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Chimney Tops, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Categories: Geologic Formations, Hiking Trails, Nature & Parks, Outdoor Activities
Inspirock Rating:
4.9/5 based on 300+ reviews on the web
Chimney Tops is a mountain in the central Great Smoky Mountains, located in the Southeastern United States. It has an elevation of 4724ft above sea level,. It is one of the park's most recognizable geological structures and a popular hiking destination.Chimney Tops is a double-capstone knob on the eastern slope of the Sugarland Mountain massif. This massif stretches north-to-south across the north-central section of the Smokies. Mount Le Conte dominates the area immediately east of Chimney Tops, and Mt. Mingus rises to the north. Thus, while the view from the summit is 360 degrees, Chimney Tops is practically "walled in" on three sides.GeologyChimney Tops is one of the few instances of a bare rock summit in the Smokies. Over the centuries, the bedrock atop the mountain has been exposed through natural weathering of the upper layers of soil strata. This rock is mostly Anakeesta Formation metamorphic rock, especially slate, phyllite, and metasiltsone. The grainy, contorted capstones offer excellent footholds and handholds for climbing.Like most of the Appalachian Mountains, Chimney Tops was formed 200 million years ago when the North American and African plates collided during the Appalachian orogeny.HistoryThe Cherokee name for Chimney Tops is Duniskwalgunyi, or "forked antler", referring to its resemblance to the antlers of a deer. In the Cherokee legend "Aganunitsi and the Uktena", the captured medicine man, Aganunitsi, in exchange for his freedom, searches remote parts of the Smokies in hopes of finding the giant reptile, the Uktena, and seizing a powerful amulet from its forehead. In his quest, Aganunitsi searches distant gaps and peaks in the Smokies before he "went on to Duniskwalgunyi, the Gap of the Forked Antler, and to the enchanted lake of Atagahi, and at each found monstrous reptiles, but he said they were nothing."
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  • This 4 mile roundtrip hike was pretty difficult. There are lots of stairs. The trail traffic wasn't too bad, but there were definitely people who weren't prepared. Make sure to take plenty of water an...  read more »
  • This is a great hike close to Pigeon Forge--about a half hour in the early morning. The hike up is strenuous, and the climb up the rocks at the end is not for the timid or the faint of heart. Indeed, ...  read more »
  • The hike is about 4 miles roundtrip. We are not avid hikers so the hike up took us about two hours to complete. Once we reached the end of the hike I was a little hesitant for the climb, but I'm so gl...  read more »
  • This is a good hike. It is challenging but we'll worth it. I started out early in the morning and got to the top just as the sun was coming over. I think it would be tough to take little kids all the way up but I saw some families going up as I was coming down.
  • Hiked to the Chimney Tops on July 2nd with my wife and 12 year old son. We had a great time. As others said, there are a lot of steps on this hike but the view was well worth it. This hike will challenge you so be prepared and be sure to wear good shoes. If you plan on scaling the rock at the summit then I suggest good sneakers as the rocks are worn and slippery, even when dry. Sneakers seem to grip better than other types of shoes. The rocks at the top can be intimidating and you really could fall to your death if you fool around or don't pay attention but if you are careful and take your time it doesn't seem as bad and the view is a great payoff. Bring a camera and a walking stick!
  • Strenuous uphill hike! Short but steep and we'll worth the views. Be aware that you must be able to climb about 100ft of boulders at the top to see the view. No climbing gear is necessary but it is a little challenge to climb them. Would definitely do it again!
  • Wow, man, this is a great hike! Those last 50-100 feet are a doozey! You could actually plummet to your death but don't let that stop you (for legal reasons -- I must advise you not go). I weighed about 235 when I went with poor shoes and it was windy. I don't regret it -- and would do it again -- but wear good shoes and know how to get a hand hold on a rock before you conquer the last 100 feet.
  • I have hiked a lot of trails in the Smokies this was one of the shortest yet most rewarding. But please be careful it was also one of the most dangerous. Not for young kids or elderly I think.
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