Chimney Tops Trail

Chimney Tops Trail is an invigorating 4 mile round trip hike

You will find the Chimney Tops Trail is accessible on Newfound Gap Road (Hwy 441 between Gatlinburg, Tn and Cherokee, NC). This is a somewhat strenuous trail that winds through virgin forest to the Chimney Tops pinnacles.   Elevation gain is 1,400 feet.  The trail was closed for nearly a year following the wildfires that occurred in the national park on November 28, 2016.  It reopened on October 6, 2017.  Since the fire, new forest growth is thick and beautiful.

chimney tops trail

One of three bridges you will cross when hiking the 4 mile trail

chimney tops trail

The trailhead, located 6.9 miles from Sugarlands Visitor Center


Another portion of the river along the way

winter scene

Winter scene at the trailhead

This trail offers panoramic views and a mountain river and streams.

While the Chimney Tops trail is one of the most popular trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park; you will experience a steep climb.  Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water. To reach the summit, there is a steep rock area that can be slippery when wet or covered in ice.

The trail begins by crossing rushing streams three times before ascending the side of the mountain. A steep climb over a rocky trail leads to a switchback, and the trail then follows along the side of Sugarland Mountain. A ridge offers a view of Mount Le Conte, and the trail descends for the first time as it reaches the rocky pinnacle, the top of which is the first “chimney”.

Pets are not permitted on the trail.

The Chimneys picnic area is located 2.5 miles from the trailhead.  Since the picnic grounds are situated on a mountain river, you will appreciate the sounds of rushing waters.  You can enjoy grilling on the bbq grills located at each picnic table.  Kids and adults will love spending time on the river — crossing the huge river rocks or simply getting your feet wet in the cool waters.  You will find free parking very close to each picnic area.