Chimney Tops Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains! This hike has been on my bucket list for a few years and truth being told…I was a little apprehensive about completing this hike. The words “chimney” and “tops”….clearly this implies UP…and nothing but UP. Only 4 miles round trip – piece of cake…one would think, right? states this is a “moderate” hike….but what you’ll miss if you don’t read the WHOLE description…last line:

Novice hikers should also note that the Chimney Tops Trail is a very strenuous hike. Although it’s rated as moderate, due to its relatively low mileage, it’s actually much more difficult as a result of its extreme elevation gain.

We are not novice hikers….and this was STRENUOUS to the max! Several times, between climbing the actual mountain to rock climbing to the “summit”, I was sure I was knocking on deaths door! And when I say “rock climbing”…yes…literally climbed a rock formation….hands, feet and knees crawling up and away.

Highlights include:

  1. There is no way we can do that!
  2. We are insane!
  3. Clearly the oxygen has left our brains!
  4. This is the craziest thing we have ever done!
  5. What were we thinking?
  6. There is no way we can do that!
  7. We are insane!
  8. Clearly the oxygen has left our brains!
  9. This is the craziest thing we have ever done!
  10. What were we thinking?

And repeat…because that is the conversation we had before, during and after mountaineering the death defying climb up the scariest summit I have ever encountered (well…maybe the only one I’ve ever encountered…but you get my drift!!).

After all of that…would I do this again? Once we were safely back down to ground level and my legs finally stopped shaking (not joking!)…I would have to say that was one of the most amazing, exhilarating, and miraculous (because it’s truly a miracle I did it!) experiences of my life. With that being said…yes…I would climb this crazy hike again…but I probably need a year or two before attempting again….not sure my nerves could handle it again anytime in the near future!