Explore 7/27-29 - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

7/27-29 Map
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hiking
10 days ago

Everything you’ve read about how relentlessly steep this trail is? It’s all true. Had we not been training for several months for this hike, wife & I probably wouldn’t have been able to get out of bed the next morning. Trekking poles are A MUST for this steep hike; your thighs and calves will thank you.
Even in the segments that don’t contain long flights of stairs, it’s still nearly always an uphill climb. All that said, the views from the overlook are pretty amazing. The bare “chimney tops” themselves are clearly visible from the overlook, so there’s really no need to follow the trail beyond the overlook (where it dead-ends at a gate).
After lots of rain a few days earlier, the trail was extremely muddy on the day we hiked it.
This trail is definitely showing signs of being “loved to death” by scores of hikers. (Wonder if some sort of daily lottery to manage the number of hikers might be the answer?)
Encountered a young couple on the trail with their dog, and had to politely let them know that dogs aren’t allowed on most hiking trails within the park.
Be sure to start this hike early enough in the day that you’ll arrive back at the parking lot before it starts to get dark. On our mid-afternoon trip back down, we encountered a number of folks just getting started who almost certainly would be coming down all those steep stairs in twilight.
As always, carry – and drink – plenty of water, and take some energy snacks (or lunch) to enjoy at the overlook before heading back to the trailhead and the pain reliever of your choice. Sunscreen and bug spray are wise precautions.
Although parking area is fairly large, it appears to fill up quickly, so plan to get there early to avoid having to park along the busy roadside and walk to the trailhead.
After completing this challenging but rewarding hike, treat yourself to a burger in Gatlinburg – you’ve earned it!

just loved all aspects of this hike...the waterfalls were beautiful and the hike was worth every step!

My son and I hiked this trail this morning. It was challenging, but definitely worth the effort and we were glad we chose to do it. We will definitely hike this one again and hopefully the top portion will be opened up again soon.

hiking
21 days ago

Not too difficult of a hike! Steep walk up. Steps, bridges, more steps, inclines, but it’s relatively short of a hike now that the walk to the chimney tops is gated off. Took my gf and I about an hour to climb up with a solid 10 minute rest(were young and in great shape). We did see a handful of people struggling but nothing that will be hard. Beautiful view from the new lookout

hiking
27 days ago

We did this trail after going to alum cave first. I would not suggest that you do both in one day unless you are conditioned. Chimney is strenuous. Trail started to get crowded. Go early!It’s a nice trail but it is a thigh killer. Would def go back especially to finish the trail where it is closed at the top.

Beautiful trail which suffered from the 2016 fires. They have made some great progress in restoring the trail and even though the end of the trail is still closed to hikers, it's well worth the 1.75 mile hike to the new overlook

hiking
1 month ago

Only thing keeping it from getting 5 stars is the last section being closed since the 2016 fires, I understand why it's still closed but can't say it isn't disappointing. They have put in some great work to get the trail to the point it's at, but ending where it did was a bit of a tease. As is still a nice short hike with a good climb for the last third.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike! It took us about 3 hours up and down, with lots of stops for pictures and a little rest at the top. Inclines are steep and it was pretty slippery, but overall fine. Views at the top are gorgeous and well worth the climb.

hiking
1 month ago

This was awesome!! It took my girlfriend and me a little over two hours to complete and there were definitely some steep inclines and declines! Not for the faint of heart, but the views at the end are worth every second!! 10/10!

hiking
1 month ago

This was beyond the MOST steps I’ve climbed in quite some time! Awesome views. Got to the top and there’s somewhere you can sit! Although about 0.25 miles away is the chimney tops itself, it was blocked off due to the fire. There is a gate blocking it off.

hiking
1 month ago

Can you say STAIRS, stairs, and some more STAIRS !
But TOTALLY worth the climb!!!! Absolutely beautiful!
You are literally on top of the world ☺️❤️.

Stair master climb. Top is awesome.

hiking
1 month ago

Steep climb up but for what you see along the way it's worth every step. Don't bother climbing the root wall in the beginning of the trail it isn't another trail.

