185 stairs up a rickety looking staircase (but very sturdy!) and you get to the top---if you are in Chimney Rock, make sure and see the Needle's Eye. $14 for adults and $6 for kids 6-15, under 6 free and admission includes parking and the elevator to the top of Chimney Rock.
8:30 -- 6PM.
luke lure is located a mile east of chimney rock village on US 64. this beautiful man made lake is a must see spot when visiting chimney rock. the town of lake lure has a public beach, boating and fishing opportunities, and a good selection of restautaunts and bars. for more information see my lake lure pages.
chimney rock park is chimney rock village's main tourist attraction. there are two options to get to the top of chimney rock. there are hiking trails or you can take an elevator to the top. for people of my advanced age i would suggest taking the elevator up to the top then walk down the trails back to the visitor center. on the trails you will see interesting rock formations, hickory nut falls, and the moonshiner's cave. chimney rock park is a fun thing to do and see when in the asheville area.
It's a 3 mile drive from Entrance & Exit area to the parking area. We visited Chimney Rock during the heatwave in August 2007. Perhaps if it had been a bit cooler we would have tried climbing up to the Sky Lounge, but we took the elevator. It is included in the $14 fee. After arriving at the Sky Lounge we walked out to the viewing area which is very nice. It was a little more comfortable there but there was no shade so we were in the sun the entire time we were there.
We did walk up to the Opera Box where we took the picture you see. From the Opera Box Devil's Head is also in view.
It was rather disappointing that it was too hot for any hiking. The valley area is really hot, and there was not much relief at the top of the monolith.
There are a bunch of trails in the park of varying degrees of difficulty. A short trail known as the Woodland Adventure is a good option for kids because it contains scupltures of different animals. The Skyline Trail connects Chimney Rock to Hickory Nut Falls and reaches the highest points in the park.
The falls are every bit as popular as the Chimney, if not more so. Hickory Nut Falls were made famous by their role as the location where scenes from Last of the Mohicans were filmed.
There are several ways to reach the falls. There is a trail from the bottom of the chimney which leads directly to the falls, a trail from the top which crosses a ridge and heads down to the falls and a separate trail which leads to them. The falls are not to be missed.
Unfortunately, I did miss them. After climbing to the top on a sweltering day (the heat wave caused temperatures in the valley to hit a possible record 100 degrees) I came down with heat exhaustion that Powerade just couldn't cure and had to discontinue hiking. This might have been a good day to use the elevator instead of the stairs. But make sure to include a stop at Hickory Nut Falls on your visit to Chimney Rock. And, when you do, please send me a picture.
There are two ways to get to the top of the chimney. One is by a high speed elevator which will get you to the top in less than a minute. But, if you do that, you'll miss the great views and side trails leading to the overlooks along the way. Of course, you could just walk down and catch these sights, but, if you're like me, getting there really is half the fun.
Chimney Rock can also be reached by climbing a series of steps. The sign at the bottom says it will take about 20 minutes, but this is not a race. There are a couple of short sidetrips which lead to viewing platforms where you can see Lake Lure, Asheville and Chimney Rock above you. There is also a cave where you can stop and rest and check out the view while enjoying the shade. The trail also connects with the Skyline trail and the trail to Hickory Nut Falls.
You can take a thirty second elevator ride to the top of the rock, or you can take a 20 minute hike to the top, it's up to you. Sometimes when it's crowded, I guess it's better to just take the hike, but when we went there was no line.
Once you get to the top, there's a little cafe and gift shop, and then there's the AMAZING VIEW. I've been to Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain, but I think this view tops those.
Just be careful to hold your little ones close.... it's very windy at the top and it's probably not safe for them.
I love waterfalls, and this one was beautiful. Supposedly the end fight scene in "The Last of the Mohicans" was filmed at the top of this waterfall, although I couldn't tell that from down below.
The waterfall is 404 feet, and you can reach the bottom by hiking the Hickory Nut Falls trail.
There are at least 5 trails at this wonderful park. We took the lower trail, the Hickory Nut Falls trail, because that's just where we were heading. That trail takes you to the bottom of the waterfall. But there are other trails that take you to the top. I can only imagine the views you might find there!!!!
Our trail took about a half hour to hike one-way... and it was moderately strenuous. But some of the other trails are a lot longer. If you do this in the summertime, it might be a little harder with the heat, but it was great in the cool March air.
One of the highest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River, Hickory Nut Falls tumbles 404 feet down the mountain in a single, elegant vertical swoon. When I was here, I had recently returned from South America where I was visiting one of the most amazing sights I've ever seen in Iguacu Falls, but that didn't stop me from appreciating the subtle beauty of this graceful stream plummeting off the edge of this cliff.
As you're walking along the Skyline-Cliff Loop Trail, you will be anticipating the view of Hickory Nut Falls. You'll probably even start to hear the water as you approach and will catch glimpes of it between the trees as you walk along the trail. However, don't let that prevent you from enjoying the smaller falls that lead up to the main one.
Another interesting formation along the Skyline Trail is the Devil's Head. God certainly has created a beautiful park here, but maybe he allowed the devil to get in on the act and form this interesting rock. The shadow in my picture is a bit annoying, but then again, shouldn't evil incarnate be cloaked in darkness?
Along the Skyline Trail very close to the Chimney, you'll see this interesting slit in the rock that has been named The Opera Box. It's not only interesting to geologists. It also provides amazing views to the Chimney and out over the valley below.
I imagine that the valley containing the river and Chimney Rock Village would be even more spectacular during the peak foliage, but it was still beautiful when I was there. Fortunately for me, Chimney Rock is only a 90 minute drive from my house, so I'll be back.
In order to get to the park from Charlotte, take I-85 South toward Gastonia and then take Exit 10 toward King's Mountain. This will be Highway 74. You'll be on this road for around 45 minutes and then you'll take Exit 167 (there are signs for Chimney Rock/Lake Lure). This will take you to Highway 9 where you'll go about 14 miles and then you'll end up at a stop sign right in front of a big sign that says "Welcome to Lake Lure". Hang a left and follow this road (Hwy. 64/74A) about 4 miles to Chimney Rock Village. The park entrance will be on your left.
For directions from other nearby locations, go to www.chimneyrockpark.com/visit/rates/directions.php