Chimney Rock State Park, located in the Western Carolina village of the same name, is home to some of the most majestic mountain scenery in the state. The state park located just outside of Asheville and features several must-see attractions including the Skyline Trail, Hickory Nut Falls and of course, the Chimney Rock itself.
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Visitors from all over the world travel to Chimney Rock State Park each year to see the massive 315-foot granite monolith that it’s named after. The large outcropping, which is believed to be over 500 million years old, sits at an elevation of 2,280 feet above sea level. It overlooks Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure and offers amazing views that stretch for 75 miles in every direction.
To get to the top of Chimney Rock and enjoy its breathtaking views, you’ll need to follow the signs that lead you up a winding, three-mile road. Once you reach the large parking area at the top, you can out and climb the 500 steps to get to reach the Chimney. It’s quite a climb, but definitely worth it once you get up there!
If you enjoy hiking, there are several different trails at Chimney Rock to choose from, varying in difficulty from easy to strenuous. The aptly-named Exclamation Point trail begins at the base of the Chimney stairs and follows along the cliff, offering dramatic views of the surrounding scenery. Along the way, make sure to stop at the Opera Box and Devil’s Head before the trail ends at Exclamation Point, where you can enjoy spectacular views of the gorge below.
Skyline Trail, which begins at Exclamation Point, will take you on another 1.1 mile trek. The Four Seasons Trail winds through the forest and gives you glimpses of rare plants and wildflowers as you climb 400 feet in elevation. If you’re looking for something a little easier or are hiking with kids in tow, try the Great Woodland Adventure trail, a half-mile loop which features twelve discovery stations along the way with educational information about the park and the animals that live there.
One must-see hike at Chimney Rock State Park is the Hickory Nut Falls trail. This 1.5-mile trail is easy for all hikers as it’s wide and only has a few moderately-uphill sections. Although you can enjoy plenty of wildlife and flowers along this trail, the real treat is at the end of the loop. Here you’ll find the 404-foot waterfall called Hickory Nut Falls. This beautiful waterfall is one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River and was featured in the film, Last of the Mohicans. Although you cannot swim here, there is a picnic table to enjoy a meal while taking in the view.
Once you’re done enjoying the park, you can end your day at nearby Chimney Rock Village, located at the base of the park. Pick up a souvenir or two to take home with you at one of the quaint shops and then settle in for a delicious meal at the Old Rock Café.
Chimney Rock State Park: