|May 24, 2013|
- Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park comprises 1,000 acres in the furthest end of western Rutherford County, NC, 25 miles southeast of Asheville, NC in scenic Hickory Nut Gorge. Purchased in 1902 by Missouri physician Lucius B. Morse and his twin brothers Hiram and Asahel, the Park was privately owned and operated by the Morse family until 2007. The State of North Carolina purchased Chimney Rock as the centerpiece of Chimney Rock State Park which is under development in Hickory Nut Gorge.
- The top of Chimney Rock, a height of 2,280 feet above sea level, provides visitors a 75-mile view of Lake Lure, Hickory Nut Gorge and the Carolina Piedmont. The Chimney is actually a 535-million-year-old remnant of igneous rock. From the upper parking lot, visitors can reach the Chimney by the trail system or ride a 26-story elevator inside the mountain. The elevator opens into the Sky Lounge Gift Shop & Deli at Chimney level.
- Chimney Rock's trail system features five unique hiking trails, including one that leads to the bottom of 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in eastern America. The trails provide visitors an opportunity to see rare and indigenous plants, unusual geological formations and a variety of native wildlife.
- The Hickory Nut Falls trail winds through rhododendron and hardwoods to the base of the Falls. From the pool at the end of the Hickory Nut Falls trail, the Falls cascade another 900 feet before joining the Rocky Broad River at the floor of the Gorge. The trail takes approximately an hour round-trip. Note: The Hickory Nut Falls trail is currently closed for repairs due to major damage sustained in a rockslide and is not expected to reopen before summer 2013.
- The Four Seasons trail is a moderate-to-strenuous trail that begins at the upper end of the Meadows and climbs up – past hardwood trees, thickets of Carolina rhododendron and mountain laurel, a rich cove hardwood forest community, possible sightings of wild turkey and deer activity, and large rock formations before the trail joins the Hickory Nut Falls trail about 1/3 of the way out to the bottom of Hickory Nut Falls. This hike is approximately 1 mile in length. The large rock outcropping about 2/3 of the way up the trail offers not only a nice place to rest, but also a good place to listen to the many bird species found in the Park. Certain sections along this trail are being monitored and studied due to the sensitive nature of the plant communities. Therefore, it is imperative that the trail remain as undisturbed as possible.
- The Great Woodland Adventure trail offers an easy hike through lush forest, over a small marshy area, and past rhododendron and laurel thickets. This loop trail begins at the top of the Meadows and takes less than 30 minutes. Big kids, small tots and connoisseurs of the “leisurely stroll” love the Great Woodland Adventure. Woodland critters take the spotlight on this .6-mile journey past 13 discovery stations along the winding trail. Grady the Groundhog, the Park’s mascot, illustrates how his forest friends (like chipmunks, spiders, frogs, owls and butterflies) live. Larger-than-life sculptures bring the trail to life.
- The Classroom on the lower Meadows features framed native wildflower photography by Steven Faucette and is the setting for special programs and hands-on workshops throughout the year. Grady’s Animal Discovery Den, located on the upper Meadows, gives students and guests a hands-on experience with some of the animals that call the Park home.
- The Park’s Environmental Education Program includes guided nature and bird walks, slide presentations and nature talks by the Park’s Naturalist and Education Coordinator for groups by reservation. The pages of textbooks come alive during a visit to the Park. Park specialists offer field trips, homeschool programs, unique summer camps and scout programs. If you can’t bring your group to us, our specialists can bring an Outreach program to you.
- Through a partnership with Fox Mountain Guides, the Southeast's only AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) accredited guide service, guests of all ages and abilities can climb the rock faces of the Park. For those not ready to take on the actual cliffs, groups can arrange to climb our 32-foot climbing tower.
- The Old Rock Café located in Chimney Rock Village not only offers lunch and beverages overlooking the Rocky Broad River and RiverWalk, it also caters to weddings, reunions, school groups and bus tours in the Park. Some fun old photos of the “Rock” for which the Café is named can be found in the restaurant.
- With its dramatic scenery, the Park has become popular as a site for Hollywood film locations and backdrops for commercials. You may have recognized the Park’s cliffs in Atkins Power Bar and REI outdoor gear print ads. A Breed Apart, starring Powers Boothe; Firestarter, starring George C. Scott and Drew Barrymore; and the 1992 release of the epic film The Last of the Mohicans, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe, introduced Chimney Rock and its trail system to an international audience.
- Hickory Nut Gorge and the surrounding areas are gently touched by the four seasons. Located in the thermal belt, the Park is protected by the higher mountains to the north. Consequently the spring flowers occur earlier than in other mountain areas and the fall colors appear later, sometimes lasting well into the second week of November.
- Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park opens daily at 8:30 a.m., weather permitting, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. The Ticket Plaza closes at 5:30 pm Eastern Daylight Time and 4:30 pm Eastern Standard Time. The Park remains open 1½ hours after the Ticket Plaza closes. Seasonal hours take effect from December to March, when the Park is typically closed Wednesdays and Thursdays. For current rates and additional information, call 800-277-9611 or visit our Hours & Rates page.