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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.

Nice spot, but it can be a bit crowded. There is a fee to get in, but it's reasonable especially considering all the other things you can do in the park. Waterfall is alright.

Went on this trail recently, on a Sunday. It was heavily traveled that day. There are a good many steps along the way, a decent incline, through the forest toward the trail that will take you to the 400 ft waterfall, that is gorgeous. Just hang a right at this trail's conclusion, and a 15 minute, easy walk, will take you to said fall, which was featured in The Last of the Mohicans movie. My husband, 2 dogs, and I had a blast.

Best views from the top of Chimney Rock (where the flag is). All wood steps to the top. Continue on the stone steps to exclamation point for views of the Gorge. If you want to continue further Skyline trail (dirt path) will take you another 2 miles to the top of the waterfall. The hardest part of Chimney Rock are the 500 steps to the flag pole, another 300ish to Exclamation Point. Elevator is back in service. Weather will cause trail closings. Call ahead...Park is known to have trails down without notice and still charge full price.

Not much of a trail, all man-made stairs. Beautiful view at the top, though.

12 days ago

Beautiful overlooks in several places. Parking is limited at the end of the road.
Carpool if you have several people. Park at the end of The World's Edge Road, but be aware that parking is very limited. There is a private residence up to the right so do not block their driveway/gate. Begin your hike by going through the leftmost gate, and continue straight until you reach the first view less than half a mile in. Side trails extend in several different directions from the first overlook, so explore at your own discretion. There is a small trail about 60 feet to the east (left if looking at overlook) that leads to a very photogenic spot.

Beautiful hike to beautiful falls. Kids made it easily

24 days ago

Loved this trail, some areas that you would definitely need to keep an eye on kids. No rails and some very steep drop offs along the way. Love the waterfall, and the fact you could enjoy getting in so I would bring a towel, swimming attire, and water shoes. Be in the look out for snakes seen 2 the day we hiked. Overall LOVE this trail!

Nice clearly marked trail. Can see dramatic evidence of the 2017 forest fires. Bolder fields are interesting. The stairs to the top can be treacherous when wet. Overall a very pleasant experience.

1 month ago

Go anywhere else in the state if you want to see waterfalls. We were shocked to find out that the fee is $15 per adult and $7 per child just to enter the park.

Fees are set by a private company that the state lets manage the park. As far as we can tell, it’s the only state park in NC with such fees.

Want a better waterfall hike that won’t cost an arm and a leg? Check out upper Bradley Falls, which is fee and a lot closer to Asheville.

Really nice climb out and back. Gorgeous waterfall and the kids took a dip in the pools at the waterfall base. Beautiful! We took the connector trail down to the parking lot...it was a great little hike. Lots of stairs going down.

This short hike which is mostly comprised of stairs will take you to the top of the Chimney rock. Best views though can be seen from the Opera box and the Devil’s Head which are only a few extra stairs away. As of May 2018, the elevator is still out of order.

A. This is after you’ve hiked to Chimney rock. Not vice versa.
B. It’s not a hike. It’s 99.99% stairs with maybe 50’ in total of dirt.
C. View is beautiful.
E. Elevator still broken.

Short easy hike to a spectacular waterfall! Wish I’d planned better and brought a picnic!

First, we took the Outcroppings trail - the view from chimney rock is great. Beware, it is literally pure stairs (I personally don't consider that a "hike"). It is also extremely windy up there (at least, it was today). We went on to the exclamation point trail, which led to exclamation point. Another nice view, but again, almost entirely stairs - not real "hiking" for me. From there, we took the skyline trail. Finally, we were off wood stairs and on the ground. Peregine's point from this trail allows for a beautiful lookout. The end of the trail is totally underwhelming - you can see some little waterfalls through the trees. If I did it again, I would turn around at Peregine's point, personally. Overall, not a bad trip, but I probably would not visit again.

Took my husband and 3 dogs. The "hike" was almost entirely stairs (not a real hike to me). You're basically trapped on the stairs and it's pretty heavily trafficked. The view was cool. Overall a nice experience, but I wouldn't do it more than once.

Very cute and a achievable trail. My 4 yr old loved every second.

Skyline is hardly worth the walk, and our least favorite in the park (id rate it a 2 out of 5 for “ worth it “ points) . That being said, exclamation point is very pretty and worth the extra effort!

Great view. Heavily trafficked.

Went in the early spring, 70 degrees and sunny. Trail is well maintained with lots of gravel. The falls are beautiful. Had it been a little bit later in the season we would have all tried to get in. Tip: bring a towel so you have the option to go in.

Nice gradual climb to massive cascade-type waterfall. Definitely best to come in the spring or after a good rain; otherwise the waterfall will be a waterdrip. Good hike provided you did not already use up all of your energy climbing to Chimney Rock.

Only way to get to Chimney Rock right now because the elevator is closed. 0.6 miles, almost 1000 stairs, and every bit as hard as it sounds. Still very popular: lots of families and tourists come here. Beware the $15 entrance fee. Many viewpoints near the top, and all of the views are fantastic. Worthwhile if you are physically able to make the climb.

3 months ago

No trailhead, no blazes, but the trail is well worn and easy to follow. Very rocky, very steep ascent but the view is great. No water source until the near the top. It took us 30 minutes to get to the old car.

4 months ago

Definitely strenuous but rewarding view at the end. The trailhead is not well marked and not much parking at the trailhead but overall we all enjoyed it

5 months 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

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