Hike the Chimney Tops Trail

The Chimney Tops Trail is one of the most popular trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park because of its length and spectacular views. The trail gains 1,400 feet in nearly 2 miles which makes for a steep climb, so be sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water. Please note, the final 0.25 mile section of the Chimney Tops Trail is closed to all public use. This includes the rocky ridge commonly known as the "manway" or the "backside of the Chimneys" and the summit is not accessible.

This top section of the trail to the Chimney Tops pinnacles was heavily damaged by fire. The upper section of trail and rocky pinnacles are not safe for visitors. Public use of this very steep route has resulted in numerous search and rescue operations, many of which involved the removal of injured persons by litter and one of which involved a fatality. This area is closed to preserve public health and safety and to preclude resource damage.

The trail begins by crossing rushing streams three times before ascending the side of the mountain. A steep climb over a rocky trail leads to a switchback, and the trail then follows along the side of Sugarland Mountain. A ridge offers a view of Mount Le Conte.

Trailhead: Drive 6.7 miles south from Sugarlands Visitor Center on Newfound Gap Road (or 22 miles north from Oconaluftee Visitor Center). Look for a large parking area on the west side of the road between the lower tunnel and "the loop".

Distance: 3.5 miles roundtrip

Trail Conditions: Elevation change of 1,400 feet, this is a steep, strenuous trail

NOTE: Pets are not allowed on this trail. The only two trails in the park that allow pets are the Gatlinburg Trail near the Sugarlands Visitor Center and the Oconaluftee River Trail near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Learn more about pet restrictions in the park.


The trail was recently renovated with the help of the Trails Forever program and volunteers. The Trails Forever program, a partnership between the park and the Friends of the Smokies, allows a skilled trail crew to focus on necessary trail reconstruction projects throughout Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Trail Map with Chimney Tops Highlighted
Trail map with the Chimney Tops Trail highlighted.

Last updated: June 1, 2022

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