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Chimney Tops

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

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Chimney Tops

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  • The drive along Newfound Gap Road to reach the trailhead is very scenic and beautiful.- Chimney Tops
  • One of three crossings of Road Prong Creek.- Chimney Tops
  • The old-growth forests that surround this trail are very dense and peaceful.- Chimney Tops
  • Road Prong Creek.- Chimney Tops
  • The scramble to the top is very steep.- Chimney Tops
  • The summit of Chimney Tops.- Chimney Tops
  • Incredible panoramic views over Great Smoky Mountains National Park make the scramble and strenuous hike to the top well worth it.- Chimney Tops
  • Colorful leaves settle in over the Smoky Mountains in the fall.- Chimney Tops
  • The view from Chimney Tops, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.- Chimney Tops
  • Mount LeConte is visible looking east from the summit.- Chimney Tops
  • The Sugarlands Visitor Center can be seen on clear days looking west from the summit.- Chimney Tops
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Wildflowers in spring. Stunning views. Creeks and thick forests. Short length.
Cons: 
Big crowds.
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Alerts: 
The Chimney Tops Trial has been closed due to wildfire damage.
Region:
Smoky Mountains, TN
Congestion: 
High
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
Not Required
Total Distance: 
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Trailhead Elev.: 
3,425 ft (1,044 m)
Net Elev. Gain: 
1,375 ft (419 m)
Trail Uses:
Hiking
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Dogs allowed: 
No
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky

Today

Partly cloudy in the morning.
70°F
44°

Thu

Partly cloudy overnight.
68°F
47°

Fri

Partly cloudy throughout the day.
67°F
51°

Sat

Mostly cloudy throughout the day.
64°F
53°

Sun

Rain throughout the day.
60°F
54°

Mon

Rain until afternoon.
55°F
42°

Tue

Partly cloudy in the evening.
44°F
38°
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Sponsored Contributor

Don't let the short distance of this hike fool you: this 4-mile round-trip hike is far from an easy stroll through the woods. In the 2 miles it takes to reach the summit you gain about 1,375 feet in elevation, about 960 feet gained in the last mile. Despite the strenuousness, Chimney Tops is one of the most popular trails in Great Smoky Mountain National Park due to its short length and astounding 360-degree vistas.  

The first mile of the hike gains relatively little elevation and follows the cascading Road Prong Creek, which requires footbridges to cross. The peaceful stream crossings turn into a purely uphill trek until you reach the base of the summit. The climb to the top is very unique because Chimney Tops has one of the only bare rock summits in the park. Reaching the summit requires a very steep scramble up the rocks.  Although you don't need gear for the climb to the top, the climb should be avoided if you have a strong fear of heights or if there are wet conditions (the rocks tend to get very slippery).  

Along this last mile of the trail hikers will be surrounded by a stunning old-growth forest filled with yellow buckeye trees, including one of the oldest yellow buckeyes in the entire Smoky Mountain area. In springtime the forest is littered with wildflowers, mainly trillium and hepatica, that increase the scenic appeal and popularity of this trail even more.  

The scenic trail filled with creeks, old-growth forests and wildflowers combined with the amazing views at the top make this a must-do hike on any visit to the Smoky Mountains.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(29 within a 30 mile radius)

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