Thursday, October 23, 2008
Chimney Rock Park, Chimney Rock
I have been to Chimney Rock a few times. The first time my husband and I came with two friends from SC. It was shortly after the movie The Last of The Mohican's came out in theaters and much of it was filmed at Chimney Rock. My friend Emily knew all the scenes and where what was filmed so we had a first hand tour of the spots used in the movie! Years later we all now live in Asheville a short ride to Chinmney Rock. Amazing!
It is still a place to bring visitors and we took our UK friends there not long ago. Located 25 miles SE of Asheville it is easy to find right off Main Street in town. The state of NC just purchased the attraction and it is a National Heritage Site in the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.
The main feature is the top of Chimney Rock itself, overlooking Lake Lure and the town of Chimney Rock. An a 26 story elevator ride takes you up to the top where you have incredible 75 mile views of Hickory Nut Gorge. As the story goes, a Dr. Lucius Morse came to the mountains seeking a more favorable climate. He was intrigued by the giant monolith and purchased the 64 acre parcel around it, creating a nature preserve and scenic attraction.
For hikers, the Park has five trials ranging from easy to strenuous. For families with small children the Great Woodland Adventure Trail is a easy short trail taking about 45 minutes round trip. It begins in the Meadows and winds through the woods.
The Outcroppings Tails is an alternative to using the elevator. It consists of a network of stiras and boardwalks to and from the Chimney Rock level;. If you have your pet with you, this is a good one to use. it takes 15-20 minutes.
Four Seasons Trail is nice way to head down to the Meadows from the base of the falls. We parked here so it gave us a way to hike back down and not wait for the shuttle. It warns of a steep decent but we found it fine - going up the trail would be strenuous for some. It takes about 20 minutes one way. The Cliff Trail is the most exciting - but it is not open any longer. Too bad cuz it took you along the cliff side through narrow passageways to view the top of Hickory Nut Falls. The Hickory Nut Falls Trail offers a more moderate hike and leads to the bottom of the falls. Staff are always available for assistance or to offer guidance as to what trail would be best for you and your family.
The Skyline Trail is under construction and promises to be a moderate to strenuous hike taking you to some of the Park's most popular geological formations. Look for this one to open.
Chimney Rock offers many activities all year round - rock climbing clinics, Grady the Groundhog Kids Club, Grady's Discovery Den, pet outings and much more. For hours and more information check out chimneyrockpark.com or call 828.625.9611. It is located on Hwy 64/74A which you can take from Asheville. Have fun!