Chimney Tops Trail is a 4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until November.
Chimney Tops trail starts behind the Visitor Center. The trail starts as an immediate 45 degree switchback and continues like that for about a mile to the first ridge. The terrain is not traveled frequently which adds both a sense of adventure and caution to the hike. The Chimney Tops Trail is one of the most popular hikes along Newfound Gap Road. The trail owes much of its popularity to its relatively short length, and its outstanding panoramic views from the pinnacles. Its length, less than 2 miles, however, makes for a very steep hike - so much so that many hikers don't even reach the top. The first half of the trail is relatively tame. However, to reach the summit, hikers have to climb more than 960 feet over the course of the last mile! This is similar to the rate of elevation gain youll find on some of the 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado.
After checking out Clingmans Dome, we decided to head down 441 and take a quick hike up the very strenuous trail to the rocky face of Chimney Tops. When we arrived it was about 2:00 and the sign at the trailhead said it would take an hour and a half to reach the top. The first part of the hike seemed rather easy (for me anyway). There are many, many, many steps to climb that trail workers built to make the ascent much easier than it could have been. Carrie decided to count them but quickly lost interest when it became more work than walking.
Once we reached the halfway mark, speed began to allude us. The trail began to go straight up and the steps were becoming more laborious. At one point, I believe if I had turned to ask Carrie if she wanted to quit, she would have said yes. One couple that stayed ahead of us for most of the hike did actually quit 2/3 the way up.
When we finally reached a leveling off we could see that we were very close to the top. We were warned by a passing hiker to be cautious of the “killer” squirrels. They were definitely making their presence known and they would get rather close if you let them.
We reached a point where the trail actually came to an end but the sign informed us if we wanted to continue to the top , we could scale the rocky face of the mountain to get the views. Carrie decided to stay put where their were some other hikers there that had been there a while. They had even set up their ENO hammock. I went further climbing halfway up the rocky face before feeling the pressure of fear and shaky legs. I decided it was far enough and the views were spectacular at that point. Others continued further up but I had gone far enough. I was satisfied with the heights that I had reached.
As soon as I got my fill, I scaled back down, grabbed some water and a pack of Spam singles (I was hungry). Then Carrie and I hiked back down the mountain. The whole way down my legs were feeling the jitteriness since I was using my legs muscles more to stay paced and not rush down the mountain (like some we saw as we were going up).
Once we reached the bottom, it was time to find food and that we did in the Burg of Gatlin. BBQ was on the menu at Hungry Bear.
Made it to the top this past June. This trail got me into hiking. I made it to the bottom of the rock face three years ago and had to turn around because it was raining and too dangerous. Had to return to complete it and was worth the wait. Don't be fooled by reviews. This hike is not easy. The rock face climb to the summit was not easy. I took my nine and twelve year old boys up there and I was relieved to have made it down. Get there early!
One of my favorite places to hike and explore. Have also hiked to the Chimneys from Sugarland Mtn.
This is a fantastic hike, I have competed it several times, but as of now, and until further notice, this trail is closed due to the fires that ravaged the area back in nov/dec.
My brother and I hiked this trail toward the end of September - the parking lot was full and we had to park further down the road. The hike is pretty strenuous, but the view at the very top is absolutely worth it. Many people like to sit on the rock face, making it difficult (and more dangerous) to climb up. Seriously, if you're going to hike all that way, don't let the rock stop you from completing the hike - and don't sit in the way of the people who do! The best part about this trail (besides the view) are streams that run across the very beginning of the trail. The ice-cold water felt great after the hike.
One of my favorite hikes. Challenging and great views at the top. When you get to the top it's worth the intense uphill workout!!!
Loved this hike so much! We went the first week of Jan. 2016. It's a little strenuous at times, but the view at the end is worth every single step. I'm so glad we got to do this trail before the wildfires swept through Gatlinburg these past fees months. Whenever they open the trail back up I will definitely do it again! I've hiked several trails in Gatlinburg and this is by far my favorite!
One of my favorites, it's worth the climb! It's an amazing sunrise hike!
This trail was a pretty hard climb at times, but the view was incredible!
One of the best views I've seen it's a steep trail at the bottom but it is well worth the effort but this is a good hike for all types of people whether it's your first hike or you are an experienced backpacker. You also get a fun scramble up rocks to the summit
Amazing views from top to bottom.
Difficult but worth it! Beautiful views!
Awesome hike. Very challenging and sore the next day.
I did this years ago and never recorded it. Maybe I was in too much pain. This is a steep, grueling trail.
One of my favorite hikes.
Be careful if you are going all the way to the summit the exposed rock at the top is steep and slick.
Very dry on 11-12-16, so the stream along Road Prong trail was extremely low.
The trail was recently restored and eroded portions that were a challenge the last time I hiked this trail have been repaired. Some may not like the updates (stone stairs), but they were needed since this trail was being loved to death.