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In 2005, the N.C. General Assembly authorized a new state park in the scenic Hickory Nut Gorge area of western Rutherford and the surrounding counties of Polk, Henderson and Buncombe. The unit was designated as Chimney Rock State Park shortly after the state had acquired Chimney Rock Park, a private nature park surrounding the striking 315-foot spire on the gorges southern side. The Chimney Rock area of the state park is operated by a private contractor and is open throughout the year. Entry fees offset the cost of operating this popular tourist destination. Currently, Chimney Rock is the only public access within the greater Chimney Rock State Park. However, the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation will eventually develop other areas of the state park with more traditional park facilities and recreation. The greater Chimney Rock State Park currently encompasses roughly 4,000 acres on both north and south sides of the gorge and expansion efforts continue to bring more of the gorges rich natural resources into conservation. Ultimately, a master plan for the entire park will be developed to fully protect the natural heritage and offer outdoor recreation options. Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park has been a tourist destination in western North Carolina since a simple stairway was built to the rocks summit in 1885. In 1902, Lucius B. Morse of Missouri bought the site. The Morse family developed park facilities including a tunnel and elevator to the rock summit, nature center and a network of hiking trails to geologic points of interest including the 404-foot-tall Hickory Nut Falls. Please click here to link to the site of Chimney Rock(www.chimneyrockpark.com)to plan your exploration of one of North Carolinas most unusual natural wonders. A park master planning public information session will be held on May 26 from 10am to 7pm. The drop-in planning session will involve a workstation format allowing people to attend at any time during the day and spend as much time as necessary to review and discuss design alternatives. Proposed design alternatives for the state park will be presented, and the public will be able to ask questions and offer comments to officials of the state parks system and Greenways Inc., a Durham-based environmental planning and landscape architecture firm responsible for completing the plan. Creating a world class state park at Chimney Rock has been and continues to be a partnership effort between the state parks system and the community, said Lewis Ledford, director of the state Division of Parks and Recreation. Chimney Rock State Park has benefited from strong support in the community, and its important that citizens continue to be involved in the process. A state parks master plan is essentially a blueprint for long-term development of facilities and recreation opportunities and a guide for protection of natural resources. It is meant to be an organic document, evolving as the park grows and as knowledge is gained about a parks natural resources and public use. Proposed designs also will be available beginning May 26 at www.greenways.com/chimneyrock. Written comments may be submitted through June 23 by using an online comment sheet or by mail to: General Management Plan Coordinator, N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, 1615 MSC, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1615.

hiking
3 days ago

I loved this quick hike so much I did it two days in a row. To party rock, it is about 900 ft elevation, I suppose, all within a mile. It is a good, fun climb. Once you see the abandoned car on the side of the trail (how it got there and how many years it has been there, I have no clue?!), you are almost to Party Rock. Take the left trail to the lookout. The views are wonderful. It is the best view of Lake Lure I have found without paying to go into Chimney Rock SP.

Closed. Frustrating to pay to enter the park and have half the trails, bathrooms, elevator and places to eat closed. Dont go in winter. . .

Short, easy, great rock features along the way. Well maintained. Falls are impressive. Must pay 13 dollars to access trail in Chimney Rocks Park. Parking just past trailhead.

Loved this....it’s reviving from the fire nicely... awesome please and the boulders are beautiful !! ❤️❤️❤️

Came here the day after Thanksgiving and parking lot was packed with rock climbers. Never made it on the trail because the ranger suggested we go somewhere else

Fun trail, well traveled with exceptional views. The stairs are all the work. Once you get to exclamation point it’s easy sailing to the top of the falls. The view of the falls is limited because you can only get but so close. It’s a great workout climbing those stairs so I will definitely be doing this one again, but I’m not sure if I’ll bother walking to the top of the falls next time.

great for hiking and climbing

It was foggy so views were not too good. The waterfalls were beautiful!!

Great views, only a few people there at 8 30 in the morning in September. the trail is easy to hike but the view of the falls and the gorge are very nice.

Moderately easy trail with some stretches of incline. No dramatic vistas. Would not recommend this trail unless you were planning on climbing the walls and boulders nearby. Still a pleasant hike on a beautiful day.

very enjoyable. we took the east to west loop. first part of trail each way was gravel.at the top the trail thinned out, one small stretch was a little dicey but, overall, an easy trail. We didn't see any waterfalls.

Absolutely incredible!

Beautiful waterfall! Nice light walk too.

Heavily trafficked, but awesome if you can stand being stuck behind a lot of people. The views were amazing!

lots of folks doing this one

Nice and easy hike. The climb up involves lot of stairs. I did the hike right before a storm in the morning and watching rain clouds from the top was truly rewarding.

Definitely a cool waterfall to check out.

Nice views. Lots of stairs but besides that the trail isn't bad.

This place was beautiful!! I am truly thankful I was able to make it to the top!! It was quite a difficult task due to nothing but stairs however there were plenty of places to stop and rest and also other people to help encourage you. I made it all the way up to exclamation point and it was WELL WORTH IT!!

Great hike

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