Chimney Rock State Park, NC

Chimney Rock State Park

Hiking to the top of the 535 million year old Chimney is just one of the fun hikes to take in family friendly Chimney Rock State Park.

Chris & Mac of Grey Otter Outventures

Chris & Mac
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Length:   Different for Each Trail
Trailhead(s):  Various along Chimney Rock Road
Elevation Gain:  Varies
Trail Type:  Out & Back
Dogs:  Allowed on Leash
Difficulty:  Easy/Moderate
Permit Required?  Yes – Daily Entrance Fees; Free Under Age 5; Some Discounts Available.
Considerations:  Weather
Season:  Year Round; Higher Elevations Best Accessed April-September.


Climbing to the top of the 535 million year old Chimney is just one of the fun hikes in family friendly Chimney Rock State Park.


There are six hiking trails in the fee based Chimney Rock Access portion of the Chimney Rock State Park.  Each has its own unique charm and showcases different aspects of the park.

Trails to and Above Chimney Rock

Hike Chimney Rock by climbing the 494 stairs of the Outcroppings Trail.  The climb on these stairs, which work their way up a vertical boulder field, takes about 25 minutes.  After exploring the top of the rock and admiring the views above the treetops, many continue upward on the Exclamation Point Trail.

The Exclamation Point Trail brings exceptional views looking down on Chimney Rock and Lake Lure.  The first fun feature of this trail is the Opera Box – a rock overhang with a narrow horizontal opening in the rock.  The views are wonderful, and keep coming as the trail climbs.  As you continue, look for Devil’s Head.  It is an evil looking head shaped rock perched on a ledge.

Upon reaching Exclamation Point congratulate yourself because you just climbed 1,400 feet!  Soak in the stunning long range views from here and either head back down or continue the adventure on the Skyline Trail.  A moderately strenuous trail, the Skyline Trail takes hikers further into the backcountry to see the headwaters of Hickory Nut Falls and breathtaking views of the Gorge.

For those unable to make the climb up to the top of Chimney Rock on the Outcroppings Trail, it is also accessible via a 26 story elevator.  Because it leads to a food service area, only service animals are allowed on the elevator.

Trails Below Chimney Rock

The rock itself is not all this area of the park has to offer.  Three trails below Chimney Rock are also well worth exploring to see and learn more about this special place.

The Great Woodland Adventure Trail is a short and educational kid friendly trail.  Because it features numerous discovery stations which teach about the creatures living in the forest, this trail is sure to engage the kids.  For something more, the Four Seasons Trail and the Hickory Nut Falls Trail are both moderately strenuous hikes which are also kid friendly.

Climbing roughly 400 feet over .6 miles through the forest, the Four Seasons Trail features fantastic boulders, natural plants, and wildlife of the park.  It terminates where it connects to the Hickory Nut Falls Trail.  Either hike back or continue on the Hickory Nut Falls Trail which runs along the Hickory Nut Gorge, showcasing its towering granite walls and leading to the base of the 400 foot tall Hickory Nut Falls.  Hikers on these trails are treated to gorgeous forest, the sights and sounds of birds and other forest creatures, and the sweet, delicate beauty of local wildflowers, some of which are rare or endangered.  Though kid friendly, the park recommends against bringing strollers or wheelchairs on the Hickory Nut Falls Trail.

Scroll down to learn about the GEAR WE USE and OTHER OUTVENTURES in this area.

Additional Information

Chimney Rock State Park Slideshow

(Click image to expand.)

Gear We Use for Day Hiking

To see descriptions of the gear Chris & Mac use for day hiking, as well as links to manufacturers and retailers offering the gear for sale, please CLICK HERE.

Hiking DuPont State Forest, North Carolina

Articles About Other Regional Outventures

Click below to learn about other regional outventures in this area.

SAFETY DISCLAIMER:  The activities discussed in this website are outdoor activities and, as such, have inherent risks to which participants are exposed.  It is not the intent of this website, nor is it possible due to the variability of weather, terrain, equipment, and experience, to detail all of those risks.  The information contained in this site is informational, but not instructive nor exhaustive.  It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure he/she is in good health, fully prepared, and fully informed as to dangers before undertaking any of the activities discussed in this website and the user does so at his/her own risk.  The user understands that by using this website he/she acknowledges and accepts all risks associated with use of information from this website and participation in any particular activity addressed herein.  Please see “Terms of Use” for additional information.

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