Iconic views in Great Smoky Mountains changed after fires

Published: Feb. 16, 2017 at 8:52 PM EST
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One of the most iconic views in Great Smoky Mountains National Park was changed after the deadly wildfires.

Chimney Tops Trail is one of four trails closed because of the fire. At the Chimney Tops peak much of the vegetation is gone, just leaving the rocks that extend into the sky. But up close the view is different because the rocks are chard, just like the dirt.

National Park Service is working on a plan to get parts of the trail reopened. National Park Service Spokesperson Dana Soehn says it will take years to get the entire trail open again. The last 200 yards is gone, the dirt is still moving and with every rain, ice and wind event more erosion is happening.

"So we want this to rest at least for a full cycle before we can envision how we might be able to construct some kind of a trail back to the face of this slope," said Soehn.

About 31 miles of the parks trails were damaged in Chimney Tops due to fire.

The first leg of Chimney Tops is untouched. Park rangers say when they can build a barrier to keep people out of the burn area, they will open the trail to an overlook near the top. They hope to have that completed by late Summer or early Fall 2017.