Summary: You can see the twin peaks as you wind along Newfound Gap Road but you can't appreciate them as much until you reach the top and see them again on the drive home. Your trek starts mildly as you cross a few bridges over some scenic streams and then ascend over 700 ft a mile until you reach the top. You and everyone who makes it to the top will say the same thing, " wow the view is well worth the climb". At first appearance you feel you will have to climb the rocks that go straight up to get the views you came after but you can spot a trail to the right, follow it around for more spectacular views. Climbing the pinnacle is very dangerous and extreme caution should be used if you choose to do so. This rock outcrop is part of the Anakeesta Formation also found at Charlies Bunion, which is at least 600 million years old.
Trailhead: I-40 Exit 407 follow Hwy 66 South 8 miles to 441 South to Gatlinburg; 441 South on Newfound Gap Road about 6.5 miles past the Sugarland Visitors Center. There is a small parking lot on the right side of the road with trailhead sign. (Don't confuse the Chimney Tops Picnic Area for the trailhead) (Lat:35.63044 Lon:-83.47829)
Trail Guides for Chimney Tops Trail:
Day Hikes in GSMNP
by Johnny Molloy ()
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: GSMNP Headquarters 865-436-0120
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Bobby Trotter, who has posted 74 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 11 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Stuart on 9/12/2013
I don't have a personal favorite, but this is a great short hike if you don't have all day. Good workout if you run it, and the rock climbing between the first and second chimneys is fun. I only recommend that part to fit people who have a good sense of balance and no fear of heights.
Reviewed by SD on 9/23/2012
My husband and I trekked up this very strenuous trail yesterday. The first mile is a easy hike with wonderful scenery, we would do that part again. However, the second mile was the strenuous part (trekking poles are no help) and the 100ft rock climb to the summit is nothing short of life-threatening dangerous (can't believe some folks let the kids climb that). There is no where to fall safely - straight down the mountain on both sides if you slip. It was so dangerous, EVERYONE who climbed up the rock face took the 'closed' side path back down. The view is great, however I can't tell the difference between the pics I took at the summit and the pics I took at the bottom of the rock face. Hiking shoes/boots and water highly recommended.
Reviewed by Roger on 7/23/2012
I have hiked several of the major day hikes in the Smokies ranging from 10-20 miles each. My son and I hiked this one on Friday, July 20th, and for a 4 mile round trip, it will kick your back end. Like Alum Cave Trail, it thankfully levels off for the last stretch. One word of caution, take the warning about climbing the rock to the pinnacle seriously. I found out the hard way after slipping while coming off the wet rock (it rained for about a half hour on our way up) and falling hard on my right side. Still recovering with nine stitches in my right forearm. Too bad the side trail is being rehab'd and therefore unavailable.
Reviewed by chad on 7/15/2012
The trail will be closed Mon-Thurs until October 18, 2012 for trail improvements. The route at the top around was also closed so they only way to reach the very top was to climb the rock faces. I thought the climb up the rock face was the most fun part of the hike. The first mile is pretty and crosses over a stream three or four times. It's a good chance to rock hop or get in the stream. The middle section is strenuous for about 3/4 of a mile. It levels off towards the top. I thought that the view is well worth every step to get up there.
Reviewed by Sierra on 6/4/2012
I am from Cherokee and my boyfriend and I have hiked every trail from Cherokee to Gatlinburg but this is by far our favorite. The view is awesome. The first time we went was December 2011 and we will be returning this weekend as a quick day trip. I would recommend this trail to anyone. It is pretty much a straight up hike but totally worth it!
Reviewed by JJ on 3/2/2012
My family and I have hiked several trails in the Smokies, and this one is our favorite so far. When we reached the top, the trail up to the pinnacle was closed. We were a little disappointed because it seemed a little anticlimactic to work so hard and not be able to climb to the top. So, my 7 and 10 year old sons along with my husband and I climbed the rock face. It was an awesome adventure for all of us!!
Reviewed by SS on 2/4/2012
This has been posted before, but should be near the top of the comments: dogs are NOT ALLOWED on this or any other trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are two exceptions: dogs on leash can go on the Gatlinburg "Two Mile" trail between headquarters and the town of Gatlinburg, TN and the (also about 2 mile) Oconaluftee River Trail between the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and town of Cherokee, NC. Signs at all other trailheads remind people of the no-dogs-allowed rule, and violators face an $80 fine. Check out area National Forests for good hikes with dogs, instead.
Reviewed by CHL on 2/2/2012
Went on this hike for the first time last year on 12-14-2011. It is now one of my favorites. The view at the top is well worth the horrible trek (well for 3 out of shape 21 year olds). You think you hit a flat part, but no, you just keep going up. The side path was closed off so you are supposed to climb up the rock. We were a little hesistant on that, so we went up the side. I know we shouldn't but we didn't want to make it to the top just to miss out. It didn't help we had a friend that was afraid of heights and talked us out of it ha. All in all on of my favorites. Can't wait to go back this summer.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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