5 of the Best Reasons to Visit Chimney Rock State Park

When it comes to unparalleled Appalachian beauty, few places in North Carolina compare to Chimney Rock State Park. Located about an hour south of Asheville, this 6,800-acre park offers scenic vistas, hiking trails, rock climbing adventures, and more. It’s one of the area’s most popular attractions, and it’s perfect for visitors of any age! Here’s why you should plan a trip to Chimney Rock State Park.

There are so many incredible places to explore in Western North Carolina – Chimney Rock State Park is just the start! Download our free Vacation Guide to find out what other attractions await near The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant.

Things to Do in Chimney Rock State Park

1. Visit the Overlook

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to witness views only found in an outdoors magazine? Wonder no more, because the overlook at Chimney Rock State Park will take your breath away. You can ride the elevator 2,280 feet to the top of Chimney Rock for an incredible 75-mile panorama of Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure, and the Blue Ridge Foothills. Be sure to have your camera handy!

2. Go Hiking

While the Chimney Rock overlook often steals the show, there are some great hiking trails to explore within the park. Families will love the Great Woodland Adventure Trail, which features 12 discovery stations and Grady’s Animal Discovery Den. If you’re looking for a more challenging trek, try the Four Seasons Trail, the Exclamation Point Trail, or the popular Hickory Nut Falls Trail that leads to a 400-foot waterfall. A full list of Chimney Rock hiking trails can be found on the park’s website.

Local Tip: Take advantage of our Cheers Trail Package and we’ll prepare a delicious picnic lunch for your hike!

3. Rock Climb

If you prefer hand chalk to hiking boots, you’re in luck. The Rumbling Bald Climbing Access is one of the best places for rocking climbing in the southeast. It contains an estimated 1,500 bouldering problems that are easily accessible in the park. No experience or equipment is necessary, but if you’ve never been rock climbing, lessons are available through Fox Mountain Guides.

4. Discover the Den

As you can probably imagine, Chimney Rock State Park provides habitat for a wide range of wildlife. We urge guests to stop by the Animal Discovery Den and meet the insects, amphibians, mammals, and other creatures that call this area home. You can even join the Animal Encounters program to learn more about their natural history. These interactive programs are fun for the whole family and are offered every day in April, June – August, October weekends, and Christmas week.

5. Enjoy Live Music

Music has always been a vital part of the Appalachian culture. At Chimney Rock State Park, you’ll find award-winning recording artist John Mason entertaining guests from spring through fall. John has dazzled the auditory senses of park-goers for years, and his stories and toe-tappin’ tunes can be heard under a tent near Cliff Dwellers Gifts.

Come Home to the Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant

You won’t be far from the beauty of Western North Carolina when you stay at The Esmeralda. In fact, you’ll be surrounded by it! Our spacious guest rooms offer stunning views and top-notch amenities, including king- and queen-sized beds, private baths, and WiFi. We even have an onsite restaurant. All you have to do is check our availability or call (888) 897-2999 to make your reservations. We look forward to having you!

Looking for more great ways to explore Western North Carolina?
Check out our blog about 
Chimney Rock’s fall colors.