Chimney Rock Celebrates 100th on July 4th



On July 4, 2016, Chimney Rock Park will celebrate both its 100th anniversary and the centennial of the North Carolina state parks.

As North Carolina was creating its first state park at Mt. Mitchell, three brothers were also dedicating their new park in Hickory Nut Gorge. On July 4, 1916, Chimney Rock was dedicated by Dr. Lucius B. Morse and the first American flag was raised on the Rock. This year, exactly 100 years later, a special ceremony will take place as the North Carolina state flag will join Old Glory on the top of the “Rock”. The flag dedication will begin at the 8:30 AM on the top parking lot near the base of the Chimney. State Park Superintendent James Ledgerwood, along with other speakers, will open the festivities with a short history of the Park followed by a hike up the Outcroppings trail to the Chimney. Once on the “Rock,” color guard will raise the North Carolina state flag under the American flag to signify that North Carolina State Parks is prepared to continue to protect the park and its natural resources for the next 100 years and beyond.

The band Vintage Vinyl will play their rendition of the National Anthem followed by a short patriotic concert. Park Rangers will share historical photos and articles about Chimney Rock and other state parks, including a display on the 1916 flood that washed out the original Park bridge soon after its dedication on July 4th. Guests will be able to continue their walk through history by a taking a self-guided hike along the Outcroppings trail where other historical photographs of the Park will be on display. A limited number of tickets will be available at the Ranger’s exhibit table for interested guests to take a Behind the Scenes tour of the elevator at different times during the day.

Around 6 PM, as the color guard retrieves the flags, guests can take part in a toast to the next 100 years. The two flags will be then be placed in the Park’s historical archives and saved for future generations.

Gates will open at 7:30 AM and, in the spirit of celebrating 100 years, admission fees will be waived for the first 100 cars that enter the Park before 8:30 AM.

The celebration will continue later in Chimney Rock Village. From 8:30 to 9:30 PM gather along the Rocky Broad River behind the Old Rock Café for free s’mores and campfire stories with the Park Superintendent.

Chimney Rock also joins nearby Pisgah National Forest and the National Park Service in celebrating their centennials this year. Chimney Rock State Park is located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It is recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic sites and popular travel destinations. The Park’s 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock can be accessed via a 499-step Outcroppings Trail and offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. The Park features one of the highest waterfalls of its kind east of the Mississippi River, Hickory Nut Falls, at 404 feet.  Hickory Nut Gorge, one of the state’s most significant centers of biodiversity, is home to 36 rare plant species and 14 rare animal species.

See our Chimney Rock Park Guide for more info for visiting any time of the year.


Fall Events at Chimney Rock Park

Chimney Rock FallFall is definitely a great time to explore Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park! In addition to the beautiful fall colors that peak in late October into early November, they have some very fun events. Not to mention, soak in the spectacular 75-mile views from atop the Chimney and hike to the 400-foot Hickory Nut Falls. Speaking of hiking, they have guided hikes every Saturday. After a day of adventure, relax and enjoy craft beer and burgers along with live, local music at Beats, Burgers & Brews at the Old Rock Café, Friday and Saturday evenings.

Annual Passholder Fall Sunrise Breakfast
Saturday, October 4; gate opens 6:15am for 7:25am sunrise
Few sights in Western North Carolina are as spectacular as watching the sunrise over Lake Lure! The Park opens early for Annual Passholders with a continental breakfast and the best seats in the area. To RSVP, please call 800-277-9611 by October 1. If you are not a Passholder, you can become one for this event.
Cost: $5 Annual Passholder, free for kids under 5. Advance registration required.

Rockin’ Naturalist Guided Hikes
Saturdays, October 4, 11, 18, 25; 11am-noon
Explore Chimney Rock’s trails with a park naturalist or state park ranger to learn about plants, wildlife, geology and more along the way. Or, head “off the beaten path” to discover less-traveled areas of the park. Topics vary. Limited to the first 15 people.
Cost: Included with Park admission

Grady’s Wildlife of WNC
Every Saturday & Sunday in October; 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26; 2pm
Meet some of Grady the Groundhog’s live woodland friends or possibly our birds of prey, a Red-tailed hawk and Great Horned Owl. Their resident education animals are the stars of the program, which explains each animal’s role in our ecosystem, how they came to live at the park and lessons on what we can do to help protect wildlife. Held in the Outdoor Classroom on the Meadows, weather permitting.
Cost: Included with Park admission

