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Really good hike. Went in about 10 am. Wasn’t too busy. Came out about 2pm and it was very busy. Get there early.

nice hike, a few views on the way up. we started early in morning in heavy fog. it opened up by the time we reached the bunion. the forest was great in the fog, lots of good pics. if it's a clear day do the jump off for a added bonus.

The view would have been amazing if it wasn’t cloudy!! Overall a good hike. Mostly through woods but there are a few spots along this 4 mile hike with very nice views. Be careful at the bunions, they are literally a straight drop down on both sides.

Beautiful hike! Definitely have a map!

We did Ivestor Gap up to Shining Rock and then came back down the Art Loeb trail and made camp on the grassy meadow at the base of Grassy Cove Top. Spectacular views, but can get crowded on weekends. Important things to note when backpacking in shining rock: 1) bear canisters are now REQUIRED when camping, 2) speaking of bears, there has been a lot of bear activity at the camp sites near Shining Creek so be aware, 3) the weather up there is very unpredictable - we had perfect weather through out Saturday but after we made camp and went to bed a storm rolled in and the wind nearly ripped our tents apart and we woke up in a cold cloud of mist!
All in all it was an amazing adventure, just be prepared if you plan to camp and bring a map because as many have mentioned the trails are poorly marked with lots of side trails.

The view at Charlie Bunion is just amazing!! Worth a shot. Make sure you carry enough water cause it's not an easy hike.

Great hike! Beautiful view!

Loved the trail. Had a lot of fun.

hiking
9 days ago

This trail is perfect for those who want to walk along a river and hear the rushing water. there were several small waterfalls and Cascades along the left side of the loop. this was my favorite part. many great primative camp sites and one very cold water hole. I will definitely return for more activities along this loop when I can

We caught a beautiful sunrise at Newfound Gap then continued onto the AT, this trail is no joke folks. Lots of steps, big rocks and uphill travel. Some nice views along the way but nothing that keeps you anticipating the next turn. We did the jump off first (turn left onto the boulevard). Again, very hard trail and not well maintained in areas but absolutely beautiful views, we sat on top and ate our lunch. Then back down and headed towards Charles Bunion. At this point the beautiful day had turned foggy in a matter of seconds and it started to rain, we stopped at the Icewater Spring Shelter and waited it out along with some others. The sun came back out and off we went to the Bunion. The hike up wasn’t to bad but once at the top, we couldn’t see anything. It was so foggy. Still a great experience. There were two girls who sat on top of the rock and hogged it the entire time, others tried to navigate up but between them
And their packs it was impossible! Please don’t be like these two girls and hog the rock, others would like to see it and have photo opportunities also. Anyway..we waited it out while talking with some very nice hikers doing the same...but the fog never lifted. We decided to head back down the trail. We did a total of around 13 miles and our knees and feet were feeling it by the end. We took lots of water, snacks and a lunch. Make sure to take your rain gear also. The day started beautiful for us, but rained hard several times on the trail making for very slick conditions and what would’ve been cold and miserable with the gear. Once down to Newfound Gap it was sunny and beautiful. It took us 9.52 hours but we are never in a hurry (we stop and smell the roses so to speak) and enjoy each moment.

An ok trail to hike especially if you are camping at Davidson River. Nothing really stood out.

Loved this hike!!!

Absolutely beautiful

It is a hard trail very rewarding.

Great hike up through the forest with rewarding views at the top! There were a few steep uphills, but they didn’t seem to last long. After about 2 miles, the rest of the way up was gradual. Hiking poles would help navigate some of the rocks and roots encountered along the way. Start early to avoid the crowds.

I really enjoyed Art Loeb to Black Balsam and Tennett. Just past Tennett there is a grassy meadow valley. From there you follow Flower Gap to continue to Shining Rock. I would have been happy turning around at the cove.
The trail until then was open and airy. Great views. But it far into the Flower Gap portion it was cramped. The trail was narrow and the vegetation was dense. There were a few cool trees along the way.
I wasn’t super impressed with Shining Rock. It was a bunch of giant boulders. You can climb on them if that’s your thing but be careful to come back down the way you care. Surrounding the boulders are those curvy wavy trees/ bushes (not sure what they are called but they look like an enchanted forest) so it’s hard to get your bearings.
Ivestor back is much easier trail wise. A few great views but mostly just trudging back to your car.

Went on an overnighter to Mt LeConte. We loved the solitude. My favorite area was the backbone right before Mt LeConte where it’s narrow and you can see East and West. Was hoping we would see a bear since it isn’t highly traveled, but no. The Alum Cave trail is probably prettier, but so darn busy.
Recommend the trip and spending the night at the LeConte Lodge.

Awesome hike! Me and my wife starting hiking the trail around 8 am. the forest was foggy and everything was beautiful. Only thing is there was a couple there that hogged Charles bunion most of the time. other than that, beautiful hike.

Wow what a workout! We parked at the Rainbow Falls trailhead even though that trail is currently closed. Took the Trillium Gap trail all the way to Grotto Falls, which on a Tuesday, was the only crowded part of the trail. We continued on to the top of Mount LeConte...it was rocky and tricky in some spots going up. You will come to a split in the trail with signs that says trillium gap to Mt LeConte is 3.6 miles. Feels a LOT longer than that!!Make sure your conserve your energy for that part. Definitely wear good hiking boots for your ankles. My husband and I are in good shape, we run and lift 6 days a week and this kicked our butts...a different kind of physical activity. Please pack lots of water and food but keep moving when you eat to avoid hikers vertigo (when we stopped abruptly we got the dizzies). Took us 5 hours up and almost 4 hours to get down. The Lodge at Mt LeConte was ok...I understand they are limited but the staff kind of acted like we were bothering them ie. did not acknowledge us even though we are super low maintenance. We stopped for a sack lunch and just to sit for a bit and refuel. If you make it up there go a quarter mile hike up to the scenic overlook. Even on a cloudy day it makes the trek worth it. We did the whole thing in one day...ended up being a 21.8 mile hike round trip. If you do this in one day just make sure you allow for enough daylight. We kinda cut it close and I’m sure you’d be fine using a flashlight (bring one!) for the last part of your journey, but with it getting dark we didn’t want to take our chances turning an ankle. Saw a couple black bear along the way...they did their thing and we did ours!
The round trip in one day was strenuous for us, I would suggest starting a little closer at Grotto Falls trail or at least drink lots and lots of water and fuel up properly! Would do it again.

Enjoyable trail. Mostly covered mossy forest a good bit of the way. Charlies Bunion is a very cool spot. Definitely watch your footing and your kids!

Took Forney Creek down, camp 70 was a great spot! The hike up to sliders bald and mount buckly was difficult but so worth it. The views are amazing. Great 2 days in the smokies!

Loved it... gradual climb is constant... took 5 hours up... spent the night at lodge... 5 hrs up and 3 down... big fun

Made a 3-night, 4-day loop of it.
Day 1 - Left from Clingman's Dome and stayed first night at #68. Pretty steep down with a few water crossings. Two sites to chose from at #68, both decent and right on the river.
Day 2 - Several river crossings, some waist high water and a little worrisome, but overall a beautiful hike. Stayed at #70.
Day 3 - Hiked up Jonas Creek Trail, to Welch Ridge to stay at Silers Bald shelter. Up-hill the whole way and makes for a long hike, but pretty good views the last few miles.
Day 4 - Hiked the AT out back to CD.

It’s awesome to explore a section of the AT! Most of the hike is covered, as mentioned before, but once you get to the bunion the views are phenomenal! I have never seen more butterflies in one place in my life. It was so lush and green during this time of year (September). There is a good alternation between incline and decline along the trail. However, there are a lot of big steps to take which makes going down hill pretty rough on your feet and shins (I can see why so many people use hiking sticks). The trail is over all well maintained but is covered with lots of little loose rocks and big rocks to step over along with exposed tree roots. It is nothing that would stop me from doing this trail again but is something that made it more difficult in my opinion!

It's a steady uphill climb for the first couple miles and then two more miles to Charlies Bunion. Along the way is the Ice Water Shelter where I encountered a doe and two fawn. There were 10-15 other hikers at Charlie's Bunion. The views are incredible and well worth the 4 mile hike from the parking lot. Backtrack to Boulevard Trail and turn toward Lecont for only a short distance and then turn right up another marked trail to the The Jump Off. I was alone at The Jump Off for a half hour and the 1,000 foot vertical drop was breathtaking. The pull of gravity at the edge was surreal, and the view and solitude at The Jump Off made it the highlight of my hike.

I have done this three times, all going up to Old Butt and Dog Loser Knob and coming back down the creek. The ascent is very steep, do not attempt on very hot days or late in the day. I think the navigation is better in this direction but you have to pay attention on the ridge and in the area around Shining Rock. You need a GPS to attempt this hike. Last year we did this in May when the rhododendrons were out. Fabulous. This is a Wilderness area and there are no signs except one off the summit to mark the way down Shining Rock Creek. One of my favourites

A great 10 mile hike. Beautiful views from the balds and from Shining Rock. The Shining Rock Wilderness is aptly named. No blazes on any of the trails and parts of the Art Loeb Trail are difficult to find and follow.

The trail up to the top is Shining Rock is hidden and overgrown. It felt like we were the first to traverse the trail in months, so we were surprised to pass other hikers. Without the AllTrails Recording function we would have gotten lost for sure, but it kept us on the trail.

We ate our fill of wild blueberries and enjoyed the wildflowers. No bear sightings, but plenty of evidence of them along the trail.

The loop back to the parking area along the Little East Fork Trail and Ivestor Gap Trail was less scenic, but a wider, easier trail.

Overall, one of my favorite hikes of the season. It was quite crowded until we got a few miles away from the trailhead, but that was no doubt due to Labor Day weekend.

Great View!

hiking
1 month ago

Very scenic trail. Fairly well marked but you do have to pay attention at some parts of the trail--however, the trail is well defined. A few parts where you had to cross some creeks but very passable and manageable without getting wet. If you start at the far end of the parking lot and you will have about a .6 mile tough stretch a mile into your hike. Lots of roots and some areas with loose rock. There is a side trail that loops down to a waterfall--that is very steep and the trail is not well defined. Very nice hike.

My favorite day hike.. wonderful ascent for 1.3 Miles.. then a pleasant walk to a great shelter for lunch at the 3 mile mark. Another 1 mile down to Charlie bunions for a great view. Note: watch the kids at the edge of this viewing! Climb up out of Charlie bunions is really only steep for the last .5... then an extraordinarily pleasant walk down!!!

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