Some days you just need to get away to the mountains for a good hike. That’s exactly what my husband and I did and we had the perfect weather and fall colors. We spend our morning on one of our favorite trails in the Smokes, The Chimneys.
It’s been several years since we’ve been on the Chimney trail. The last time we did this hike we took our two kiddos who were 3 and 8 and the time. This is not an easy trail as it is a mostly uphill. You have to climb numerous stairs to get to the mountain ridge to the view.
It is currently a 1.75 hike to the top. 2 years ago there was a major wildfire that started at the top of the Chimney Tops. Because of the damage from this massive fire, you can no longer access the cliff tops to see the 360 view from the top. 2 years later the damage is still very apparent. You can see exactly where the fire spread down the mountain and it will take many years for the mountain to recover.
After the fire the national park service worked hard to reopen the Chimney trail. It is one of the most popular trails in the Smokies and they wanted to give the visitors a nice place to visit. They redid the stairs leading up to the top of the mountain. These new stairs are much easier to climb, but still very strenuous. Pace yourself on the stair and bring good trekking poles and plenty of water.
Since you can no longer get to the cliff tops, the national park created a great lookout point at the end of the trail. You still get a great view and a comfortable place to sit and relax before you make your way back down the mountain.
I’m still sad that our hike isn’t quite the same. But I’m very thankful for the work the national park service has put into making sure this trail is still accessible. If you decide to make this hike, please heed the warnings and don’t go past the barriers to get to the cliff top. It is closed for a reason as the park service does not think it is geologically sturdy enough for the climbing hikers used to do. Stay safe on the trails. The rules are there for a reason.