For more than a century, spectacular views from atop Chimney Rock have attracted visitors from around the world to Hickory Nut Gorge. Over the years, the Morse family added many amenities and facilities to the Park to make the mountain and its 535-million-year-old natural wonder accessible to all visitors. Continued maintenance, updates and major improvements are an essential part of the Park’s operation and preservation. After the state of North Carolina acquired the Park in 2007, it was determined that this spirit of progress must continue for Chimney Rock to remain the premier core attraction for this unique North Carolina State Park.
*Final Master Plan Released for Chimney Rock State Park!
Click here for FAQs & links to the master plan.
2012 Capital Improvements Update
Read the recent press release of our elevator reopening.
July 9, 2012 — Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park, one of the Southeast’s most iconic and popular outdoor travel destinations, reopened its modernized elevator on June 8, providing access to Chimney Rock and the renovated Sky Lounge Gift Shop & Deli for guests of all abilities and ages.
The Outcroppings trail reopened on April 14. The rebuilt, wider trail offers new stunning views of the Park, increased capacity and an easier hike with more places to rest. The reopening of the Outcroppings trail to/from the Chimney level restored hiking access to the Chimney, the Opera Box, Devil’s Head and Skyline trail to Exclamation Point, the highest point in the Park.
Learn about the winners of our Get Elevated (Again) contest. These longtime Chimney Rock fans enjoyed the first "official" elevator ride at our Elevator & Improvements Dedication on June 29.
Full Price Admission Rates. Full price admission rates for 2012 are $15 adult, $7 youth (6-15) and free for kids under 6.
RECENT PARK IMPROVEMENTS:
Elevator Modernization and Sky Lounge Renovation — Now Open!
- Construction Dates: Spring 2011 to June 7, 2012
- Improved Reliability and Service: The completion of the 18-month elevator modernization ensures safe and reliable access to the Chimney Rock level for guests of all abilities and ages.
- The experience feels much smoother, more solid and is quieter. With a capacity for 8 guests and an operator, the elevator averages 5.6 mph and takes 35 seconds to ride up to the Chimney level.
- Completely replaced the 26-story metal evacuation stairs adjacent to the elevator and the bridge that connects the Chimney area to the Sky Lounge.
- The Sky Lounge Gift Shop & Deli and all Park rest rooms were renovated to become fully wheelchair accessible. The Sky Lounge offers locally handcrafted souvenirs, more products “made in the USA” and a wider selection of grab ‘n’ go food options.
- View photos of our Elevator Dedication & Outcroppings Trail Reopening
Replacement of the Outcroppings Trail to the Chimney — Now Open!
- Construction Dates: December 5, 2011 to April 13, 2012
- Replaced the remaining stairs from the top parking lot up to the section of new stairs completed one year earlier. The new wider stairways increase capacity, improve guest comfort with resting spots every 12 feet and provide a gentler incline, making it physically easier to hike to the Chimney.
- The rebuilt stairs help ensure that access to the iconic Chimney will be maintained for the enjoyment of future generations.
Definitions: The Outcroppings trail is the trail from the top parking lot to the Chimney area. The Skyline trail leads from the Chimney level to the Opera Box, Devil’s Head and Exclamation Point. The Sky Lounge is the Gift Shop and Deli at the top of the elevator. Cliff Dwellers Gifts is located at the top parking lot.
Rest Rooms Renovation Completed
- Park rest rooms on the Meadows and top parking lot were renovated over the past winter to make them fully wheelchair accessible. They reopened in early April 2012.
- New sustainable fixtures include waterless urinals, low-flow toilets, low-flow faucets with automatic shutoff and automated hand dryers. Also, new sinks and partitions were installed.
- The popular interior paintings by Park muralist Clive Haynes were preserved.
Old Rock Café Improvements Completed
- The Old Rock Café, located in Chimney Rock Village and operated by the Park, reopened in early March after an extensive winter renovation. We redesigned, repainted, replaced equipment and paneling in the kitchen and replaced the carpet in the dining room. The Old Rock is open seven days a week, 11am-4pm; hours change seasonally. Read about Old Rock Café and check out our delicious menu.
Friends of Chimney Rock State Park. Want to help create more outdoor recreational opportunities at Chimney Rock? Join the Friends of Chimney Rock State Park by visiting their Facebook page or downloading a membership application.
Added Value for Guests. Chimney Rock continues to offer events to enhance guest experience during various Park improvements, and workshops and free guided hikes are offered this year. Check out the 2012 Events Calendar.