GSMNP -Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials will open the Chimney Tops Trail to a newly developed observation point starting Friday, October 6, 2017. Visitors hiking the trail must remain within the open section and not explore beyond the closed area at the trail’s termination due to significant environmental damage and safety concerns, said Park officials. The former trail past the closure point continues to slough off the side of the steep slope due to ongoing erosion of rocks and soil. Park staff will be monitoring the closed section of trail and the Chimney Tops throughout the upcoming season as rain, freeze and thaw cycles, and wind events continue to change the landscape. If in the future the ground is determined to be safe and stabilized enough for sustainable trail construction, the park will consider trail rehabilitation of this area.
Chimney Tops Trail is traditionally one of the most popular trails within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It provides a short, but steep climb through mature forested areas with multiple bridge crossings over rushing mountain streams and spectacular mountain vistas. With this reopening, visitors can continue to enjoy most of the trail. The entire trail has been closed to the public since the Chimney Tops 2 Fire event occurred in late November 2016. Photo of the Chimney Top pinnacle courtesy GSMNP.