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Beat Those End-of-Summer Blues at Chimney Rock

At the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, find a destination unlike any other. Locals and travelers alike have enjoyed it for over 100 years. Nestled in Hickory Nut Gorge, the trails and views of Chimney Rock will elevate your vacation, no matter the season. 

Are you looking for ways to beat the end-of-summer blues? Chimney Rock is just a short drive from Asheville or a day trip from Charlotte and is surrounded by small mountain communities with no shortage of exciting summer activities. So, pack your water bottles and hit one of our six trails – each designed to add something unique to your experience. The 500-stair Outcroppings Trail will take you right to the top of Chimney Rock through a series of staircases and overlooks. Then, continue up to Exclamation Point to find yourself truly breathless, or follow the Skyline Trail through a ridgetop forest to the headwaters of Hickory Nut Falls. Young explorers and kids at heart will love the Great Woodland Adventure, a short, wooded stroll that introduces you to our native wildlife through interactive exhibits. Or make the moderate trek to the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls and cool off with the spray on your face.

Come in August and catch one of our Animal Encounter programs if you’re still hoping for some fun before school starts. Every weekday through the end of summer, meet some of our naturalists and live animal ambassadors as they help interpret the park’s native species. Come face-to-face with a groundhog or opossum and learn to identify a rat snake from a king snake. Then, take our 26-story elevator through the mountain and grab an ice cream cone from the Sky Lounge. 

The Fall season kicks off on September 17th and 18th with our premiere annual birding event: Flock to the Rock. Learn more about the nation’s fastest-growing hobby and meet striking birds of prey, including our raptor ambassadors. Participate in the annual migratory bird count and see eye-to-eye with a red-tailed hawk or a barred owl.

Leaf season in the mountains draws travelers worldwide as the trees perform their annual transformation. The cooler temperatures of October are a boon to leaf-seekers and hikers alike. The Four Seasons trail shows off where it gets its name to those bold enough to take the road less traveled, and views of Hickory Nut Gorge from Exclamation Point and the Skyline trail feature miles of fall color. Of course, four-legged friends are welcome to join the fun, too. Though the stairs pose a challenge for some canines, the Hickory Nut Falls trail is a favorite for dog owners.

The quaint shops of Chimney Rock Village harken back to a simpler time. Browse local crafts, grab some locally made fudge, or stroll the Rocky Broad Riverwalk. But, of course, no small town is complete without a classic roadside diner. The Old Rock Cafe sits right from the Chimney Rock entrance and is the perfect place to grab a post-hike burger and relax on the deck overlooking the river. Friendly service, weekly specials, and local favorites like warm Apple Brown Betty are a can’t miss.

We know that no one understands the need for an escape from the business of everyday life more than military families. Therefore, all active and retired members of the armed forces receive a discount on admission to Chimney Rock State Park when you buy tickets at the gate. We know it will be a vacation to remember whenever you visit the park. 

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