This Year, See Vacation Differently


The view from the Sky Lounge bridge is breathtaking.

It’s a fast-paced world, and no one understands that better than military families. This year, slow down for your time off and experience a place like no other. 

At the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, tucked inside Hickory Nut Gorge, Chimney Rock stands 315 feet tall, ready to introduce you to spectacular views and incredible memories. Chimney Rock has been a well-known and well-traveled North Carolina attraction for over 100 years.

Now, with 13 years as a state park under its belt, there’s more ways than ever to see the Park differently. New stairways and railings have brought new views and new access to the classic Park spots. Stay in shape with the ultimate stairmaster – our 500-stair Outcroppings trail to the top of Chimney Rock. Take a more moderate stroll through the forest and wonder at the incredible drop of Hickory Nut Falls, the tallest waterfall in any North Carolina State Park, and feel the mist in your face from the famous landmark. Bring the kids for a full family experience and explore the Great Woodland Adventure trail or visit our Animal Ambassadors at the Animal Discovery Den.

Though summer sees large crowds come from all over the world to experience what Chimney Rock has to offer, the cool weather of autumn sets a different tone in the Park. Come in August and take an ice cream cone to Lake Lure Lookout, or wait a few months and seek out a different view. The striking beauty of leaf season in the mountains brings outdoor enthusiasts to explore the transforming landscape, and as the seasons change so do the ways visitors engage with the mountain. Maybe it’s the perfect time to check out our birding event, Flock to the Rock, or our kid-friendly Halloween Event, Tails of the Trail. Maybe it’s just an opportunity to enjoy the peace and quiet that nature has to offer as we move toward winter. Whether you’re experiencing Chimney Rock at the tail end of summer vacation or into the cooler months, each season offers a different way to see the Park.

The Hickory Nut Falls trail is family friendly and ends with a stunning view.

If you’re a hiking enthusiast, late summer and autumn are great times to explore the six hiking trails the Park has to offer. Exclamation Point Trail and our new Skyline Trail offer views that will stop you in your tracks… or make you want to keep going to see more. As the leaves change, Four Seasons Trail shows off what it’s named for and gives those guests who choose to take the road less traveled an experience worth the effort. If you’re looking for a different route to incredible sights, take a ride in our famous elevator to reach heights near the top of Chimney Rock itself. From there it’s a short climb to the very top, or simply enjoy the view from our observation deck, accessible to everyone.

No road trip is complete without a visit to a classic roadside diner, like Chimney Rock’s own Old Rock Cafe. There you’ll find friendly service and great food made from fresh, local ingredients. Don’t miss the weekly hand-pattied burger specials or their signature dessert, Apple Brown Betty. Enjoy your meal on the riverside patio and see if you can spot a different view of the Chimney.

Fall color surrounds Chimney Rock and Lake Lure from late-October to mid-November.

With a prime location just a short drive from Asheville and Hendersonville, nestled among small communities like Bat Cave, Lake Lure, and Gerton, there’s so many ways to plan the getaway you’re looking for with Chimney Rock as the centerpiece. Attend a local wine tasting, shop in Chimney Rock Village or spend your time fishing in the Rocky Broad River. Take the family on an adventurous zip lining excursion or kick back on a boat tour of Lake Lure. If we haven’t tired you out yet, make sure to ask about the other numerous hiking trails in the Gorge including Rumbling Bald and Eagle Rock. And 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. However (and whenever) you see the Park this year, we know it will be unforgettable.


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