Hiking to The Jump Off and Charlies Bunion

 Coming up on Charlies Bunion

Coming up on Charlies Bunion

 A view from The Jump Off

A view from The Jump Off

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 View from the parking area

View from the parking area

Happy Friday everybody! Today I'm recapping our hike to The Jump Off and Charlies Bunion. Starting at the Newfound Gap Parking, head down the trail on the left side of the parking area (to your left if you're looking out over the mountains/view) the sign will say that you're heading on the Appalachian Trail NORTH. The trail starts out going uphill and while it is rocky and steep at some points, I absolutely loved hiking this uphill and tugged along happily. My heart rate was at that sweet spot where I wasn't dying but I was getting a good workout and my legs weren't screaming at the uphill. At 2.7 miles you'll reach the junction with the Boulevard Trail. Turn left here and about 0.3 miles up the trail there will be a sign and a trail to your right heading up to The Jump Off. In all it's about half a mile out to the outlook from where you turn off the Applachian Trail. Take in the amazing views from this outlook (you can easily see Charlies Bunion below to the right) and enjoy a snack before heading back. Also, at The Jump Off stay away from the edge of the lookout, if you look down you can see that it's a straight drop off and a fall would most definitely be fatal. Once you're back at the Boulevard Trail intersection, take a left and continue for 1.3 miles until you see a spur trail on your left, marked by a sign for Charlies Bunion.

While this hike tends to be very crowded I strongly suggest you do it. The hike to The Jump Off and Charlies Bunion combined was a little over 9 miles and so much fun. The uphills are challenging but not impossible (I love uphills so I like to take note of how easily I tackle them and how I feel while doing it... this one was one of my favorites ever). Charlies Bunion will no doubt be packed with people but pick a spot out on the rocks to sit and just enjoy the view. Hiking under the closed forest, along the narrow ridge trails coming up to Charlies Bunion and through tunnels of conifer forest before arriving at The Jump Off, all in the heart of the range is just such an experience.

If you're a more experienced backpacker I would also highly recommend this trail for a fun backpacking trip. About half a mile after splitting off right at the Boluevard Trail you'll come up on Icewater Spring Shelter which is a great location for an overnight trip. I'm already planning a trip to go back in the spring and I'm thinking we will definitely be tackling this hike again but with backpacks on instead!
For more information on hiking to The Jump Off go here.
For more information on hiking to Charlies Bunion go here.