I recently visited the Smoky Mountains to hike Charlies Bunion, and another spot known as The Jump Off. Located along the Appalachian Trail between Tennessee and North Carolina, much of the trail is at an altitude of 6,000 feet above sea level, and, after seven hours, I hiked a total of approx. ten miles.
The name is, as one might suspect, related to feet. In 1929, Horace Kephart and Charlie Conner, a mountain guide from Oconaluftee, climbed the area to inspect damage after a recent fire. With a sore foot from hiking, Charlie removed his shoe, Horace offered a comment, and the rest is history.
The moral of the story: never underestimate the value of quality footwear!
Despite references I’ve read which describe the trail as firm-packed, much of the trail is rocky: smaller loose, flat stones; medium stepping stones; and, larger rocks. There are also several logs installed along the trail to be used as stairs, and others positioned to reduce erosion by redirecting water-runoff.
In addition to occasional glimpses of surrounding mountains and valleys through the trees, hikers can enjoy a variety of forest-scenery along the trail; in particular, a continuous display of moss & ferns. I also briefly saw two turkeys on the trail.
Signs And A Shelter
You’ll find several signs along the trail, though some could use improvement. For instance, there isn’t any reference to Charlies Bunion (nor trail distance) at the trailhead. Also, near the shelter, it’s unclear that the subsequent – and, substantial – descent to Charlies Bunion is the correct direction (it is). Lastly, the sign to The Jump Off states a distance of 0.3 miles – however, it’s at least a 1/2 mile each way.
The shelter has an eating area, benches and bunk beds to easily accommodate four adults. It also has a fireplace. There’s spring water available, which must be boiled before drinking, and a toilet area as well. Furthermore, metal cables are provided to secure your food high above the ground – as a precaution against bears. This is the place to be when the weather turns stormy!
Whether in your home, office, lobby or cafeteria, prints of the Smoky Mountains look good in any room! Select from a variety of prints, including: framed, canvas, art, metal, wood and acrylic. Visit my gallery to see more!
Here’s a video taken at Charlies Bunion. At conclusion, you can also see The Jump Off – a flat area along the ridge at upper left:
Thanks for stopping by!