T his was a quick two day trip that I had the good fortune of doing with a close friend and her younger brother. The plan was to drive to the Smoky Mountains to hike to Charlie's Bunion from Newfound Gap, drive to Nantahala to stay in a small cabin, and cap off the trip with a hike at Tallulah Gorge.
The Charlie's Bunion hike is a moderate hike with a fair amount of elevation gain from the trailhead. The trail has a round trip length of about 8.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,640 feet.
I had previously attempted this hike with another group of friends in January, but the trail was not passable due to being covered in thick snow and ice. Unfortunately on that trip we only made it probably about a mile and a half before having to turn around.
I knew based on what I had heard of the trail that I would want to return here. When he decision was made to return to the Smoky's, I knew immediately this was the hike we would do.
The trail has a nice canopy that throughout the majority of the hike, making this hike great for a hot summer day. Even on a day that was in the upper 80's. this hike was still nice and cool.
If it is solitude that you seek, this is not the trail for you. We passed many people along the way from the beginning of the trailhead which continued all the way to our destination. Once we arrived at our destination, we were greeted by a host of people. So many, that we even had to wait around a few minutes to get a turn to sit on the edge and take our photo.
The fact that this hike never makes any overly steep inclines and leads to a beautiful view at the end, I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a moderate hike in the Smoky's.