We were determined to hike the Chimney Tops Trail during our anniversary weekend. For years we've been saying "someday," but this is really not the kind of trail you hike with young kids. OK, a few people were hiking this with their under-12 kids, but I would have been terrified that one of them would fall off the edge somewhere.
"Two miles into the hike, you will be able to see the chimneys themselves. Care should be taken as you follow the path to the right that leads to the top. Here you can see Mount Le Conte to the east, Mount Mingus to the south, and to the west, a steep wooded side of Sugarland Mountain. Injuries have occurred in this area, as there is a hole large enough to fall into, so take precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe."
"Despite the obvious risks, even the upper end of Chimney Tops trail is worn smooth in places by the hoards of hikers willing to risk life and limb to experience "the chimneys." Why? Adventure perhaps? Or perhaps the urge to explore the chimneys for themselves? Perhaps others go simply to be edified by the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, while others go to enjoy the abundant beauty of the old growth forest and flora to be found there."
"Although only two miles in length, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park trail to Chimney Tops requires strength and caution. Nevertheless, due to the excellent views available from this trail, as well as abundant wildflowers, streams and large trees, many feel a hike up to 'the chimneys' is well worth both effort and risk."
I was utterly exhausted after the hike, but it was worth every excruciating step.
(Quotes from GSMNP.com)