Chimney Tops is a mountain located in the central Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the most popular hike in the Smokies and it is about 4,724 feet above sea level. Chimney Tops are two tall incredible features on the TN side of the Smoky Mountains. And these are a few mountains in the Smokies which have bare rock peaks.
It is a double capstone knob that lies on the eastern slope of the Sugarland Mountain Massif and starches north-south across the north-central section of the Great Smoky Mountains. On the east side of Chimney Tops lies the Monte Le Conte and on the southeast of Chimney Tops lies the Mt. Mingus. So the view from the peak is about 360 degrees.
Best things to do in Chimney Tops
Chimney Tops Trail
Chimney Tops Trail is one of the best and popular trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park because of its length and stunning views. The trail is almost 1,200 feet in 2 miles which makes a steep climb. It is worth it to hike up to the Chimneys because of its incredible views from the trail, abundant wildflowers, and streams. And to reach the peak of Chimney Tops, there is a steep rock scramble which is slippery when it is wet or when it is covered with ice.
The trail starts by crossing the streams three times before leading to the side of the mountain. A steep climb on a rocky trail will lead to a switchback and then the trail follows the side of Sugarland Mountain. A ridge offers an amazing view of the Monte Le Conte and then the trail moves downwards for the first time when it reaches the rocky pinnacle. You will find the first chimney on top of it.
Trailhead: You will have to drive 6.7 miles south from the Sugarlands Visitor Center which is located in the Newfound Gap. And you will have to check for a large parking area that lies on the west side of the road between the loop and the lower tunnel. The distance will be about 4 miles roundtrip.
Pets are prohibited in this trial. There are two trails in this park called Gatlinburg Trail and Oconaluftee River Trail where pets are allowed.
Chimney Tops Picnic Area
Chimney Tops picnic area is the most popular and favorite spot in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The picnic area is located 4.5 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center which is just outside Gatlinburg. It is about 6 miles along the roadway and takes left to reach the area. The picnic grounds follow the loop road and it has picnic tables on both sides of the road. In the picnic spot, there are few tables overlooking the river which are beautiful but it is difficult to procure.
Chimney Tops picnic area is popular especially when the weather is warmer and it is the best spot for families. And the picnic stop has grills for barbecuing. It also has potable water and restroom facilities along with flush toilets. You can hike via Cove Hardwood Self-Guiding Nature Trail during the spring season where you will be able to see wildflowers and mosses. You can also take a half a mile drive where you can see pull-offs that offer beautiful views of Chimney Tops.
Check out the other popular places to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.