY strenuous unless you are an athlete. The cascades itself were gorgeous and cold this time of year (November). Steady incline and until you reach the first log bridge and then it gets steeper. Careful on the way down as it could be difficult for people with bad knees so hiking sticks are a good idea. Bathrooms are in the picnic area about ten minutes prior to reaching the trail parking area.

the most beautiful falls in a short hike. steep- but the steps are very helpful. past the stairs can be muddy and lots of roots and rocks, but with a walking stick it can help you navigate and is very simple. a wonderful bridge is at the top to see the sight. the view never gets old.

This is a really nice 1/2 day hike. The payoff at the end with the view is really beautiful, especially in the fall. Definitely would suggest making that your lunch spot. I would rate this moderate not hard, at least when comparing it to some other hikes in the region such as table rock. That being said however, it is overall an upwards gradient just about the whole time, but the switchbacks in the first half are generally pretty smooth and gradual which is why I rate it more moderate (I saw young children making it to the top...albeit it took them extra time). Lots of dogs in the trail. It took us 1 hour 20 minutes to get up with one short water break, stayed at the view for about an hour, and then took 1 hour 10 minutes to come back down. Trail was pretty busy, but did go on a Saturday.

Load More