Western North Carolinians are blessed with some incredible gifts of nature: cocooned amidst the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountain ranges, with abundant forestry, state and local parks, hiking trails galore, rivers ideal for kayaking and canoeing spilling into majestic waterfalls-you name it, we’ve got it! And the best the North Carolina mountains have to offer may just be at Chimney Rock State Park, in the Village of Chimney Rock and Rutherford County, just a little over an hour’s drive from Wildberry Lodge.
For 100-plus years, the park has been sought out by regular tourists and explorers worldwide, in particular due to its main attraction: the 500 million+ year old spire from which one can garner a one-of-a-kind panoramic view up to 75 miles on a clear day!
Not to be outdone by the “you-can-see-75-miles” main attraction, the park’s other “main attraction” is one of North Carolina’s highest waterfalls, Hickory Nut Falls. Cascading down 400+ feet, Hickory Nut Falls also played a supporting role in the 1992 film The Last of the Mohicans starring Daniel Day Lewis.
We would be remiss if we did not mention that the park is also renowned for its dramatic scenery, views and trails, and rare native plants, as well as bountiful trout fishing in the Rocky Broad River near the town of Lake Lure, where the 1987 film Dirty Dancing was shot. Recently, the park opened a new trail, the Skyline Trail, considered a moderate trail by professional hiking standards at 1.1 miles. You can experience the trail with this short video produced by Jason Tarr of ExploreAsheville.com
**The good news is…Chimney Rock Park is now open(!), albeit at a reduced level. In accordance with North Carolina’s Phase 2 of Reopening, the Park is open from Friday through Tuesday at 8:30 am. The Ticket Plaza closes at 4:30 pm to enable hikers time to get back to their cars in order to leave the Park by the 7 pm closing time.**
Some pertinent information you need to know:
- Entrance into the Park will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once full, the Park will close to allow space to clear before allowing more vehicles to enter.
- The top parking lot is still closed due to construction; all guests will be required to park in the Meadows area (just past the Ticket Plaza).
- Shuttle service is not available at this time; visitors must hike up the mountain from the Meadows via the Four Seasons trail to access the Hickory Nut Falls trail or to continue climbing up to the Chimney, Exclamation Point and Skyline trails.
- Because the Park has been closed for several months, any annual passes purchased between March 2019 and March 2020 will receive two extra months added to their expiration date! Your annual pass just became a 14-month pass!
Chimney Rock State Park also features a variety of events on a regular basis. While most of the events from March through June have been cancelled due to COVID-19, “Nature At Night: The Last Night of Spring” is still slated to occur on Saturday, June 20, 7:30 to 9:30 PM. If you’ve ever wondered what the park looks like at dusk, you won’t want to miss this night-time observation hike, led by an expert naturalist. Please view the details, pricing and registration information.
We encourage you to check out Wildberry Lodge’s luxurious mountain lodging while you plan your Western North Carolina getaway. All rooms enjoy tranquil views of lush greenery and our spectacular mountains. Our comfortable beds will have you feeling rested and relaxed, ready to begin the day anew; our oh-so-comfy fireside couches let you sink in, wine-glass in hand, while you contemplate exactly how DID we build the amazing 32-foot high mountain stone fireplace? Check out our specials, book online or call us at 828-683-2525, and get ready to spend some time with us this year!