View – the unique Charlie’s Bunion rock outcropping is located at Dry Sluice Gap just east of Masa Knob on the Appalachian Trail. The rock overlooks a steep drop off into a deep valley and provides a unique long range panoramic view into Tennessee. An additional view can be found at a rock outcropping at the top of a cliff at a place called the Jumpoff, located a short distance from the Appalachian Trail. It is definitely worth the detour and the extra distance if the weather is clear.
Hike Profile – the hike is a long out and back hike that follows the AT from the large parking area at Newfound Gap on US 441 to Charlie’s Bunion at an elevation of 5480 feet. The hike out to Charlie’s Bunion is a moderate ascent to Masa Knob and then a steeper descent to the Bunion. Along the way the AT passes the Icewater Spring Shelter used by AT hikers.
Trail Surface – a fairly rugged trail with roots and some rock.
Environment – considerable balsam fir and thick rhododendron and mountain laurel in spots.
Navigation – the AT is well-marked and the route follows this trail until you get to Charlie’s Bunion. There are a couple of crossing trails along the way, but they are well-marked with signs. Just before reaching Charlie’s Bunion, the trail forks and a small sign indicates the Charlie’s Bunion spur trail off to the left.
At the intersection with the Boulevard Trail, the Jumpoff overlook can be reached by taking a left (north) on the Boulevard Trail. After a short distance of about 0.3 mile, the spur trail to the Jumpoff goes off to the right and is marked. Follow this trail for approximately 0.5 miles out to the view spot. This trail ends at the view spot. At the end, be aware that the trail is literally right on the very edge of a steep cliff and may not be suitable for children.
Directions to Trailhead – the trailhead is located at the large parking lot on US 441 at Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From Asheville, you can take I-40 to the Waynesville, Maggie Valley exit and proceed to Maggie Valley. After you go through Maggie Valley, take the BRP towards Cherokee. The BRP ends at US 441 near the Oconaluftee Visitor’s Center. Newfound Gap is approximately 16 miles up US 441 from the end of the BRP.