Naturalist Niche Series: Fall Big Basswood Hike
Saturday, October 11; 9:30-11:30am
Up and down a bit of slope, between a few boulders and shrubs and weaving beneath towering fall foliage, hike into a hidden forest cove. Renowned naturalist Ron Lance will guide you to where the state’s largest basswood tree lives, with a circumference of more than 13 feet! Several other large trees are its neighbors and wildflowers carpet the forest floor. This two-hour-plus hike is moderately-strenuous and not suitable for children under 12. Limited to 15; advance registration required.
Cost: $22 Adult (includes Park admission), $10 Annual Passholder

Naturalist Niche Series: Fall Ridge Hike with Ron Lance
Saturday, October 25; 9:30-12:30pm
Soak up fall colors on the most scenic hike all year long at the park! Venture high atop the ridges 1,500 feet above the valley floor, and enjoy dramatic views surrounded in a sea of fall leaf colors. Led by renowned naturalist Ron Lance, this three-hour hike is moderately strenuous. Limited to 15; advance registration required.
Cost: $22 Adult (includes Park admission), $10 Annual Passholder

For more information, see our Chimney Rock Park Guide and our NC Mountain Fall Color Guide.

Fall Color Update: Chimney Rock & Lake Lure is Top Pick

Sunrise this morning at Chimney Rock

For the best fall color this weekend and into next week, go to the Chimney Rock and Lake Lure area, just 25 miles from Asheville. This area always has the last fall color of anywhere in our mountains since they are a lower elevation. Chimney Rock Park has wonderful hiking trails and 75-mile views from atop the famous rock formation. Take the new elevator to the top or climb the new staircase. Plus, hike to Exclamation Point and to the 400-foot tall waterfall featured in the movie The Last of the Mohicans. The Tryon area (home to Pearson’s Falls) will also be a great area to catch the last of the fall color.

Meanwhile, the weather will transition from summerlike to winterlike during the next few days in the higher mountains. With highs today in the 70s, Saturday in the 60s, Sunday in the 50s, and Monday in the 40s! Snow showers are a good bit on Tuesday when highs will only reach into the 30s in the higher elevations. Next weekend, Christmas at Biltmore begins on November 3!


Easter Sunrise Service at Chimney Rock Park

A legendary annual community event in Western North Carolina, Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park’s annual Easter Sunrise Service attracts more than 1,000 early risers from around the Southeast each year. The free interdenominational Easter celebration features live instrumental music, spiritual songs and a spectacular sunrise ascending over Lake Lure. The Park offers free entry 5-6 a.m. for the 6:30-7 a.m. service held at the top parking lot below the Chimney on April 8, rain or shine. Guests are invited to eat at the Old Rock Café’s 7-11 a.m. breakfast buffet and may stay to enjoy the Park all day. The Ticket Plaza will be open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for normal business hours.

“Our annual Easter Sunrise Service is a special tradition for our guests and a memorable event for the entire family,” said Mary Jaeger-Gale, General Manager at Chimney Rock. “There’s no better way to celebrate the beauty of Easter morning.”

The public is invited to join in celebrating Chimney Rock’s Easter Sunrise Service with song, scripture and spiritual music as the sun rises over Lake Lure. Limited parking is available in the top lot. When the lot is full, parking will be available on the Meadows, with shuttle buses transporting guests to/from the top lot. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, dress warmly and bring a flashlight. Guests are invited to the 7-11 a.m. all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at the Old Rock Café for $9.79 for adults and $5.79 for children (ages 10 and under), including beverages.

Read more about the Sunrise Service at Chimney Rock.

Chimney Rock to Host “First Day Hikes” January 1

Chimney Rock State Park is one of 27 North Carolina State Parks to offer guided “First Day Hikes” on New Year’s Day 2012. Guided hikes will be offered at 11am on the Hickory Nut Falls trail and 1pm at Rumbling Bald. A trail guide or ranger will lead each hike, sharing their knowledge on plant and animal life and geology.

Hickory Nut Falls Hike
Meeting Location: In front of Cliff Dwellers Gifts at the top parking lot of Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park.
Time: 11 a.m.
Admission fee: $9/adults, $4/youth (ages 6-15) and free for kids under six.
Restrictions: Limited to 20 hikers.
Things to Bring: Wear good hiking shoes with ankle support and bring a bottle of water.
Additional Information: Hike with us out to one of the tallest waterfalls on the east coast—Hickory Nut Falls—at an incredible 404 feet. The falls appeared in the movie The Last of the Mohicans. Stay for the day to hike other Park trails, picnic outdoors and check out live habitats at Grady’s Animal Discovery Den.
Cancellation Information: Visit or call (828) 625-9281 for hike status.

