Name: Chimneys Picnic Area
Picnic Sites: 68
Hours: Closes at 8:00 PM, April 30 – August 31; at sunset on other dates
Dates Open: April 1 – November 29, 2022
Directions to Chimneys Picnic Area
From Sugarlands Visitor Center: On Newfound Gap Road (US 441), drive 4.4 miles toward Cherokee. A brown park sign directs you to turn right onto the entrance road to Chimneys Picnic Area. Each picnic site has a designated parking space next to it.
Chimneys Picnic Area Description
Chimneys Picnic Area is one of the most popular places in the park to spend an afternoon picnicking. It is located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, right next to the West Prong Little Pigeon River.
The one-way paved loop road has picnic sites on both sides. Each picnic site is equipped with a heavy-duty grill and a picnic table, all inside a wood-framed gravel picnic area.
Chimneys Picnic Area | Gravel Picnic Site | Photo Courtesy TripAdvisor
Many of the 68 picnic sites are right next to the river, allowing you to enjoy the sights and sounds of the river as you picnic. On hot days, feel free to walk down and dip your feet into the refreshing, swift moving water.
The trailhead for Cove Hardwood Nature Trail, a short 0.8-mile lollipop trail, is accessible near the entrance to the picnic area. A stroll on this trail takes less than half an hour. If you are here just for the hike, parking for the trail is next to the trailhead.
When nature calls, and it will, restrooms are close by. Lower loop with pit toilet: April 1 – November 29; Lower and upper loops with flush toilets: April 15 – October 31. Flushable toilets and potable running water both are in the picnic area. Make sure you bring some toilet paper just in case the restrooms are out of stock.
Chimneys Picnic Area is an active black bear habitat. Black bears frequent the area and picnickers need to use safety precautions. Be sure to clean your picnic area well when you are finished, including the grill, table, and grounds. Do not leave any food behind and place all garbage inside the bear proof trash containers.
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Nearby Points of Interest
Chimney Tops Overlook is next to Newfound Gap Road less than a mile from the picnic area. Park the car and take a photo. Chimney Tops Trail has one of the best views of the mountains anywhere. It is a strenuous hike, but the payoff is fantastic.