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Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

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Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion

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  • Begin your hike early from Newfound Gap to not only beat the crowds but soak up a beautiful morning view!- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • Only 1,972 miles to Maine! You'll meet many thru-hikers on trail in the spring making the trek from Georgia to Maine.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • Follow the infamous white Appalachian Trail blaze along the way.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • Early morning on the Appalachian Trail means fewer crowds and more sun rays.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • The Appalachian Trail.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • During the 4 miles of trail to Charlie's Bunion, you'll be treated to views and fairy-tale forests.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • A spring in the middle of the trail between the Ice Water Springs Shelter is a treat on a hot summer day. The water does need to be treated before drinking.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • The trail approaching Charlie's Bunion.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • During summer months you'll find numerous wildflowers along the way, including the Turk's cap lily.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • This smooth section of the trail is a sign that you're almost there!- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • Approaching the Bunion.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • View from Charlie's Bunion.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • View from Charlie's Bunion.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • A mountain dusky salamander is right at home in the Smokies, also known as the "Salamander Capital of the World."- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • The Appalachian Trail is filled with tranquility and magic. After your first mile, you'll be hooked for life.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • One of the many Appalachian Trail shelters in the Smokies, the Ice Water Spring Shelter is the perfect overnight spot for catching a sunset and sunrise at Charlie's Bunion. You will need a backcountry permit.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • The Ice Water Spring Shelter is perfect for minimalist backpacking. Keep in mind that during the spring months, thru-hikers keep the shelters busy.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • Moss-lined sections of the trail will make you forget the crowd that you left behind at Newfound Gap.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • Get lost in the Smokies; you might just find yourself.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • While on the Appalachian Trail, take a moment to think of the thousands that have shared the same trail.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • A view from the Appalachian Trail just after starting the hike to Charlie's Bunion.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
  • Lying on the Tennessee/North Carolina state line, Newfound Gap is one of the most popular stops and overlooks in the Smokies.- Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Epic views. Appalachian Trail. Wildflowers. Access to other trails.
Cons: 
Seasonal crowds.
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Region:
Smoky Mountains, TN
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,640.00 ft (499.87 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
8.00 mi (12.87 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,049.00 ft (1,538.94 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The Appalachian Trail is 2,190 miles long, stretching from Maine to Georgia, making it one of the longest hiking-only trails in the world. Every year, thousands chase their dreams of thru-hiking the AT, stopping by Charlie's Bunion to soak up the view on the way.

Start the hike to the Bunion at Newfound Gap on the Tennessee/North Carolina state line. At the beginning of the trail is a marker indicating just 1,940 miles to Maine. Stay on the AT for the entire duration of the hike. The first 2 miles or so of the trail is a steady climb. Each step deeper into the forest brings more solitude. Find wildflowers in the warmer months and views to the right year round along the way.

The Ice Water Spring Shelter is just past the junction with the Boulevard Trail. A permit is needed to stay at the shelter; it is a perfect spot to stay if you're wanting to catch the sunset and sunrise from Charlie's Bunion.

Just past the shelter is a natural spring in the middle of the trail. The water does need to be treated, but it is an ice-cold treat on a summer day. At mile 4, you'll find a marked spur trail to your left. This is the doorway to the infamous Charlie's Bunion, a spot with breathtaking views that is named after Charlie Conner.

One day many years ago Charlie and Horace Kephart sat in the same spot. The bunion on Charlie's foot resembled the rock, and Kephart vowed to have the government place it on a map. The rest is history.

If you're making the journey to Charlie's Bunion during fall and winter months, be prepared for ice and snow. Newfound Gap receives close to 70 inches of snow each year and can be unpredictable. Be prepared.

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