Kephart Prong TrailModerate

Newfound Gap Rd.

Kephart Prong Trail

Distance (One Way)

2.0 miles

Elevation Gain

850 feet


Newfound Gap Rd.

Trail Description Written by Caroline Sullivan

Kephart Prong trail begins south of the Appalachian Trail in the North Carolina side of the park and intersects with Sweat Heifer Trail and Grassy Branch Trail. It crosses the Oconaluftee River and is often used as the less traveled route to reach Charlies Bunion.

To reach Charlies Bunion this way, take Grassy Branch Trail at the end of Kephart Prong for 2.5 miles. You'll then turn left at the tail end of Dry Sluice Gap Trail and continue for 1.3 miles to the Appalachian Trail. You'll find the bunion almost as soon as you reach the AT.

If you keep going on the AT past Charlies Bunion for about 2.7 miles, you can turn this into a loop hike by turning back onto Sweat Heifer Creek Trail. This trail is 3.7 miles long and intersects with Kephart Prong in the same location as Dry Sluice Gap.

The trail and nearby mountain are named after Horace Kephart, author of Our Southern Highlanders.

"An author, scholar, and librarian from St. Louis, Kephart came to the Smokies in 1904 after a nervous collapse, which seems mostly to have been a mid-life crisis and shift in values. Leaving his wife and family, he lived alone in the mountains and wrote lovingly and honestly about the Appalachian settlers and land. He was also a leading park advocate in the 1920s." - Beth Giddens, Hiking Trails of the Smokies

#charlies bunion

Kephart Prong Trail Elevation Profile

Kephart Prong Trail Elevation Profile Tom Dunigan's Elevation Profiles

Trail Difficulty Scales Explained

Elevation Grade


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Paul Petzoldt Scale






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