Chimney Top Mountain Via Spicewood Branch Trail

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Frozen Head State Park

Chimney Top Mountain Via Spicewood Branch Trail is a 12.9 kilometer lightly trafficked loop trail located near Wartburg, Tennessee that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 12.9 km Elevation Gain: 772 m Route Type: Loop

dog friendly


nature trips


bird watching



wild flowers


This park re-opened for day-use visitation between 7am and sunset on April 24, 2020. The public will have access to most trails, boat ramps, marinas, golf courses and other outdoor recreation opportunities. Park facilities and overnight accommodations will remain closed, as will playgrounds and other social gathering places. See here for more info: This trail is great year round but its peak time is April into early May. The trailhead is next to the restrooms. The first part is a base trail and doesn't have a name until it divides off several trailheads. At the .25 mile the trail will fork - go right and in .30 miles it will fork again. Take the purple blazed Spicewood Branch Trail to the right. Now your wildflower viewing starts, be sure to use your check list to see how many different species you can see. This loop has 3 campsites and at .70 the trail goes straight to Spicewood Branch Camp with ample water source but you veer right. At 2.70 miles you will come to an intersection, take the Chimney Top Trail green blaze. The next landmark is Mart Fields Campsite which does not have a water source but is a good level site. This trail loops back to the base trail turn left to return to your car.

1 month ago

Good trail, but no real views. The trail itself is beautiful. We started by going up Chimney Top Trail and down the other side which I would recommend as I can’t imagine having to go down the Chimney Top side. The total distance was around 10 miles according to my GPS.

Trail length 11.2.

4 months ago

I wish I would have taken the loop in the other direction, up Chimney Top and down Spicewood. My knees were crying the entire way down Chimney! It's a tough hike, but good. There is water access on Spicewood, but not many chances on Chimney

4 months ago

Long. Much longer and harder than planned. Recorded 10.5 miles followed the map too.

10 months ago

A very nice trail, just don’t end up off trail or you double the length of your hike. Ask me how I know.

over grown
Sat May 18 2019

Just completed this today. I would give this 3.5 stars if I could. My g/f and I started out on Spicewood, then proceeded to Chimney Top. We only saw one other hiker the entire time, but saw a full campsite at the campground just past the Spicewood/Chimney Top split. Per the GPS this was about 9.5 miles total. Spicewood was well-marked and appeared to be well-maintained. However, Chimney Top wasn't well-marked during some of the trek. Also, it was rather overgrown and seems like it needs more love. Sadly, even though today was beautiful, there weren't any great scenic look outs due to such high trees. I could imagine during the fall/winter when the trees are barren you could see much more clearly.

Sun Nov 25 2018

I hiked this with my dog yesterday and went in the reverse direction from what was described above (I started at the visitor center). That direction is more challenging with some steeper climbs that are difficult rather than moderate. I was disappointed that there were not any scenic view points, but it was a gray sky day so I probably wasn't missing much. There were plenty of stream crossings so I didn't need to carry water for my dog. The hike was good exercise at least.

Sat Nov 24 2018

Great trail. Fairly challenging. Started on Old Mac North to Chimney Rock for 11.2 miles. Only complaint was that Chimney Rock was poorly marked in some areas.

Mon Oct 01 2018

Amazing view

Fri May 04 2018

This is a pretty difficult hike -- the trail includes a lot of steep uphills and precipitous downhills, with some clambering over rocks. It's a challenge! But beautiful, especially at the top, and very isolated; I didn't see another soul for the whole hike. Chimney Top really does go right to the top of the mountain, up, over, and around the rocky summit. I can confirm that the Mart Fields campsite does have a water source, a hundred yards or so down the Chimney Tops trail -- but when I was there it was a meager trickle. One note: they have moved the Chimney Top trailhead so that it comes out by the Visitor's Center, about 1/4 mile down the road from the Spicewood trailhead. So the last bit of the hike is along a paved road (but one with very little traffic).

Mon Apr 23 2018

It was so pretty even for a dreary cold day. It was pretty intense in some places. I loved all of the water features and views of the huge open valleys. The flowers were just starting to bloom but it was unusually cold on this particular day. We were the only people out there and my dog also had a blast! Super fun day despite the cold.

Fri Apr 06 2018

My favorite hiking loop in Frozen Head.

Mon Mar 06 2017

I would say this is the third most difficult trail at Frozen Head due to the elevation gained over a shorter distance than North Old Mac and South Old Mac. Once you get up to the Chimney Top Trail, a lot of nice rock features. Stayed at the Spicewood Branch Campsite which had water near by.

Wed Aug 10 2016

Started up chimney top trail. The final 1/4 mile to chimney tops is brutal. I hike difficult trails regularly and completely underestimated the ascent. I did enjoy the challenge along with the rest of the hike. I will definitely be coming back in winter when the lack of foliage will open up the views.

Sat Mar 12 2016

This trail is marked very well. We started on South Old Mac trail. It had lots of elevation changes. Wild flowers are starting to bloom.

Tue Oct 20 2015

We hiked up Chimney Top and down Spicewood Branch 2 weeks ago. There is a lot of elevation change on this one. Multiple climbs and descents. The view from Chimney Top is nice. This is an wesome hike if you want solitude and a workout.

Tue Dec 23 2014

The best trail I have done yet in Frozen Head. Perfectly secluded and very very little foot traffic so if you're searching for some truly quiet hiking then this is a great contrast to the likes of the Smokies.

Fri Mar 28 2014

This was a very demanding hike. For the first few miles there are switchbacks that help a lot. After that the trail goes straight up for the last while, thats where it gets painful. There are great views of the valley along the way. There are water sources along the way, including one just above the Mart Fields campsite. The trails are well marked. The signs at the trailhead say to plan 6 hours to go up to chimneytop and back.

Tue Feb 15 2011

Just to add to others review this is an amazing place, I don't know why you can't find more info on the net about frozen Head. There IS a water source about 100 yards away from the Marts Field Campsite. I did the Chimney Top trail but didnt go spicewood I came out on the South Old Mac trail. Good thing is you can make this as long or short as you want to, all the trails kind of tie in to each other. I camped at Tubb Springs. Nice campsite and a lookout tower 1/2 mile away for awesome morning views! This is not an easy trail up to Chimney Top, very steep and demanding.1st time I've gotten blisters in a Looong time. As a side note: there was no one at the Ranger Station the day we went in or came out. There were numerous people trying to get info/ maps but no help. I printed a good map of the net before I went, ended up giving it to someone else at the end of the trip.

1 day ago

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