In the foothills of Hickory Nut Gorge you’ll discover this North Carolina treasure, boasting a 404-foot waterfall and 75-mile views.
The centerpiece of Chimney Rock State Park is the 535-million-year-old monolith rock for which the Park is named. When you reach the Rock, you’ll be treated to 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge. The Park is also home to a 400-foot waterfall, and there are great opportunities for wildlife viewing.
Chimney Rock State Park is located southeast of Asheville on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina. Chimney Rock is just 27 miles from downtown Asheville.
Hickory Nut Gap Falls in Chimney Rock State Park was one of the filming locations for the movie, The Last of the Mohicans.
Things to Do at Chimney Rock State Park
Visit the Rock: There are two ways to reach the incredible views at the top of Chimney Rock. One way is to take the Park elevator up to a short staircase leading to the top of the Rock.The elevator is operating after undergoing maintenance in 2018. Or, you can begin at the upper parking area to climb the 500 steps to the top of the Rock. Along the way, you'll be able to explore the many unique views.
Hiking: Chimney Rock State Park offers a network of trails for people of all ages and abilities. Here are the top trails at Chimney Rock State Park.
Chimney Rock Trail — A series of staircases take you 500 steps to the top of the rock. Or, bypass the majority of the stairs with a trip on the Park elevator.
Exclamation Point Trail — After reaching the top of Chimney Rock, extend your hike by 20 minutes to the highest peak in the Park. This is a moderate-to-strenuous hike.
Skyline Trail — Extend your hike by another 20 minutes (1.1 miles) from Exclamation Point by hiking the relatively new Skyline Trail. This moderate trail meanders through the woods to sweeping views at Peregrine Point before ending at the headwaters of Hickory Nut Falls. See our trail feature and video!
Hickory Nut Falls Trail — Go for a 1.5-mile roundtrip leisurely walk to the bottom of the 404-foot waterfall.
Great Woodland Adventure — With 12 "Discovery Stations" along the way, this trail is perfect for kids and families. The trail is just about a half mile. The Animal Discover Den, which houses live critters, in located next to the trailhead
Birding Watching: Thanks to a wide variety of habitats from riverbanks to high cliffs, Chimney Rock State Park is a top location for bird enthusiasts.
Events: Chimney Rock State Park also hosts family-friendly events throughout the year including guided hikes, family fun days and the very popular Santa on the Chimney event (first two Saturdays in December). See our guide to Santa on the Chimney.
Plan Your Trip to Chimney Rock State Park
What to Know
COST: Admission is required to enter Chimney Rock State Park. Prices vary by season but adult tickets are typically between $10-$17 and youth tickets range from $5-$8.
HOURS: Chimney Rock State Park is open 7 days a week year round (closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day). Hours vary by season.
From January through early March, the Park is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
From March 10-December 31, the Park is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
No matter the season, Chimney Rock State Park remains open 1.5 hours after the Ticket Plaza closes. If you purchase your ticket after 4 p.m., the ticket is good for admission the next day at no additional cost.
SERVICES: Chimney Rock State Park features two gift shops, a restaurant and bathroom facilities. There are also restaurants, shops and facilities just outside the Park in Chimney Rock Village.
Directions to Chimney Rock State Park
From downtown Asheville, take I-240 East to Exit 9 (toward Blue Ridge Parkway and Highway 74A East). Stay on Highway 74A for 20 miles. The Park entrance is on the right.
History of Chimney Rock State Park
More than 100 years ago, Dr. Lucious B. Morse fell in love with Chimney Rock. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and came to the area looking for a more "healthful climate." In 1902, he purchased Chimney Rock and 64 surrounding acres for $5,000. Not long after, Morse and his family began building a bridge and a road to the top. A local man, Guilford Nanney, was responsible for the first trail.
In 1946, they drew up plans for an elevator from the parking area to the summit of the Chimney. The massive construction project took eight tons of dynamite and 18 months to complete. Throughout the later half of the century, Morse and his family added more services and trails. All the while, the Morse family placed a major emphasis on the preservation of wildlife and plants in the Park.
In the early 2000s, the Morse Family and the newly formed Hickory Nut Gorge Partnership worked with state leaders to help preserve the Park for generations to come. In 2007, the North Carolina State Parks purchased Chimney Rock State Park. North Carolina State Parks has continued to protect additional lands and grow the Park experience into what you see there today.