Chimney Tops

#10 in Best Things To Do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Chimney Tops picture
GreenStock/Getty Images

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.9scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 2.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

One of the most popular trails in the park, Chimney Tops is one of the few mountains that has a bare rock summit and the views from the summit are spectacular. It's a short but very steep climb that requires scrambling over rocks to reach the top, so it's not for novice hikers or young children.

Hikers who visited recently noted that although climbing the pinnacles is not possible due to fire damage from 2016, the vistas from the viewing platform (which is part of the lower portion of the trail from Gatlinburg, Tennessee that is still accessible) is worth the trek. Some recommended taking a break at the scenic picnic area by the stream, located below the chimneys. Many also cautioned that the area is bear territory. 

To reach the trail, drive a little more than 6 miles south of the Sugarlands Visitor Center on Newfound Gap Road. You'll spot a large parking area on the west side of the road. For updates about the trail, check the park website

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More Best Things To Do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Roaring Fork Motor Trail1 of 9
Newfound Gap Road2 of 9
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Roaring Fork Motor Trail

The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, a nearly 6-mile-long, one-way loop road, offers spectacular mountain scenery and access to two of the region's most popular waterfalls: Rainbow Falls and Grotto Falls. You can actually walk behind the 25-foot high falls at the Grotto via the Trillium Gap Trail. You'll also see historic log cabins and the remains of a mountain village, the Roaring Fork Cemetery and an array of wildlife from birds and deer to black bears.

Recent visitors who raved about the beautiful waterfalls and mountain scenery on this motor trail said this is a must-see and a great place to spot bears in the wild. However, some summer tourists bemoaned the fact that the trail was crowded and offered limited parking areas. To avoid the midday rush of visitors, plan your drive in the morning to beat the crowds.

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