The Chimney Tops are a rock outcrop near Newfound Gap on the Tennessee side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The hike and climb to the top is strenuous, but the views are fantastic and the climb up is really fun if you're not afraid of heights. The trail starts from the parking lot on Newfound Gap Road (US-441), immediately crossing a bridge over West Prong of Little Pigeon River and then begins heading up along Road Prong. There are a couple of footbridges across the creek with views of some nice cascades along the creek. The trail is all uphill with many stairs, but after about a mile, it gets really steep, gaining 1400 feet in 2 miles, much of that in the second mile. Finally the trail levels off a bit as it heads along a ridgeline to the Chimney Tops. The trail ends at the base of Chimney Tops, but for the best views, you'll have to climb to the top. This is definitely not hiking; you'll be going almost straight up. Luckily, there are plenty of ridges and grooves in the rock face to act as footholds and handholds. I would not recommend this climb to people who aren't in good shape or who have a fear of heights. Looking over the side of the rock face, it's a long way down. But the views at the top are fantastic and the climb is a lot of fun if you like rock climbing (without the ropes and belay). Going down was actually easier than I expected with a combination of butt-sliding and stepping down between the ridges. Be sure to always have at least one foot and one hand secured before taking steps up or down.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.