Rumbling Bald Hike
Meeting Location: Rumbling Bald Climbing Access Parking Area
Time: 1 p.m.
Admission fee: None
Restrictions: Limited to 20 hikers. Call to RSVP.
Things to Bring: Wear good hiking shoes with ankle support due to the ruggedness of the terrain.
Additional Information: This hike will offer some great views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. Please call (828) 625-1823 to RSVP and to get directions.
Cancellation Information: Call (828) 625-1823.

“First Day Hikes” originated 20 years ago to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year-round recreation at state parks. However, this is the first year all 50 state park systems have joined together to sponsor the hikes. For more information on “First Day Hikes” and to find the state park hike closest to you, visit

Foot and Bike Race to Top of Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park will host its 5th annual Race to the Rock at the Park on Sunday, August 28, 2011. Race to the Rock climbs the steep, winding Park road and finishes in the top parking lot with breathtaking 75-mile views of Lake Lure and the Hickory Nut Gorge. The 25-mile bike race starts at 7:30 a.m. and the 5K run starts at 7:45 a.m. Race to the Rock is part of the 7th Annual Hickory Nut Gorge Olympiad, a three-day, family sports festival. Registration is $35 in advance online or $40 walk-up.

The 5k run starts in Chimney Rock Village, climbs the 7% grade of the Park road and finishes in the top parking lot below the Rock. The bike race, formerly a 7k course, has been extended to 25 miles. It starts in the Village in a time trial format every 15 seconds, heads east on Hwy 64 and loops back to finish on the Park road just below the Rock. This is the only time anyone can run or bike up to Chimney Rock. All cyclists must be inside the Park (about 22 miles into the course) by 9:30 a.m. to finish the race.

Registration. Registration is $35 in advance online or $40 walk-up. On-line registration closes on August 25 at 7:30 a.m. Walk-up registration begins at 6 a.m. on race day at the Old Rock Café in Chimney Rock Village. Race to the Rock is the final competition in the 3 Races in 3 Days challenge. Proceeds benefit non-profit, community organizations in the Hickory Nut Gorge. For more information or to register, visit or call 828-429-9011.




Chimney Rock to Teach Wilderness Survival Skills Series

Chimney Rock NC

Chimney Rock NC

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park will continue its 3-part series on survival skills this summer to help prepare outdoors people to handle emergency situations in the wilderness. The 9 a.m. to noon workshops will focus on Shelter-building and Fire-making on July 9 and Basic Wilderness First Aid on August 13. The courses will be taught at Chimney Rock by local naturalist Clint Calhoun. Registration is required, and the workshops cost $25 for non-passholders or $20 for Annual Passholders per class, which includes Park admission for the day of the event. Register online at or call 828.625.9611.

“A simple nature outing can take a dangerous turn if you’re not prepared to handle small emergencies in the wilderness. Knowing some basic survival skills and being prepared can save you from trouble, and even save lives,” said naturalist Clint Calhoun.

Chimney Rock’s Survival Skills workshops answer questions such as: If you got lost in the wilderness in the Southern Appalachian, how would you know which plants are safe to eat and which are poisonous? How do you safely collect and purify water? How can you build a shelter and fire with minimal resources? And how would you treat blisters or heat exhaustion? These courses, which are taught by local experts, could help save your life or someone else’s. See below for more information on each workshop.

Part 2: Shelter-building and Fire-making Saturday, July 9, 9 a.m. to noon There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the woods without two of the most important means of survival: fire and shelter. Naturalist Clint Calhoun will instruct participants on the historical and modern methods for starting fires, essential fire-building materials, importance of fire in survival, fire safety and fire do’s and don’ts. The second half will focus on various types of shelters and how to resourcefully construct a shelter out of available materials when caught out in the open with no place to go.

Part 3: Basic Wilderness First Aid Saturday, August 13, 9 a.m. to noon Some people have a fear of getting lost in the woods. Some are afraid of snakes, bees or chiggers. Still others are afraid of poison ivy. Believe it or not, there are worse things to be wary of in the woods if not properly prepared. Blisters can make for a bad day on the trail. A sprained ankle can ruin anyone’s woodland experience. What about hypothermia or heat exhaustion? Naturalist Clint Calhoun will teach participants how to treat these conditions and more, and what the most useful tools are to carry in a first aid kit for wilderness adventures. Registration. Individual classes are only $25 for any age non-passholder and $20 for Annual Passholders (prices include Park admission for the day of the event).

Get more information on the 3-part wilderness Survival Skills series and register online at or call 828.625.9611.

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international outdoor destination located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It is recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic sites and popular travel destinations. The Park’s 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. Hickory Nut Gorge, one of the state’s most significant centers of biodiversity, is home to 36 rare plant species and 14 rare animal species, as well as the second highest waterfall of its kind in the eastern United States.  See our Chimney Rock guide at