Chimney Tops Trail

HARD
#2 of 161 trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Chimney Tops Trail is a 4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, TN that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from March until November.

4.0 miles 1371 feet Out & Back
birding hiking nature trips walking forest river views wild flowers bugs muddy rocky scramble no dogs
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Chimney Tops trail starts behind the Visitor Center in Frozen Head National Park. 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.

Hannah Griffin
1 day ago

2 Completed1 Reviews

very hard, kinda like death if you aren't expecting it, but it's fun and I'm planning on doing it again very soon

Chad Armour
2 days ago

14 Completed13 Reviews

Chad Armour
2 days ago

14 Completed13 Reviews

Daniel Eccles
4 days ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

If you do not want to rock climb don't bother with this trail. Its so worth it when you get to the top. However, the trail is uphill the entire way and was probably the most difficult trail I have ever done (amateur 22 year old hiker). Nice in the morning among the fog.

Storm Shular
5 days ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

Logan Rooney
7 days ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

Tyler Horn
10 days ago

13 Completed13 Reviews

This trail was beautiful on the way down.. Be prepared the battle uphill for 2 miles all the way to the top. It takes a lot out of you so I would suggest taking breaks as needed. Once you get to the peak you have to do some serious rock climbing to get to the top. It is not for the feint of heart and if you have no previous climbing experience I wouldn't do it. I only made it half way before giving up. The view was spectacular and well worth it.

Garrett Weekley
14 days ago

4 Completed4 Reviews

Here's everything you need to know about this trail (coming from someone who searched through many reviews on this trail and couldn't find what I was looking for)

The trail is rightfully rated as hard. Definitely worked up a sweat. I see a bunch of trails on here rated as hard and wonder just how difficult they are so I wanted to try this one. But honestly, coming from a decently fit person, it wasn't too hard. Only one of our group of 3 had a struggle getting up. Pretty short. Overall it took us 3 hours but the actual moving time was a little over 1 hour and a half. The distance was 4.4 miles and it will certainly challenge you with it's incline around the last mile to the summit. You should ABSOLUTELY climb the rock facing (if it's not wet) and get to the very top. The view is breathtaking. Going down was a breeze but a little harsh on the knees. All down hill on the way back.

Overall it was awesome. I wouldn't recommend taking little children. I saw some parents turning back because the kid was upset. I also wouldn't recommend bringing a dog. The terrain becomes pretty dangerous with some nasty drop-offs. Definitely gonna do it again. Hope this helps.

Savannah Ward
14 days ago

4 Completed2 Reviews

its pretty straight up for the last little bit but the last climb makes everything so worth it. this is by far my favorite trail!

Tim Fairfield
18 days ago

4 Completed1 Reviews

Great hike with wonderful views. Many steps to climb on the way to the top.

Lesley Soper
24 days ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

Amazing!! Fear crusher!

Paul Nitzke
1 month ago

53 Completed23 Reviews

this trail was my first difficult/strenuous rated trail. it was everything i was looking for...sort but a challenge...great views and vistas....very heavy traffic. so far this is my favorite GSM trail....it was as tough as advertised but well worth the hike for the view. i plan on doing this one again..

Tanya Kilby
1 month ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

It was a push and you have to climb the rock face but the view is beyond worth it

Sara Vroegindewey
1 month ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Travis Burgett
1 month ago

10 Completed6 Reviews

the views at the top make the climb worth it. Expect 2 miles of pure uphill climbing

dan mcintyre
1 month ago

3 Completed3 Reviews

Mark Ashley
1 month ago

10 Completed9 Reviews

Fun trail with great views once you get to the top. Moderately difficult and short. It can be crowded. This is not a hike for people with a feat of heights, many people stopped before the rock scramble to the top. I would probably not dot this hike in rain or snow, it could be dangerous.

Henry P.
1 month ago

This was a very hard but very awesome trail. Constant uphill with a very steep portion about half way up. Worth the effort.

Kevin Fernandez
1 month ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Trail can be difficult as it goes straight uphill basically the whole time, but once you get to the top and climb the rocks it is SO worth it. one of the coolest hikes I've ever done

Adrian Haney
1 month ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Absolutely amazing