Chimney Tops is one of the most visited places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its access point is found just a hop, skip, and a jump from downtown Gatlinburg. Well, a little more than a hop, skip, and a jump, but you get the picture. For a relatively short hike in the park near Gatlinburg, seek out Chimney Tops and you can thank us later.
As mentioned, it’s a two-mile trek from Newfound Gap Road to Chimney Tops and the trailhead can be accessed 6.7 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center traveling south on Newfound Gap Road. There is also a large parking area found there.
Not only does Chimney Tops offer spectacular mountain views, the short two-mile hike is most appealing to visitors. Just watch out as you get closer to the top, the trail gets pretty steep and can be fairly slippery when it rains.
As you start out, you’ll come to a bridge that crosses the Walter Camp Prong of the Little Pigeon River. This is a great place to view and take pictures of spring wildflowers. At 0.9 miles in you’ll have crossed your fourth bridge along the trail to Chimney Tops and you’re at the point in the trail where the Road Prong Trail junction appears. You’ll go on from that point to the right and hike a switchback.
This creek valley you’re now on will literally lead you up to the stars. It’s a steep trail and you’re likely to hear the sound of water rippling down the mountainside to your as you ascend Chimney Tops. Another switchback and you find yourself trekking across Sugarland Mountain. If you look through openings along the trail you’re sure to catch a glimpse of Mount LeConte in the distance.
Following a quick descent, you come to a sloping pinnacle and signs warning hikers not to travel beyond Chimney Tops’ two peaks.
Two paths can be taken to the top but hikers should be wary of the rocks leading up opposite of the rock face. Some are as old as 600 million years and shine from the thousands of hand that have touched them over the years on their way to Chimney Tops. You’ve made it! Turn around and marvel at Mt. LeConte and Newfound Gap Road, it’s been a great hike and one you’ll always remember.