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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
Permit Required? Yes – Daily Entrance Fees; Free Under Age 5; Some Discounts Available.
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.
HIKING CHIMNEY ROCK STATE PARK – CHIMNEY ROCK ACCESS AREA
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.
Chimney Rock State Park Slideshow
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