A brand new state park is developing all around us. The North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation has acquired more than 5,700 acres in Hickory Nut Gorge for Chimney Rock State Park.
The area you know as Chimney Rock Park is the focal point of the greater Chimney Rock State Park and is currently one of only two areas open to the public. It will continue to be an admission-based area due to its high maintenance and capacity issues. The second area is Rumbling Bald Climbing Access, which is free.
In July 2011, Greenways, Inc. released a new Master Plan for Chimney Rock State Park that will serve as a road map for development of recreational amenities. Review the Master Plan or check out our Frequently Asked Questions that explain how it affects Chimney Rock the attraction.
Land Acquisitions & Expansion
In December 2011, the N.C. Council of State approved the purchase of an additional 1,222 acres at Rumbling Bald Mountain to expand Chimney Rock State Park by more than 20 percent. The purchase continues a pre-arranged schedule of the state park expansion funded through dedicated sources approved by the General Assembly in 2007.
Rumbling Bald Climbing Access
Though still somewhat of a hidden gem, Rumbling Bald Climbing Access is considered to be world-class bouldering and technical rock climbing with some of the best terrain in the Southeast. It contains an estimated 1,500 bouldering problems that are easily accessible in this non-fee section of Chimney Rock State Park. The most popular climbing seasons are fall and winter.
A new half-mile hiking trail from the parking area to the climbing area was completed in December 2012 with the help of a group of local volunteers, including the Carolina Climbers Collation, Friends of Chimney Rock State Park and Carolina Mountain Club. Visitors may park in the designated parking area located off Boys Camp Road. Cars should not be parked along the entrance drive, on the grass or along the wooden bollards. Additional parking is available at the Town of Lake Lure's municipal parking lot on Hwy 64/74A, from which you can carpool. For directions and the latest information, visit www.ncparks.gov.
Hickory Nut Gorge was chosen for a state park due to its natural resource significance and recreational potential. The Gorge is home to 36 rare plant species and 14 rare animal species, making it one of the most significant centers of biodiversity in the state. Read the fact sheet regarding the acquisition of Chimney Rock Park by the state of North Carolina.
Plan your visit to more beautiful North Carolina State Parks.