gsm club circle

Clubs and Trifecta

We have two designated club hikes for the Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon: Charlie’s Bunion and Mt. LeConte (via Alumn Cave Trail). View details on each club hike below.

You will need to take a picture of yourself at the designated location with the following factors:

1) A clear view of your face

2) Your bib with bib numbers clearly visible

3) Your finisher medal in plain view

4) Clear background showing where you are

Keep in mind that these hikes have a risk factor! Make sure you pack plenty of water, do your research, and be responsible! If you’re not in physical condition to complete these activities, please consider the Trifecta instead.



The Bunion Club

Charlie’s Bunion Trail is a 8 mile round-trip hike along the Appalachian Trail! The hike starts at the Newfound Gap parking lot and begins climbing through a shady forest. You’ll get some mountain views as you climb through the trees. At about 2 miles the trail gets steeper, but your views start to get more dramatic. At 3 miles you’ll descend through a gully to Masa Knobb. The trail narrows as you finish the hike and reach Charlie’s Bunion!

Where do I take my picture? Take your picture at Charlie’s Bunion (mile 4 of the hike). Don’t forget your bib and finisher medal!




The LeConte Club

Alum Cave Trail is a difficult 11 mile round-trip hike to Mt. LeConte, the third highest peak in the Smokies! The trail starts at the Alum Cave Trailhead. As you hike, you’ll see a lot of rock formations. Around mile 2 you’ll start getting some really good mountain views. At mile 2.2 you’ll see Alum Cave (which is actually a concave bluff). Not too long after you’ll have to navigate some narrow ledges a small waterfalls. Don’t worry! There are cable hand rails along the trail, but please be careful! You’ll reach LeConte Lodge at about mile 5, but the peak won’t be for another half mile.

Trail Closure: This trail is under some restoration and will be closed Monday-Thursday. If you’re interested in completing this hike, you’ll need to do it Saturday after the race, or Sunday.

Where do I take my picture? Take your picture at the highest point (High Top) at Mt. LeConte. You’ll know you’ve reached the highest point on the mountain when you reach the large cairn just off the main trail on your right. Don’t forget your bib and finisher medal!

The Great Smoky Mountains Trifecta

gsm trifectaThis challenge is comprised of 3 different activities. You must complete all 3 in order to complete the Trifecta. Same rules as the Chimney Club apply: take your picture at each of the 3 with your bib and finisher medal and send them to us 72 hours after finishing the race. Those who complete the Trifecta will receive an awesome piece of memorabilia. We’re still hammering out design and details, but we’ll announce as soon as it’s finalized. We will be honoring the discount for anyone who completed a club or the trifecta in 2016.



The Trifecta is meant to be challenging, but less strenuous. These are iconic activities inside the park that should be experienced, but are doable with children. The 3 activities that makeup the Trifecta are:

1) Cades Cove
2) Laurel Falls
3) Clingmans Dome


Cades Cove

Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies. It offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. Large numbers of white-tailed deer are frequently seen, and sightings of black bear, coyote, ground hog, turkey, raccoon, skunk, and other animals are also possible.

Where do I take my picture? Anywhere beautiful in Cades Cove will do! Don’t forget your bib and finisher medal!


Laurel Falls

Laurel Branch and the 80-foot high Laurel Falls are named for mountain laurel, an evergreen shrub which blooms along the trail and near the falls in May. The waterfall consists of an upper and a lower section, divided by a walkway which crosses the stream at the base of the upper falls. Laurel Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the park and parking at the trailhead is limited.

Where do I take my picture? Take your picture at the waterfall. Don’t forget your bib and finisher medal!


Clingmans Dome

At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Only Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) and Mt. Craig (6,647), both located in Mt. Mitchell State Park in western North Carolina, rise higher. The observation tower on the summit of Clingmans Dome offers spectacular 360° views of the Smokies and beyond for visitors willing to climb the steep half-mile walk to the tower at the top.

Where do I take my picture? Take your picture at the top of the Dome. Don’t forget your bib and finisher medal!

Send us any questions you have! We love our parks and think it would be a shame to come all the way to these beautiful places JUST to run a race!


We will not be accepting submissions to the 2017 Chimney Club as the trail to Chimney Tops is partially closed due to the wildfire that happened last winter.


The Chimney Club

The Chimney Club is a salute the hardcore among us. Chimney Tops Trail is an intermediate 2 mile hike through the park to the base of Chimney Tops rock. The challenging part is the scramble up the rock to the top of Chimney Tops! Please be careful as you climb this last part of the hike, but believe us, the view at the top is worth it! The hike starts at the Chimney Tops Trail Trailhead and is about 4.2 miles round trip.

Where do I take my picture? Take your picture at the top of Chimney Tops rock (not at the base, please). Don’t forget your bib and finisher medal!