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Charlies Bunion Smokies Fall Color Hike

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Newfound Gap Parking Lot   Hike: Charlies Bunion Smokies Fall Color Hike  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sun, Oct 15 2017  9:00 am >> Sun, Oct 15 2017 5:00 pm  (Carpool Departure: 6:00 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Tue, Sep 19 2017 5:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Sat, Oct 14 2017 6:00 pm
Event Duration:8 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D5: Difficult
Distance:13.6 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:16
Minimum Group Size:4
Number Registered So Far: 14 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


The hike to Charlies Bunion is a classic hike in the Smokies that offers spectacular panoramic views that stretch from Mt. LeConte to the jagged peaks of the Sawteeth Range from atop a 5,565-foot knob with thousand foot drop-offs on three sides.  We will hike a 13.6-mile lollipop loop that begins at the Newfound Gap parking lot and follows the AT north for 1.6 miles.  At the junction of Sweat Heifer Creek Trail, we will turn right and follow it 3.7 miles to the Kephart Prong Shelter before making a left onto the Grassy Branch Trail.  After 2.5 miles, we will turn left onto Dry Sluice Gap Trail to begin a gentle ridgewalk for 1.3 miles to return to the AT and reach Charlies Bunion (.2 miles).  We will stop at Charlies Bunion for lunch and relax and enjoy the views.  After lunch, we will continue following the AT for 4.2 miles until we return to the Newfound Gap parking lot, stopping along the way to make a quick detour on the Boulevard Trail to check out the views from "The Jump-Off."

While this is a long, strenuous 13.6-mile hike that involves over 3,000 feet of elevation gain, we will be hiking at a leisurely pace so that we can enjoy and photograph the views and fall colors. However, this is NOT a beginners hike, so please be sure you are in good physical condition.

(Photo courtesy of

Required Items to Bring:

Water or Energy Drinks
Trail Snacks
Good Hiking Shoes/Boots

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

Hiking Poles
Bug Spray

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

Newfound Gap Parking Lot

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
35.610840, -83.425090

From Cherokee, NC, drive north on US 441 about 19-20 miles until reaching the Newfound Gap Parking lot.  This parking lot will be on the right, and the trailhead is located on the northeast end of the parking lot, between the restrooms and the Rockefeller Memorial.

Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):320Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 6:00 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $128.00 using a reimbursement rate guideline of $0.400 per mile. The total amount should be divided by the number of people in the vehicle, including the driver. This is a guideline, not a rule, for drivers but the cost should not be higher unless there are extenuating circumstances.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.