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Monday, January 1 - Thursday, February 29

Winter Photo Contest: “Nature in Winter”
Time: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
Cost: Included with Park admission.
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Though it’s often overlooked, winter is the perfect season to visit Chimney Rock. If you find yourself in the park this winter, send us your best snapshots of the gorgeous winter scenery, and you could win prizes. See full contest details below.


1st Prize: The winning photo will be our Facebook cover photo for two weeks, and the photographer will receive two annual passes to Chimney Rock State Park and lunch for four at the Old Rock Café.

2nd Prize: After the first place photo, the second place photo will be our Facebook cover photo for one week. The photographer will receive one annual pass to Chimney Rock State Park and lunch for two at the Old Rock Café.

3rd Prize: The third place photographer will receive two adult day passes (or one family pack of day passes) to Chimney Rock State Park and lunch for two at the Old Rock Café.


  1. There is no fee to enter the contest. All photographs must be taken in Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park only in areas accessible to guests between January 1, 2024 – February 29, 2024.
    The contest is open to amateur and professional photographers.
  2. Up to three photos per person can be submitted via any of the following ways to be eligible to win:
    1. E-mail: You may email your digital photo with your contact information specified in rule #3 to [email protected].
    2. Facebook: Send us a private message including your contact information specified in rule #3.
  3. Every entry should be clearly labeled with the photographer’s name, city & state, a brief photo caption, an email address and the best phone number to reach you.
  4. Photos should be available at a minimum resolution of 1200 x 1600 pixels (1 MB minimum) to be eligible to win. Photos taken via smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices are welcome if they meet minimum requirements.
  5. For entries showing human faces, you must list their name(s) and have written permission from any photographed person(s) to use their image.
  6. Entries should reflect the photographer’s interpretation of the theme. Emphasis will be placed on quality, composition and creativity. All entries may be used in promotions of Chimney Rock and park-related activities.
  7. Digital images can be optimized but not dramatically altered with photo editing software. Black and white photographs are welcome.
  8. Winners will be chosen by a team of Chimney Rock staff. Decisions regarding winners are final.

Winners will be notified personally and announced on Chimney Rock’s social media. For more information, call 1-828-625-9611, ext. 1812 or email us at [email protected].

Friday, February 2

19th Annual Groundhog Day Celebration
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Cost: Included with Park admission.
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It’s our favorite holiday of the year! Come meet our new groundhogs Potato and Yam as they make their meteorological debut, and find out if it will be an early spring or if this blustery winter is here to stay. Tater and Yammy will also make their picks for the Super Bowl winners.

Can’t make it? This event will be streamed live on our Facebook Page: Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park

Saturday, February 10

Naturalist Niche: Winter Love Birds
Time: 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Cost: Includes Park admission; $19 Adult; $11 Adult Annual Passholder; $11 Youth (ages 5-15); $7 Youth Annual Passholder
Love is in the air, and Chimney Rock is no exception. Grab someone special (or just your binoculars) and join us for a late winter birding hike where you’ll definitely spy some of our year-round feathered residents (and may see some love birds, too). This beginner-level birding hike is perfect whether you’re a lifelong hobbyist or just put out your first bird feeder.

Wednesday, February 21

Winter Homeschool Day
Time: 9:45 am - 4:00 pm
Cost: Includes Park Admission: $8 Adult; no charge for Adult Annual Passholder; $12 for youth 5-15; $8 Youth Annual Passholder
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It might be cold outside, but we are always ready for a day of learning and adventure. Students will experience the quiet winter season at Chimney Rock State Park while gaining knowledge about our natural world. As always, we look forward to seeing our wonderful homeschool families and starting 2024 off on the right foot. Program and schedule details can be found here.

Thursday, February 29

Weed Patch Mountain Trail Hike
Time: 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Cost: Free

Leap into the new year with a Leap Day Hike! Come join a Chimney Rock State Park Ranger and Rutherford Outdoor Coalition for a hike on the Weed Patch Mountain Trail. Participants will park their car, meet the shuttle bus at Buffalo Creek Park in Lake Lure, and ride together to the Eagle Rock Access in Chimney Rock State Park. We will then hike the trail down back to our cars. This is your chance to see all of The Weed Patch Mountain Trail! This 10- mile hike is rated as strenuous and takes most people 3-4 hours to complete. Be sure to bring proper hiking footwear, adequate snacks, and plenty of water. Register here or contact [email protected]

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