AAA Editor Notes
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park, on US 64/74A at 431 Main St., surrounds its dramatic same-named formation. For exceptional views that include Lake Lure, hikers can reach the summit by means of a marked trail and stairways. An elevator, which rises 26 stories, also is available. A trail also leads to 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls. One of the highest falls east of the Mississippi River, Hickory Nut Falls were featured as a backdrop in the 1992 movie “The Last of the Mohicans.”
Two lower trails are the Great Woodland Adventure—which features handcrafted sculptures depicting wildlife indigenous to the region—and the Four Seasons Trail, a more strenuous, winding route. The Exclamation Point Trail leads to Exclamation Point (200 feet higher than Chimney Rock) and passes the Opera Box and Devil's Head. Other points of interest include Gneiss Cave and the Birdhouse.
Myriad wildflowers, birds and plants are indigenous to the park. Some of the trails are steep in places, and negotiating them requires sure footing. Guided hikes are scheduled throughout the year. Fox Mountain Guides offer guided rock climbing.
Pets on leash are allowed. Picnicking is permitted. Food is available. Time: Allow 2 hours minimum.