Park to Open Chimney Tops Trail October 6
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials will open the Chimney Tops Trail to a newly developed observation point starting Friday, October 6, 2017. The entire trail has been closed to the public since the Chimney Tops 2 Fire event occurred in late November 2016.
“We are excited to complete the work on the Chimney Tops Trail in time for the fall color season in Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” said Acting Superintendent Clay Jordan. “We understand that many people have a strong emotional tie to the Chimney Tops Trail and its reopening has been a priority for moving forward in our recovery from the fire event.”
The extended closure of the trail allowed the park’s trail crew to design and develop a section of the trail which will provide a safe and sustainable gathering area for hikers to enjoy beautiful views of Mount LeConte and the Chimney Tops pinnacles. The top most 0.25 mile section of trail to the Chimney Tops pinnacles themselves, though, was heavily damaged by the fire and will remain closed until further notice due to the significant safety concerns that exist.
“While the upper section of trail and rocky pinnacles are not safe for visitors to explore at this time, restoring access to the trail allows us to enjoy the rehabilitation investment made to the trail by the Friends of the Smokies’ Trails Forever Program in 2014, and also ensures the Chimney Tops Trail will remain a destination for visitors to enjoy a true Smoky Mountain hiking experience,” added Acting Superintendent Jordan.
The funding for this trail project came through donations made by individuals from all across the country to the Friends of the Smokies’ Fire Relief Fund. This fund was established in response to the outpouring of public support to aid in the rehabilitation and repair of park areas impacted by the fire.
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.
For more information about the current park trails and facilities, please visit our website. https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm