The Hiking Trails In This State Park Are Some Of The Best In North Carolina

Chimney Rock State Park easily boasts some of the most captivating views in all of the South. With a name that invokes cozy memories of smoke slowly curling up the chimney flue into a hazy sky, this state park is nestled at the foot of the state's Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina. Located just 25 miles from downtown Asheville (a colorful and eclectic mountain town), it's a popular day trip for hiking, wildlife viewing, and indulging in nature's tranquil oasis.

As one of over 40 state parks across North Carolina's diverse landscape, Chimney Rock is home to an enormous 315-foot monolith jutting out of the earth — a geologic masterpiece that's rested on this land for 535 million years — and one you can climb via the roughly 500-step Outcroppings Trail or just take the elevator. Southern Living Magazine even recorded Chimney Rock State Park as North Carolina's best state park.

Blessed with an abundance of hiking trails that snake through the mountains, one of North Carolina's tallest waterfalls, and panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure, the backcountry of this oasis is rich in natural wonders. 

A captivating network of hiking trails

The 10 popular mountain trails circling the nearby terrain of Chimney Rock State Park offer a gateway into some of North Carolina's most extraordinary views. Hickory Nut Falls Trail, in particular, is a popular pick among visitors to the park, containing some of the most captivating scenery within its boundaries. The reward at the end of this trail is the cascading Hickory Nut Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the East Coast that plunges 404 feet toward the ground.

A short, yet alluring path through the dense undergrowth and emerald woodlands, the Four Seasons Trail is less than a mile in length each way, creeping past laurel thickets and fields of wildflowers. While beautiful in all seasons, this route is best travelerblogd in spring, containing vibrant wildflowers and indigenous plant species that are a rare find elsewhere in the park. Note that this trail is considered challenging.

Weed Patch Mountain Trail is the longest in Chimney Rock State Park (and also challenging). This trail extends 8.5 miles, linking Eagle Rock in Chimney Rock State Park to Buffalo Creek Park. A patch of this trail guides wayfarers through a remote stretch of wilderness, past wrinkled cliffs and fast-flowing streams. The best way to cap off a day in this state park is with a leisurely stroll along the Riverwalk Trail. This easy trail's access point is conveniently located in Chimney Rock Village, near the Old Rock Café, and parallels the rippling waters of Rocky Broad River.

Planning your trip to Chimney Rock State Park

From the lush greenery that blankets the mountains during the warm summer months to the auburn montage of whispering leaves that crinkle on the forest floor in fall, North Carolina displays a spectacular showcase of each of its four seasons. With no wrong time to visit, Chimney Rock State Park retains its beauty throughout all twelve months. Chimney Rock Village celebrates each season with vibrant festivals and culinary events that display the best of every season on display. Guests will be treated to the clearest views and rushing water in spring, the warmest conditions in summer, and an explosion of fall foliage in autumn, making the time of your visit a personal decision.

A small daily admission fee is required to enter Chimney Rock State Park throughout most of the year except winter. At the time of publication, the price was $17 for adults. Locals and frequent visitors can also purchase a Chimney Rock Annual Pass for a discounted price.

It's no wonder this state park was used as a filming location for the 1992 movie "Last of the Mohicans." Between the breathtaking wilderness and cozy mountaintop town, this park embodies an outdoor sanctuary. The small, charming town of Chimney Rock Village is full of friendly locals, secluded in the oasis of its neighborhood state park. After a day spent in nature, peruse the streets lined with locally-owned cafés, artisan shops, bars, and outdoor restaurants.