Western North Carolina is easily one of the best-kept secrets on the East Coast, but one mountain town, in particular, stands out among the rest. From waterfall hikes to wine tasting at vineyards in the mountains, there are so many ways to explore Chimney Rock, NC! If you are ready to plan your next mountain getaway, then read on for the ultimate guide to five days in Chimney Rock. Afterward, uncover more of the area’s hidden gems in our free Vacation Guide. Get your copy for recommendations on restaurants, hiking trails, outdoor activities, and more!
How to Have the Best Five Days in Chimney Rock
1. Day One: Settle In, Explore, & Dine.
You can check into your room or cabin at
The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant at 3:00 p.m. Once you are settled in, we invite you to stretch your legs and relax at The Esmeralda Park. Our park is a scenic, dedicated green space where you can relax by the Rocky Broad River. During your walk to the park, you can also explore downtown Chimney Rock Village and its quaint, mom-and-pop shops.
After your walk, join us for dinner. We are proud to be one of the best restaurants in the Chimney Rock/Lake! Our menu changes seasonally to take advantage of the finest, local ingredients. However, you can always look forward to Southern classics, like shrimp and grits and housemade crab cakes. Remember to save room for dessert!
2. Day Two: Discover Chimney Rock’s Natural Wonders
No trip to Chimney Rock is complete without visiting
Chimney Rock State Park! This 6,800-acre park is a beauty to explore all year round, yet it is particularly popular during the fall when autumn paints the mountain trees with ruby reds and vibrant yellows. Many visitors begin their adventure with a visit to the park’s most magnificent overlook. At the top, 2,280 feet up, you can take in 75-mile panoramic views of the Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure, and the Blue Ridge Foothills.
Another popular hike at the park is the Hickory Nut Falls Trail, which leads to a 404-foot, plunging waterfall. It is especially beautiful in the winter when the frozen waterfall reflects off the towering cliff.
To save money on your trip to the park, take advantage of our Hickory Nut Gorge Vacation Package. You can also discover more of the area’s natural wonders in our free vacation guide, like the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge, The Rocky Broad River, and more.
3. Day Three: Explore The Land of the Sky
Most people plan their trip to Chimney Rock
for the peacefulness and serenity of the mountains, but a day trip to Asheville can also be a fun addition to your vacation! The city of Asheville is a scenic, 40-minute drive away from Chimney Rock and The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant.
Some popular daytime activities include exploring the art studios of The River Arts District, wandering the magnificent Biltmore Estate, and getting a taste of the city’s legendary craft beer scene on a brewery tour. Remember: Asheville is the culinary capital of the South, so indulge accordingly! Take a look at our Asheville restaurant blog for a list of our hand-picked recommendations.
4. Day Four: Wine & Craft Beer Tasting
Did you know that the Asheville area boasts more breweries
per capita than any other city in the Southeast? Our local breweries and their dedication to the craft is one of the area’s biggest draws, and some of the best microbreweries are here in Chimney Rock and Lake Lure, like Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery and Southern Appalachian Brewery.
If craft beer isn’t your thing, you’ll also find a handful of beautiful vineyards in the area, like Burntshirt Vineyards. Wine tasting is available at their two tasting rooms in Chimney Rock and Hendersonville for only $10. You will receive five custom tastes and an engraved Burntshirt wine glass!
After your culinary adventures, wind down the evening with dinner at our restaurant and a relaxing evening at our outdoor whirlpool spa. As always, drink responsibly and always have a designated driver!
5. Day Five: Celebrate the Best of the Season
No matter when you visit, you can enjoy the activities listed above all year round! However, the Chimney Rock area also plays host to a variety of seasonal activities and events that you don’t want to miss. Select the perfect festival or activity to add to your itinerary, below.
- Dirty Dancing Festival | September
- Apple picking in Hendersonville | Autumn activity
- Explore N.C.’s fall colors | Autumn activity
- A Biltmore Estate Christmas | November through December
- The Lake Lure Polar Plunge | New Year’s Day
- Asheville Restaurant Week | January
- Cooking Classes at The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant | January through March (select weekends)
- Hunger & Thirst: A Restaurant Week Event | March
- Biltmore Festival of Flowers | April through May
- Asheville Beer Week | May
- Lake Lure 4th of July | Independence Day
- Sourwood Honey Festival | August
- The NC Apple Festival | August
The Most Beautiful Cabins in Chimney Rock, NC
End every evening of your five days in Chimney Rock in style. Our inn enjoys some of the most stunning natural scenery in North Carolina, like overlooks of crystal-clear rapids on the Rocky Broad River and Hickory Nut Gorge. When you book a stay in any of our classic cabins, like the Chimney Rock River Cabin, you can always look forward to the best amenities, vacation packages, and top-notch service. Complimentary, gourmet breakfast, access to our outdoor whirlpool spa, and massage services are just a few ways to treat yourself at our inn! If you are ready to plan your next getaway, check our availability and book your stay. We can’t wait to host you at The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant!