Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have extended the Chimney Tops Trail closure through December 11 to fully complete the 3-year trail rehabilitation. The trail will continue to be closed each Monday through Thursday as workers complete the full-scale rehabilitation. The trail is open Friday through Sunday each week offering hikers a unique opportunity to see improvements taking shape along the trail.
“We appreciate the patience and support of hikers during the restoration of Chimney Tops Trail,” said Acting Superintendent Clay Jordan. “The highly-skilled Trails Forever crew, along with volunteers, have accomplished an amazing feat by turning a heavily eroded trail into a durable trail that will better protect delicate trailside resources and serve visitors well into the future.”
The combination of heavy use, abundant rainfall, and steep terrain turned the Chimney Tops Trail into a badly eroded obstacle course of slick, broken rock, exposed tree roots, and mud. Since April 2012, The Park’s Trails Forever Crew has been rebuilding the trail using durable stone and rot-resistant black locust timbers that will stabilize the trail for decades to come, reducing annual maintenance and greatly improving the visitor experience.
Trails Forever is a partnership program between Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Friends of the Smokies who donated $500,000 to carry out the project on Chimney Tops Trail, and the generosity of the Knoxville based Aslan Foundation.