A Hike, Climb and Mountain Picnic
Just a 20-minute drive from Carr’s Cottages, the Chimney Tops Trail is the perfect place to spend the day. Since it is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Chimneys can get pretty crowded during the warm weather months. From Carr’s, you’ll be close enough that getting an early start will avoid big crowds on the trail. Pack a picnic lunch and head out! Wear hiking shoes with good support and take plenty of water to stay hydrated during the 3.8-mile roundtrip hike. You’ll want to allow a few hours to really enjoy your trek up the mountain and to spend some quality time soaking in the panoramic view that makes the steep end of the trail more than worth the effort.
The recent trail rehabilitation project added plenty of stone stairs to the trail and has improved accessibility. Simply put, it’s one of the best hikes around. Keep an eye out for the abundant plant life along the trail. Notably in May and early June, you can spot Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron. When you get to the top, you’ll get to see one of the few bare rock summits in the Smokies. You’ll find plenty of spots to climb around to get the full experience, but do be careful!
Once you’ve conquered the Chimney Tops Trail, travel to the Chimneys Picnic Area located a few miles north of the trailhead. This amazing picnic spot is absolutely beautiful and offers charcoal grills and plenty of easily accessible tables. (Park right at the table, so you don’t need to haul your coolers too far!) When listening to the rushing river, you’ll know you’ve found one of the most relaxing spots in the Park. Eat, read a book, or clamber around on the many massive boulders that stud the river. Splash in the cool mountain water and then flop on a nice, flat rock to dry off.
You can easily spend an entire day enjoying all that the Chimney Tops area has to offer. Actually, you may want to pack more than just a picnic lunch because once you arrive at the picnic area after your hike, you may have a hard time leaving. It really is all THAT! So, stay and play as long as you’d like; Carr’s will be waiting for you when you’re ready to call it a day.