One of North Carolina's most majestic natural wonders, Chimney Rock, overlooks Lake Lure and the Foothills with great splendor. Many people are familiar with the iconic Chimney Rock attraction, but this state park has a lot more to offer! The park contains many hiking trails with gorgeous scenery, a waterfall, a cave, and for the daring, rock climbing and rappelling walls.
At the time of my visit, the elevator was out of commission to get to the top. So the alternate way up is a hike up the Outcroppings Trail. It takes about 25 minutes to climb the 491 stairs to get to the observation area on top of the infamous 315 feet tall rock. It's guaranteed to give even the most fit a workout for the day. Don't worry though. There are several ways to the top and each have resting spots along the way that guarantee to make your climb more interesting. Spots like the Vista and Pulpit Rocks, the Grotto and the Subway.
Your climb to the top will not leave you disappointed. At 2,280 feet above sea level, the expansive views include a 75 mile view of Lake Lure, Hickory Nut Gorge and the surrounding areas. It is a breathtakingly beautiful sight.
Not enough of an adventure for you? Want more of a workout? Don't stop there. Continue your hike up the Exclamation Point Trail to the highest point of the park, which boasts an elevation of 2,480 feet! It is .7 mile round trip hike of stairs and trails, which will take you approximately 45 minutes to complete. The view is guaranteed to make your jaw drop! Make sure to stop along the way to take in more of the scenery at the Opera Box and Devils Head.
Keep in mind that this part of the park may be closed during inclement weather. Unfortunately, that was the case when I went. So if you really have your heart set on hiking to the top, call ahead or check the website for current conditions.
There are 3 other trails around the park.
The Hickory Nut Falls Trail is 1-1/2 miles round trip and takes about an hour to hike. This trail guides you to the bottom of a 404 foot waterfall, one of the tallest this side of the Mississippi, that was featured in the movie The Last of the Mohicans. It truly is a natural splendor.
Located in the Meadows, The Great Woodland Park Trail is a little over 1/2 a mile round trip and is perfect for families, especially those with small children. The park's ambassador Grady the Groundhog guides visitors through the area on a 15 to 45 minute walk with journal entries about the native wildlife in the area along the way. The kids love Grady's Animal Discovery Den where they can meet some of Grady's live animal friends.
The Four Seasons Trail also begins in the Meadows and is geared for those wildlife and wildflower lovers. It is a 1.2 mile round trip trail that can take 1 to 1-1/2 hours. This trail provides a moderately level hike, but is quite steep in some places. If you don't want to stop there, the trail leads to the Falls and/or the Rock, so you can continue your adventure.
After an action packed day in the park, be sure to stop in the village for some relaxation. It's like you've stepped back in time as you stroll, shop and eat along the river.
Be sure to check out my articles: Lake Lure: A Top NC Mountain Resort and The"Flowering Bridge": CommUNITY At Its Finest for more information about the area.
Any tips for the park? Please share below!
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