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gem icon Charlies Bunion [Suggest Edits]

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If you're looking for sweeping views of the Great Smoky Mountains, few places will reward you the way that Charlies Bunion will. Don't be scared off by the name, as the route was the result of a hike shared by early park proponents Horace Kephart and Charlie Conner. When the pair reached the summit, Charlie removed his shoes and socks to reveal a feature that looked remarkably like the outcrop that the men were sitting on.

Though there are numerous peaks in the mountain range, dense vegetation will often obstruct the sweeping views that might be expected. The summit of Charlies Bunion is "bald," meaning that the rocky surface of the peak prevents vegetation from overtaking the area. In addition, a wildfire cleared many of the trees from the sides of Charlies Bunion, which only enhances your sight lines. The result is that Charlies Bunion provides some of the best views of the entire park.

Upon reaching the bald, take your time to soak up the beauty that the summit has to offer. This point offers some of the farthest reaching views, and visitors will be able to see all the way from Mount LeConte and Mount Kephart to the west and northwest, to the Sawteeth Range in the east. This incredible panorama is lovely and unique.

This is one of the most popular viewpoints in the park, so make sure to set out early or during the winter season to avoid most of the crowds. With a spectacular reward, and a chance to run on the famous Appalachian Trail (AT), it's no wonder why the area sees so many visitors annually.

Additionally, the area surrounding Charlies Bunion is populated by cliffs and other steep topography. You'll want to be extra cautious around the bald.

Half-Day Run: Visitors will have to undertake an 8 mile (roundtrip) run to reach the bald.

Gem Type: Viewpoint

Shared by:
Mikhaila Redovian

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Feb 20, 2018
Matthew Esslinger
Great day hike, desolate when it gets late.

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Shared by Mikhaila Redovian on Aug 5, 2016. All Page Views: 4,318. Last Month: 61.