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Chimney Tops, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

(4.8/5 based on 340+ 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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The Chimney Tops are impressive rock formations found on the Tennessee side of the Newfound Gap road. They cannot be hiked now because the trail is closed due to fire damage. The fire (human caused) s...  more »
  • We didn't hike this but came into the area. So sad all the fire damage, but glad to see the new growth. Area looks so different, but cannot wait until it is back looking beautiful again  more »
  • This hike was well worth the effort. It was a solid 2 hrs straight up and not for the completely out of shape. Our group was not in ideal shape, but made the trek with lots of stops along the way (dri...  more »