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

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hiking
2 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
8 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.

Very nice trail. It is well maintained and beautifully constructed. The views at the top are magnificent!

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
13 days 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
14 days 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
14 days 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!

I really enjoyed this smooth well marked hiking trail to the Alum Cave and Bluffs. Beautiful and serene walk alongside a peaceful stream brings you to an interesting natural rock cave structure. A one railed log bridge over the creek leads to an immaculate rock stairwell which brings you through the cave arch and then almost all uphill from here leads to some beautiful breathtaking views of the mountainside prior to reaching the stunning scenic views of the bluffs.

hiking
15 days 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
16 days 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
22 days 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.

The hike up was beautiful. You follow the river up and cross multiple bridges. The first half had only a slight incline and the second half has more stairs. you get great views of the mountains. I recommend it to anyone! Not really sure where the peak was though. There wasn't a sign or anything.

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

hiking
23 days 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
24 days 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
24 days 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

We were almost scared off this trail by reviews that described this trail as being moderate to strenuous. (We are in our late 60s and my wife has had double knee replacement.) Sure, there were sections that were steep but the trail itself is broad and flat with very easy footing. We can deal with steep but my wife has a hard time when the footing is rugged from rocks and roots sticking up high. Heck, the Cove Hardwood Nature Trail down the road was more rugged that the trail to Alum Cave.That made this trail quite easy for us to hike and maybe the most beautiful trail we hiked all week!

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.

Tons of fun and amazing views! I had to wade through the river at the very beginning to get to the incline, and then the canyon itself was so beautiful.

Absolutely gorgeous view from the top. Super worth it!

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.

This was such a beautiful trail! The first mile or so was fairly moderate, with only a slight incline. After Arch Rock, however, the trail definitely becomes steeper and more strenuous. I would recommend starting the hike early. We started at 9am, and we encountered a few groups on our way up to the bluffs, but it was very busy on our way down the trail! There was a lot of cloud cover at the top of the bluffs, but thankfully some of it cleared off by the time we headed back down the mountain, so we were able to experience both the “smokiness” and great views the Smoky Mountains have to offer!

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)!

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