Activities at Chimney Rock State Park
Posted on 08.27.12
Story by TAYLOR SASSER | Photos by EMILY FOLEY
We have covered a variety of great outdoor escapes and fun activities this summer and it won’t slow down as we approach fall in the mountains.
Chimney Rock Park in Lake Lure, North Carolina has affirmed its originality through the years as a place to entertain every class of nature lovers. It continues to uphold its reputation as the Park summits to new heights with its new and historical events alike.
Take a Hike-
For you hikers, Chimney Rock offers miles of trails ranging from moderate to strenuous. You can explore on your own or sign up for one of the many guided hikes. Pack a lunch, take a breather, and stay awhile (nooks such as the Opera Box, Devils Head, and the base of Hickory Nut Falls make great lunch spots).
Take a Climb-
If heights are for you, the Park offers customized half-day or full-day rock climbs. For the shorter visit, try a two-hour clinic or a 15-minute sampling with Fox Mountain Guides.
Take the Kids-
Fun for children (as well as mom and dad!), Chimney Rock offers The Great Woodland Adventure and the ‘Kids in Parks’ Track, which have self-guided brochure tours to both educate and entertain. They will also be excited to visit Chimney Rock’s own Grady the Groundhog and other woodland critters at Grady’s Animal Discovery Den!
Learn Something New-
If you love birds, Chimney Rock’s own world-renowned ornithologist, Simon Thompson hosts guided bird walks throughout the busy bird watching months. In September, kids can learn more about birds in their own backyard during the “Backyard Birding Program for Kids.” In addition, take a gorgeous, green adventure with one of the parks’ naturalists through all the nooks and crannies you might miss otherwise, which give the park some of its uniqueness. With your guide take part in activities designed to get you up close and personal with new-to-you nature and wildlife.
Get Your Exercise-
If you like the thrill of a whole body challenge- this is the destination for you! On Sunday August 26, the Park hosts their annual event Race the Rock or Ride the Rock, which is the only chance you will have to run or bike up to Chimney Rock. Don’t let this 7% uphill climb from the entrance of the Park deter you from giving it a shot. After this 5K run or 25 mile bike, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views.
Capture the Moment-
For the photographer, bring your skills to new levels and experience the beauty of Western North Carolina with views that can’t be found elsewhere. For both the upcoming and the seasoned photographer, this is the place to be given the beauty all-year-round. Noted North Carolina photographers lead workshops in May and October, using one of nature’s most beautiful backdrops and a teaching apparatus.
Come One, Come All-
Chimney Rock specializes in hosting educational field trips for groups. Let the kids learn about their environment while having fun. This location is also perfect for birthday parties, family gatherings and even saying ‘I do’ on the rock!
See Something Special-
Spend your Holidays at Chimney Rocks, from the must-see Easter Sunrise Service, to Earth Day, to even Christmas! Face the cold and be sure to bring the kids out to visit Santa as he cascades down one of the world’s tallest Chimneys. Experience Blue Grass in a natural way at Music on the Mountain August 12 and September 16.To see more of Chimney Rock’s annually hosted events and activities, visit the website for the complete schedule.
Reach new Heights-
Skip the challenge of the hike and lose your breath at the view instead. Introduced in mid-June, Chimney Rock’s modernized elevator brings visitors to new heights without getting a workout from the ‘Ultimate Stair Master.’ The elevator goes right up through the mountain where it delivers you to the Chimney Rock Gift Shop and Café (where you can have a burger and beer on summer weekend nights).
Expect Something New-
In addition to annual and historic events the Park offers, just when you thought you couldn’t fit anymore into your trip, get excited about some of the newly anticipated activities and trails! The Skyline trail from Exclamation Point (the highest point of the Park) to the top of Hickory Nut Falls will be reopened with some enhancements, including observation platforms viewing the top of the falls, Hickory Nut Gorge, and Lake Lure. Trailheads will soon be re-opened including Pulpit Rock, the Subway, and the Grotto. The one we are most excited about, however, is the 15 miles of multi-day trail being implemented along Chimney Rock’s perimeter in the near future.
Get together your summer gear, gather the kids, and pack a picnic (even bring your furry companion) and head on out to Chimney Rock to see for yourself the memories to be made.