Update: In November 2016 a wildfire in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park severely damaged the Chimney Tops Trail. To aid in repairing the trail, the national park service has closed access to this hike until further notice.
The Smoky Mountains are known for their beautiful summits. Chimney Tops is no exception. One of the most popular destinations for hiking in the Smokies, this short hike (only 3.8 miles round trip) offers a stunning view of the Smoky Mountains that surround you on all sides once you reach its bare rock summit. Guests staying in nearby Gatlinburg cabins will enjoy this
It should be noted that while the Chimney Tops trail is short in length, this does not mean that it is simply a leisurely stroll down the mountain side. Chimney Tops Smoky Mountain Trails are among some of the most challenging trails in the Smokies. While some hiking in the Smokies guides rate the trail as moderate, many who hike the Chimney Tops would rate the trail as difficult because of its constant incline (close to 1,500 feet in only in 1.4 miles) and the finally stretch of rock you must climb to reach the summit. However, the views at the top of the Chimney Tops trail are worth the struggle to get there.
Chimney Tops Smoky Mountains Trails' Highlights
After arriving at Chimney Tops Smoky Mountains Trails' parking lot, which rests off of Newfound Gap Road (a scenic route through the Smokies in itself), you'll start up this popular, short trail and begin making your ascent to the magnificent panoramic views from its pinnacle. Though Chimney Tops trail is short, its rate of incline (similar to elevation gains of 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado's Rocky Mountains) poses a challenge and it is advised to wear proper footwear for rugged terrain, bring plenty of water, and pace yourself while making the climb up according to your level of fitness.
The first section of trail is relatively easy. Following the babbling waters of Road Prong Creek, you'll cross several wooden footbridges along the trail. During spring and early summer, freshly blossomed wildflowers line the trails, making this a true highlight of nature's beauty and what hiking in the Smokies offers. The Beech Flats crossroads (where the trail splits to the Appalachian Trail) marks the approximate half-way point along the hike.
Take a deep breath at this crossroads as the real hike begins here. Climbing around 730 feet over the next two-thirds of a mile, hikers along the Chimney Tops trail will enjoy climb up one of the most challenging Gatlinburg hiking trails around. After you've made this challenging climb up Chimney Tops trail, you'll reach the base of the first pinnacle. The true adventure starts here. Those looking for an adrenaline rush will enjoy scrambling up the 50 feet of rock-face to reach the top. It is advised that those with a fear of heights or those not physically able to climb up the rock face refrain from doing so as this part of the hike is dangerous and requires skill and concentration to finish.
However, the views of Mt. LeConte, Mt. Kephart, and Sugarland Mountain from the elevation of nearly 5,000 feet are exceptionally breathtaking. The views at Chimney Tops are the epitome of why so many vacationers come to enjoy hiking in the Smokies on Gatlinburg hiking trails.
Stay Close to Chimney Tops Smoky Mountains Trails
A stay in one of Cabins USA's cabin rentals in Smoky Mountain Village in Gatlinburg allows you a location near all the natural beauty of the Great Smokies National Parks and Gatlinburg hiking trails, while still provide a comfortable cabin near all the fun and excitement of Downtown Gatlinburg.
Written by Brittany Tipton