Located an hour south of Asheville, Chimney Rock State Park is a haven for outdoor recreation. This 5,942-acre park offers scenic overlooks, rugged hiking trails, thrilling rock climbing areas, and more. It even hosts a variety of programs and events throughout the year! Perfect for visitors of any age, a trip to Chimney Rock is a must when you’re in North Carolina. Here are some of our favorite things to see there.
1. The Overlook
Chimney Rock, the 535-million-year-old boulder for which the park is named, is one of the most iconic sites in North Carolina. A trek to the top brings you 2,280 feet above sea level and provides 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. Don’t forget to bring your camera! The hike is considered intermediate and is kid-friendly. Chimney Rock State Park is one of the few places in the world with an elevator inside a mountain. The elevator has been around since 1947 and makes the trip to the top of Chimney Rock Overlook a breeze. Unfortunately, the elevator is currently of service due to power issues. Be sure to check the park’s website for regular updates!
2. Hiking Trails
Dust off your hiking boots! Chimney Rock State Park offers five scenic trails that vary in length and difficulty. Kids will love the Great Woodland Adventure Trail, which features locally-made sculptures and an Animal Discovery Den. For a more challenging trek, try the 0.6-mile Four Seasons Trail or the Hickory Nut Falls Trail, which leads to a 400-foot waterfall. Click here for a full list of hiking trails.
3. The Rumbling Bald Climbing Access
If rock climbing is on your bucket list, be sure to check out the Rumbling Bald Climbing Access. It’s the best place for rocking climbing in the southeast and offers world-class bouldering and multi-pitch climbs. New to the sport? Tours and lessons are available through Fox Mountain Guides. Visit their website to book a two-hour, half-day, or full day climb at Chimney Rock.
4. Annual Events
In addition to daily programs and workshops, Chimney Rock State Park hosts a number of family-friendly events each year. One of our favorites is “Santa On the Chimney”, where guests can watch as St. Nick bravely rappels down Chimney Rock. You'll enjoy live holiday music, hot cocoa, cookies, and more. It’s a great way to celebrate the holidays!
The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant
Nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains, The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant offers a rustic yet elegant environment. Guests of this Chimney Rock B&B enjoy amenities like king- and queen-size beds, private baths, WiFi, and more. You’ll even have access to an outdoor jacuzzi and spa. When it’s time to dine, visit The Esmeralda Restaurant and enjoy some of the finest food in Western North Carolina. The spectacular mountain views are just a bonus!
Lodge on Lake Lure
The Lodge on Lake Lure is situated at the entrance of Hickory Nut Gorge. Built in the 1930’s, this historic lodge offers sweeping views, comfortable guest rooms, and luxurious amenities. Take a canoe to explore the quiet coves, then return to the lodge for a glass of wine and dinner. It’s the perfect ending to a fun day in Chimney Rock!
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