Chimney Rock is one of North Carolina’s most majestic state parks offering spectacular views of the North Carolina Mountains as well as Lake Lure. Chimney Rock’s 75-mile views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure attract visitors the world over seeking that perfect picture in the mountains.
Chimney Rock’s numerous hiking trails and natural attractions offer the best of the mountains in one place. Hickory Nut Falls trail offers one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern half of the United States with its 404 foot falls. Hickory Nut Falls was so thought of that filmmakers from the movie The Last of the Mohicans staring Daniel Day-Lewis filmed the movie’s epic fight scene at the falls.
The park also offers a number of amenities including rock climbing instruction, a gift shop and numerous events including bird walks, dulcimer workshops, homeschool programs, and much more. In more recent years they’ve even helped provide the setting for a number of outdoor weddings at the Hickory Nut Falls and atop Chimney Rock.
Plan on getting to the top of Chimney Rock? It’s a three-mile drive up a winding road to a large parking area and an elevator ride to the top. Or just do what most choose to do and climb 500 steps to Chimney Rock.
Want to throw your boots on and give it your all on some of the park’s hiking trails? Check out these three great hikes:
Hickory Nut Falls Trail: An “easy” trail, hike the path to the bottom of the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls waterfall. It’s a 1.5-mile roundtrip in a forest setting with a handful of inclined hikes. Good for hikers seeking wildflower opportunities, birding and rhododendron. A great summer hike that leads to a cool falls.
The Outcroppings: Follow this network of stairs from the parking area to the Chimney. Along the way, check out the views from Vista Point. Strenuous with 500 steps, but all ages and fitness levels can enjoy the challenge with many places to stop along the way.
Skyline Trail: At the staircase leading up to the Chimney, find the beginning of the Skyline Trail. After climbing quite a few stairs, the trail levels out as you walk along the cliff with dramatic views. Stop at the Opera Box for great views of the Chimney and Lake Lure and continue up to see the Devil’s Head and end at Exclamation Point, the highest elevation at Chimney Rock, for breathtaking views.
Four Seasons Trail: Get your heart pumping on this short trail with a 400-foot elevation gain. The trail winds through hardwood forest, rhododendron and mountain laurel thickets and abundant wildflowers as well as rare and indigenous plants, some species not found along the Park’s other trails.
Great Woodland Adventure: This whimsical trail is perfect for kids and kids-at-heart. Twelve discovery stations along the ½ mile loop give a peak into the lives of the many animals that call the Park home. All sculptures were handcrafted by Western North Carolina artisans.