Explore The Great Smokys - 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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Nice hike on gravel road. the views we good, even on a cloudy, snowy day.

Closed due to government shutdown...

This was a trail that was totally worth the view at the top. All paved trail that has a steady and tough incline the whole way. The view from the observatory at the top is great. 360° view of the mountains that is very photo worthy. The most challenging part of this trail is parking. It is an absolute nightmare. Narrow two-lane road with cars inventively parked on both sides and a line of cars that goes halfway to Gatlinburg.

Nearly better than clingmans dome due to the fact you can pretty much access this year around. the hike is short. about 3 fairly steep switch backs made of gravel start you out before switching to a paved maintenance road. at the T turn left and the tower will be just a ways up ahead of you. incredible panoramic views, just be sure to dress warm because it can get super windy at the top. took my 80 year old grandparents and we completed it in about a hour and a half. good for the whole family. foothills parkway is worth the drive all by itself too, this is just a bonus.

Beautiful views. A perfect hike for a beginner to moderate biker. A good workout!

Short, paved trail with lots of traffic and great views.

hiking
13 days ago

Wildlife and historical

14 days ago

Foggy wet and chilly but beautiful. the road leads to science center which has secondary trail heads that lead into SMNP. Too wet and foggy for those until spring.

Beautiful - not much of a hike, but killer views wth minimal effort.

Leg smoker, lots of rocks on the trail, so wear good boots! The view from the top is incredible. This is a popular hike so once you make it to the end, there are quite a few people climbing on the rocks for photo ops.

Gorgeous views

Went on a cloudy, rainy and windy day. Most would’ve stayed home but we went anyway - so glad we did. Although the fog and clouds obscured the long views. Being out in adverse conditions imparts the beauty of nature upon one in a unique way. So great to feel the winds whipping and appreciating the power of the earth. Btw - no crowds when bad weather - try it sometime.

My friend Chris is a professional hiker and trail runner. We recently did this trail together and he absolutely smashed every Strava KOM on the map. Truly a freak of nature as we tried to keep up with his record blazing pace. The hike was OK but his performance was incredible definitely would give it a 12 out of 10.

20 days ago

We love driving the loop but was a great way to see it hiking it instead this time! This place never gets old !! Just beautiful!

Wait for a clear day and go early to make sure you get a parking spot.

Quick and easy one, no views because of the fog but the snow and icicles were beautiful.

The views were great from Charlie’s Bunion as it was a cloudless day. Still it was a bit disheartening to see the brown pall of smog in the Tennessee valley. Absent the smog, one could see forever, well almost. There was a lot of snow and ice on the trail. Depths ranged from 6 to 18 inches. The snow was no problem except where hard packed in places by hikers. There was also considerable ice, particularly on the frequent natural or man made steps. My wife’s bad knees combined with the ice made the return trip a bit hazardous. Because temps were above freezing at New Found Gap there was a lot of muddy slush the last 1/4 mile or so to the parking lot. But, we made the 8-mile round-trip without incident, albeit slowly. This is a great hike with excellent views into both NC and TN. There is no way this is a “hard” hike. It is moderate at the most, as the elevation change is minimal given the 5000 foot starting point. Snow cleats would help right now, and hiking poles are recommended. Our hike was 12/26/18.

Beautiful!!! From road to tower is 0.9 miles. Great hike for families and dogs

mountain biking
24 days ago

Love biking this loop

We went to this place in hot August, but it felt like an autumn day even in the parking lot on the mountain. There were birds, bumblebees, and beautiful flowers all along the trail. At first, we could see the valleys below. When we got to the highest point it was all clouds. It was peaceful, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone in the area.

It was absolutely breathtaking. We went as a cloud moved in but getting drenched while in a cloud was incredible.

This is an excellent, well-maintained trail with fantastic views. If you prefer a long, gradual climb and then a steep descent, go clockwise around the loop. If you prefer an initial steep climb and then a gradual descent, go counter clockwise. It's a very heavily trafficked trail, especially on the weekends, but the views make it worth fighting the crowds.

Absolutely breathtaking at the top! The air and atmosphere at the Bunion itself is pure and blissful. Our trip was a little precarious due to icy paths in Mid-December, but it is well worth the trip! Not to be missed!

This is a great hike with an excellent reward at the top. Moderate, quick hike for such a beautiful view. We went counter-clockwise which was probably a little tougher with steeper climbs but that’s the way we like it.

road biking
1 month ago

Beautiful, scenic loop. We did that on bike around 2-5 pm, which seemed to be a rush hour for cars. Everybody is driving slowly, there is not much room to overtake, so we had to stop every time a car would pass or we would overtake a car which slowed down for taking pictures. Next time we would rather go in the morning or on Wednesday and Saturday morning when it is completely shut for cars. Otherwise it was a lovely biking, would highly recommend.

Beautiful hike!

I love this hike. very scenic And moderate hiking conditions.

Great trail that isn’t too challenging with some great Mountain View’s.

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