Favorite thing: The Chimney is actually a rock spire which is over 300 feet high. Its an unusual sight and one can't help but imagine what those who discovered it thought upon first sight of it. But, as Americans are wont to do, a park was built around this natural scuplture of sorts.
I really wanted to come to Chimney Rock during peak foliage, but that's often hard to do. Locals around here don't measure peak fall colors by the week, nor by the day, but actually by the hour!! They claim that there is an identifiable one hour window in which the leaves are at their most brilliant. I was there over the first weekend in Novemeber and apparently I missed peak by a week. The weekend before I really wanted to come but I had just returned from South America and I was completely worn out. As you can see, however, there were a few bright patches of red leaves and the weather was beautiful that day so I really enjoyed hiking around the park.
Incidentally, besides The Last of the Mohicans, there have also been a few other films shot here including Fire Starter with Drew Barrymore and A Breed Apart starring with Kathleen Turner and Rutger Hauer. And, of course, Dirty Dancing was filmed just down the road at Lake Lure.
Favorite thing: You'll notice the small strip (a quarter mile or so) of restaurants and shops that marks the small town of Chimney Rock just passed Lake Lure (it's actually called Chimney Rock Village). Right in the middle of that stretch, you'll see the entrance to the park that takes you over a bridge that spans a beautiful little stream where the water spills over the rocky river bed in foamy splashes.
After you enter the park, you'll wind your way up a narrow two-way road that takes you through a series of S curves up the mountainside to the ticket booth. It was $14 for adults to enter the park (as of November, 2003) and the person in the ticket booth will answer any questions you have about your visit. She also will hand you a trail map that has information about the park.
The park is open between 8:30am and 4:30 or 5:30pm depending on the time of the year.
Kids under 4 get in free.
Kids between 4-12 are $6.
Pets are allowed as long as they're on a leash.
There is limited handicap accessibility although a wheelchair can go up the elevator and enjoy the view, but it would be impossible to navigate the trails with a wheelchair.
Favorite thing: It's amazing to think of nature's patience in carving this cliffs and rock formations here in Chimney Rock. As you walk along the trails, don't be surprised if you see and feel some water splashing against you as it trickles down a mountain wall, particularly along the Skyline-Cliff Trail Loop just past Hickory Nut Falls. Some spots are wet, so be cautious as you make your way around the park.
Favorite thing: Chimney Rock Park is full of interesting rock formations, from enormous overhanging slabs of rock to giant stone canvasses rising flat against the hillside. The trails do not skirt the main sights, but actually take your right through them and give you a great up close and personal perspective.