Highly recommend the bridges and view at top are well worth the work to get there

hiking
1 month ago

One of those hikes we wanted to do because of the low mileage, but man it was a workout! Talk about stairs! And more stairs! But beautiful view at the top. We arrived early in the morning and had the trail to ourselves. Would recommend!

hiking
1 month ago

This is one of our favorite hikes in any park! The trail immediately gives a great experience with some beautiful river crossings and a great place to eat on boulders. The ascend isn’t very long, but it is pretty steep, so be prepared to take breaks and take in the beautiful views along the way. At the top, definitely climb to the top of the rock (unless it’s raining). The expansive views are breathtaking! It can be a busy trail, and people tend to block the rock, so just politely ask them to move so you can climb up!

hiking
1 month ago

Stairs. And more stairs. And then stairs after that. :)
I actually enjoyed this hike. I didn’t get started til 10 am, but was alone going up except for meeting one person on his way down.
It’s very steep in places, so I recommend keeping a slow, steady, similar pace, rather than going til you’re out of breath and then stopping to catch your breath before continuing.
It was quite foggy at the viewing platform, but could still see enough to make it well worth it!
While I am sure the view from the very top is amazing, there is not enough money to get me to scramble up that rock face on any day, so I didn’t mind the last bit was closed off.

I would like to suggest the trail information say the following in addition to ‘Moderate’ : Hikers over 50, healthy knee function highly recommended. Be advised that stiff walking may occur for 3 or more days at trail end. (I’ve never been on a trail with over a mile of earthen stairs. But the view at the top was worth it!)- Chimney Tops, Smoky Mountains

So. Steep. We must have picked the perfect time to start because we arrived to the top and had it to ourselves, went to explore the gate (that you can get past, but it’s definitely closed off for a reason), and there were 15 people when we got back to the overlook. The way back down is killer on the knees.

Lots of stairs! You can get by the gate!

Have not hiked it since the last section was closed, but it was a beautiful and somewhat strenuous hike ..... especially the last part to summit. Looking forward to hiking it soon... hope I’m not disappointed since some of it is off limits now 10/19/2018. I would highly recommend this trail if your okay with a somewhat difficult hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Due to the proximity to Gatlinburg and reasonable distance, this is one of my favorite hikes in GSMNP. Plus it’s fun and absolutely beautiful! There are four bridges that cross the river and have spectacular cascade views & photo ops. This trail is rated as hard and it really is, despite the shorter length. This is mainly due to the elevation gain during the second mile. The elevation gain is thanks to eight - that’s right, EIGHT sets of stairs starting at mile 1.45! Every time I thought we were done climbing stairs, we were surprised with another set, but they’re evenly spaced well-maintained steps, not the weirdly shaped & spaced steps one often sees on trails (i.e. Sharp Top). Again despite the shorter distance, hiking boots and water are a must on this one. If you have any knee issues at all, some kind of knee elastic or KT tape (I prefer the latter) and trekking poles are super helpful on this trail (up and down) because of the steps. It’s true that the area around the pinnacles is closed, but it may never reopen to hikers as the fire has left it unstable and therefore unsafe. There’s a manmade observation point one-quarter of a mile below the former end of the trail; this observation point provides great views of the Chimney Tops pinnacles and Mount LeConte. Highly recommend!

Definitely hard.

long uphill with no payoff, the actual top is closed. wait to do this when the top peak opens.

first mile is easy last mile is STAIRS!! no joke.....one mile of mostly stairs
nice view at the end but like most people have reported the last .2 is closed off with a giant gate blocking the path and no way around it. the "new" view was still beautiful.

on Chimney Tops Trail

hiking
1 month ago

I went with some friends in the first week of August...we went early in the morning and were thankful the fog lifted by the time we got to the top. Too bad we couldn’t go to the final part of the trail as it was closed off. We also almost ran into a bear (it crossed right around the corner from us in front of two other people)!

Amazing Views after a challenging hike, streams the kids could play in. We loved it!

on Chimney Tops Trail

1 month ago

Views at the end are really nice!

Really nice hike! we went early morning (around 8am) and only crossed a couple people. Unfortunately it was extremely foggy and our view from the top was non-existent. We are seasoned hikers and felt this to be a pretty tough hike even with the shorter distance. Even without seeing the view from the top , this was an awesome trail!

Wow, loved it!

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