Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Chimney Rock Park, North Carolina
Recently, we traveled to Chimney Rock Park located 25 miles southeast of Asheville, NC, Chimney Rock Park is a "fee to enter" non-state park like Grandfather Mountain. This is a beautiful park and offers trails for the novice to the expert.
Privately owned, the state of NC has purchased Chimney Rock park and it is slated to close fall of 2007 for renovations and reopen in 2008 as an official North Carolina State Park.
Chimney Rock Park has one prominent feature and that is the "Chimney" rock formation. It is accessible via a trail or elevator and stairs. We drove up to the elevator access which is through a tunnel cut through solid rock, rode the elevator up to the gift shop and snack bar, walked out on the deck and over to the stairs up to the rock.
The views are spectacular of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure.
From here you can start hiking down the trail to the parking lots and hit all of the other points of interest along the way. Most of these points are rock formations and along the way is Hickory Nut Falls. The "falls" is a little stream of water shooting out and down about 400 feet. There are about 3.5 miles of trail up and down the mountain. Some of the stairs and other parts of the "trail" are a little dangerous and no doubt will be changed or closed when the state takes over the park.
The trail map provided at the park is cartoonish and we found it hard to follow.
It costs $14 per adult to enter the park. For the views and hiking, you can't beat the Blue Parkway which is close by and free. If you haven't been to Chimney Rock yet, we recommend you wait until it reopens as a state park.
How to get there from Asheville: Take Interstate 26 East toward Hendersonville. Get off at Exit #49A (Old Exit #18A - Bat Cave and Highway 64 East). Stay on 64 East for 15 miles and the Park entrance will be on the right.
For more info on Chimney Park, please visit http://www.chimneyrockpark.com/index.php