Location: Great Smoky Mountains National Park; Newfound Gap Rd, TN
Trail Length: 3.8 miles round trip (out and back)
Difficulty: Strenuous (but short)
Solitude: Frequently crowded
The Chimney Tops trail is one of the more popular hikes in all of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is for good reason. The trail packs a lot into only 1.9 miles (3.8 round trip.) One of those things is elevation gain. This trail meanders through some lower sections of the park and a few beautiful stream crossings before sending hikers practically straight up the mountain. The total elevation gain on this short trail is 1,487 feet. The trek ends at a rocky summit that offers panoramic views of the park. Or, if you don’t quite get to the VERY top of the summit like this author (more on that later), you still get great views. If you’re just passing through the park and don’t have a ton of time to explore, this trail is especially rewarding (I also recommend the Clingman’s Dome to Andrews Bald hike for those with limited time to explore the park.) Here’s a quick overview of the Chimney Tops trail and some more photographs.
|Road Prong Creek|
|Another shot of the rushing waters in Road Prong Creek|
|Small wildflowers were everywhere on the beginning lower sections of this trail.|
|Not my best photograph, but a quick "snapshot" taken from the summit face, just before I chickened out.|
|I'm gonna blame my not summitting on this closure (whether accurate or not!)|
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