The Chimney Tops trail on the Tennessee side of the Smokies is a popular one with good reason. This is actually the most crowded trail we’ve been on in a long time. The peaks are quite noticeable from the Tennessee side of the park near US 441.
The trail is about 2 miles with something like 1300 feet of elevation gain. It’s a constant climb although there are some very scenic river crossings along the way. There are good views of Mount Mingus and Mt. Le Conte. The highlight of this trail though is the finale which is a rock climb to the top. There are signs warning of this at the trailhead but they don’t really show off the exposure of this rock face. Near the summit it becomes apparent just how much prominence there is to the west.
Probably less than 20% of people hiking up the trail actually climbed to the top. The views are good although honestly they aren’t all that much better than other nearby peaks. There were about 10 other people on the summit which is relatively close to capacity. It does feature 360 degree views but it isn’t a very large area and there are couple of very exciting crevices to avoid.