Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, TN: Chimney Tops Hike

After a lovely picnic lunch in view of Chimney Tops, we decided to try hiking it For Real This Time. Last year we got a few hundred feet down the trail before having to turn around due to snow/general unpreparedness. This year we made it a little farther! But we still didn't make it to the top, so we have to go back next year to try again.


Chimney Tops is 2 miles each way. A 4 mile hike doesn't sound so bad until you realize that most of the time you are going to be going up.

We made it farther than the prior year in less than 5 minutes. (That should tell you how much snow there was here last year at the same time!) We were all wearing either hiking shoes or solid walking boots (unlike last year) and had anticipated going for a hike.




The next stream up, past the two first ones, is even better. This took us maybe 15 minutes to get to from the start of the trailhead.




About half a mile in (if even that) you will start realizing the hike isn't going to be easy. There are A LOT of stairs. I did not count, but it was easily in the hundreds.


Getting past the stairs will reward you with some nice views. These photos were taken just after Christmas Day, and look how gorgeous it is in December.









It took us somewhere around 45 minutes (plus or minus 10) to get to the halfway point, which is really not even halfway (.9 miles). We debated whether to turn around here (we were not hiking by ourselves) and decided to continue on. This was about the point where we started to see considerable more snow on the ground.





And a considerable amount of more stairs. I'm just going to show you a bunch of stair photos because that it all I saw for 20 minutes.





At this point we turned around. It was about an hour and a half into the hike and we still had another half mile or so to go (at least). The stairs were very slippery (no handrails in nature) and Eric was concerned that someone would get hurt (I think I have mentioned that I used to fall a lot?). We had promised Eric's mom that we'd be back from the hike by 4, and it was almost 3:30, so back down the mountain we went.





It took us approximately 40 minutes to get back to the trailhead parking lot from where we turned around. We needed to be very careful on the icy steps going down (going up wasn't too bad, actually) and saw a few people slip -- luckily no one got hurt, because there is no cell phone reception on this trail (plan accordingly). Even with the conditions, there were many other people on this trail. The trailhead parking lot was completely full when we started out (we had to park down the mountain a bit and walk up), with about 30-40 cars in the lot, plus another 15-20 or so parked on the sides of the road.

I'm glad we got to see more of this trail this year! I would love to finish it off and see the view from the top, since it promises to be gorgeous.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, TN: Chimney Tops Hike Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, TN: Chimney Tops Hike Reviewed by Maria on 10:00:00 AM Rating: 5

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