Chimney Rock, NC Vacation

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock, North Carolina, offers 5 hiking trails, rock climbing, and magnificent mountain views spanning over 70 miles.

Chimney Rock, North Carolina, is located between the town of Bat Cave and Lake Lure. Chimney Rock State Park has five trails featuring wildlife, waterfalls, guided rock climbs, and endless views of Lake Lure and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

History of Chimney Rock

Doctor Lucius B. Morse, made the journey to Chimney Rock due to being diagnosed with tuberculosis. He was taken away by the view. So taken by the beauty of the area, he purchased 64 acres in 1902. Over the years, and much exploring, the park expanded to almost “1000 acres.”

In 1916, after opening the bridge to cross “The Rocky Broad River,” the bridge and entrance were destroyed by flooding. A new bridge and “stone gatehouse” replaced the old bridge, but the bridge was replaced in 1984.

The stairs leading up to Chimney Rock were designed and built by a local named, Guilford Nanney. He also helped develop the Hickory Nut Trail. Since a number of people did not seem to enjoy climbing the stairs, an elevator was put in and completed in 1949, along with a Sky Lounge and gift store. The lounge burnt in 1981 but reopened brand new in 1982. Today, the Lounge and elevator are closed for repair.

Over the years, professors and botanists, and experts have studied the Park and make the park even safer and protected. In 1992, a Nature Center was opened, and in 1999, the park’s elevator celebrated its 50th anniversary. In 2006, the Morse family sold to the State. Thanks to the family’s dedication and love for the area, the park has become and still is one of the most beautiful areas in the Southeast United States.

Chimney Rock Trails

Great Woodland Adventure Trail is perfect for families with young children. This trail is dedicated to educating children about the wildlife and plants of Chimney Rock. The trail is .6 miles and has a “critter center” at the entrance.

Four Seasons Trail is medium to hard and will guide visitors to a variety of flowers not found in other areas of the park. It is .6 miles and is most definitely a nature trail. The trail does live up to it’s name. In the winter flowers and plants are not as abundant (but the snow is lovely), in the spring, flowers are blooming, out in full in the summer, and the trail turns into an autumn paradise in the fall full of color and life.

Hickory Nut Falls Trail is a must-see for any visitor. This trail is 3/4 mile long and offers a variety of trees (hickory, maple, beech, to name a few). The highlight is the 404-foot waterfall, and this is great to hike in the fall when the sun is glowing on the leaves and reflecting on the waterfall.

The Outcropping Trail begins at the top parking lot, goes to the famous Chimney Rock stairs leading to the rock. After climbing the stairs to the rock, take a few minutes to sit down and admire the view (especially if visiting in the fall). When ready, go on to see “Devil’s Head” and “The Opera Box.” (please note: families with children need to observe children at all times and do not get to close to the edge or push on the fence).

Exclamation Point Trail is strenuous and takes visitors to the highest point in the park. At the top, sit down and rest with the view of Hickory Nut Gorge. On the way down, take pictures of Chimney Rock and other incredible views before reentering Outcropping Trail (note: there are slip rocks, be careful and do not run).

Be sure to take water, snacks, and wear comfortable clothes and tennis or hiking shoes. Always practice safety first.

Visit Chimney Rock

Admission to the park is free for children 6 and under, $6 for youth (6-15), and $14 for adults. Admission includes parking and all activities in the park. Take some extra money for gifts and food. If purchasing a ticket after 4pm, hold on to the receipt because it is good for the next day.

As far as restaurants, the best thing to do is go back out of the park to Chimney Rock Village just outside the gate) or pack snacks or sandwiches. Chimney Rock Village is perfect for those looking for souvenirs, and be sure to try the fudge shop. Prices are fair at all restaurants and shops, and it is a great experience to eat dinner next to Chimney Rock.


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