Chimney Tops Trail offers rhododendron in bloom, more than 650 constructed stairs and scenic views

July 19, 2023

hikers on Chimney Tops Trail

The Chimney Tops Trail provided a hiking challenge and beautiful weather for the June Classic Hike of the Smokies. Sixteen hikers made up the group, with a few who were first timers for the Classic Hike series.

FOTS hikers - Chimney Tops Trail, June 2023
The Chimney Tops Trail hikers posed for a group photograph. Photo by Linda Spangler

Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel in bloom provided splashes of color along the waterway and the trail.

Bridge on Chimney Tops Trail
Several bridges provide crossing of Road Prong Creek. Photo by Linda Spangler

The trail gains 1,400 feet in two miles and has more than 360 rock stairs and more than 290 locust log stairs.

The Chimney Tops Trail provided the hikers with the opportunity to see the skilled restoration work completed by the Friends of the Smokies Trails Forever crew. The Classic Hike of the Smokies series funds the Trails Forever crew, which restores popular trails in the park.

The group stopped at the viewing platform at the top of the trail to enjoy the view and have a snack before hiking down.

Burnt top of Chimney Tops
The top of Chimney Tops Trail is closed to hikers due to the damage caused by the 2016 Gatlinburg Fire. Photo by Linda Spangler

As one of the most popular trails in the park, hikers need to plan ahead to secure parking by arriving early in the morning or utilize one of the shuttle opportunities offered by authorized providers. Learn more here.

Register For Classic Hikes

Trails Forever logo

The Classic Hikes are the second Tuesday of the month, March through December, with hikes of different levels of difficulty. Each hike features special elements of the Smokies, from wildflowers to historic buildings to waterfalls to mountain views. A member of the Classic Hike Advisory Team leads the hike.

The next Classic Hike is the August 8 hike to Schoolhouse Gap.

You must register prior to the hike.

Step 1: Review the Classic Hike of the Smokies Waiver here.
Step 2Register for your hike(s) and submit payment.

After completing registration, you will receive an email the Friday before the hike with directions, and more information. All hikes begin at 9 a.m. The cost is $20 for members and $35 for non-members.

Many of this year’s Classic Hikes are part of the 100 Favorite Trails Challenge. Charlies Bunion = #27, Chimney Tops = #22, Deep Creek Waterfalls Loop = #18, Hemphill Bald from Polls Gap = #37, and Smokemont Loop = #28.

Trails Forever Improves GSMNP Trails

Proceeds from the Classic Hike series benefit Trails Forever. The Trails Forever Crew has restored Alum Cave TrailRainbow Falls TrailTrillium Gap TrailAbrams Falls TrailChimney Tops Trail and Forney Ridge TrailRamsey Cascades Trail is the crew’s current project.

Special Thanks To Our 2023 ‘Classic Hikes Of The Smokies’ Sponsors: