Hike the Chimney Tops

Tennessee Chimney Tops Trailhead

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Scramble to the top of the peak for great summit views on this short steep, but fun hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Chimney Top's Trail is one of the most visited trails in the Smokies, which is why I recommend going up just before sunset to beat the crowd!

During the summer and fall months, it's easy to see a hundred people taking in the view on the same trail, but if you scramble on out after hours, you can easily find yourself alone just in time to catch the sunset. Get to the trailhead and hour and a half or two hours before sunset to give yourself plenty of time to explore in the daylight.

Be very cautious on the out scramble. This isn't recommended for beginners. But if you do, you won't regret the solitude or the view.

Pack List

  • Good headlamp
  • Extra batteries
  • Spare flashlight
  • Warm clothes
  • Warm company
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Chillin, Photography, Hiking

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



3.8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1487 Feet



Swimming Hole

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How to Get There

about 1 month ago

The trail is temperarily closed

Due to a park fire late last year, this trail is temporarily closed. Check nps website for most up to date info. Another great hike nearby is Charlie's Bunion (make sure to take the extra jut out to "The Jump Off" for spectacular views).

about 1 month ago

8 months ago

Straight Uphill Shot to the Summit

Okay so I loved this hike, the first mile is really gradual and easy hike. You hike along a beautiful river and cross a number of bridges which all provide great photo opps (if they're not swarming with people). After the first mile you take off uphill, like, realllyyyy take off uphill. I'm definitely the kind of hiker that loves a good uphill climb but this had my calves burning and I stopped about 10 times (no lie) to catch my breath and let my heart rate slow down. But the views from the top are worth every step. Be advised that you do have to scramble up a steep rock face to get to the final summit and while I was there, there were at least 9 people at the base of the rock who couldn't get up it. All and all this hike was awesome and I'd love to do it again for a sunset!

8 months ago

10 months ago

Moonlit hike

The last time we did this hike, we started just after sunset and hiked with headlamps. For the final scramble, it was bright enough for us to turn off our headlamps and very carefully climb to the top in the moonlight. Great experience, but not recommended for beginners, as it is quite steep and you've got to be really careful with your footing. I would only recommend a night hike to experienced hikers, and in dry/warm conditions. In the winter this trail can be very icy.

10 months ago

12 months ago

Fun Climb At The End

Go really early in the day or later in the evening to beat the crowd. We got there at 6:30am and only saw one other person the whole way. If you're physically fit, the hike will go fast. It's two miles to get there, then two miles back. Also, be ready to climb at the very end for a stunning view. If you're afraid of heights, the climb may be intimidating.

12 months ago

about 1 year ago

Great Experience

This was a very scenic hike and the view makes the scramble to the top worth it. The attached video documents the final scramble, but don't worry, it isn't as steep as the fisheye lens makes it out. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh-DZF6iyOM&feature=youtu.be

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

Great View

Pretty steep 2 miles on the way up. Scaling the rock feels a little sketchy, but if you take your time you'll be fine. View from the top is definitely worth it. Rock is very slick though, so if there is any feel of rain it'd probably be best to get back down of the rock. Must do though if you're in the smokies.

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

Incredible! And Terrifying!

In love with this hike. You follow a beautiful river all the way up the mountain (until you're almost at the summit). The hike is hard as it is incredibly steep and hundreds of stairs. When we got to the top we began scaling the rocks you first see. We made it have way up before realizing going further wasn't going to happen. (The next rock was vertical and I wasn't about to see if I could make it). Also lots of bees so don't wear perfume or smelly things. We found out you can take the tiny path behind the sign (to the right of the rock face) and find a much easier way up!! That way was not a problem at all!

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Great Hike!

The hike and scramble to the top is definitely worth it for the view!

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Done this one many times

This hike is absolutely amazing and I have completed it many times. Expect to scramble up some rocks towards the end and if you bring small children with you keep a close eye. If there is snow on the trail make sure you have proper footwear or it will be miserable(first hand experience). This hike offers some beautiful views of the Great Smokies.

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Insane Hike

My favorite hike in the Smokies! Definitely not for those scared of heights. Lots of steep stairs but an awesome view at the top.

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

A spectacular hike

A Smokies classic, always busy, but a must do

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Favorite Hike In The Smokies

This is one of my favorite hikes in the Smokies. It is fairly short so the large elevation gain is over a short stretch. It will get your heart pumping. The best part is the climb up the rocks at the top which is necessary to get to the view. When you do make it up the rocks, the view is breathtaking. I continued about halfway to the second chimney but getting to the second chimney is definitely challenging. A must-do hike in the Smokies!

over 1 year ago

almost 2 years ago

Absolutely one of my favorite hikes and my go-to when taking my friends out. I'm a thrill seeker i suppose and the scramble at the end is why i keep returning, once you're at the top of the first "chimney," you can, very carefully, continue on to two or three more with a little balance and boldness. :)

almost 2 years ago

over 2 years ago

This is not a good trail if you have any fear of heights. To get to the top where the view is, you have to scramble up rocks. It feels very sketchy. Once you get to the top, there is a big area to hang out, relax, picnic, etc.

over 2 years ago

over 2 years ago

I've made this hike twice, and it's nothing short of spectacular! Very dangerous at the end to get on the very top, but many little kids were doing it.

over 2 years ago

Added by Mason Boring

adventurer | laugher | wayfarer | humanist | photographer | woodsman | fan of the underdog | friend of the down and out

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