Choose Your Adventure
Whether you have an hour to spare or the entire day, you’ll be amazed at all the Park has to offer.
Check out our Interactive Trail Map to get your bearings and plan your hiking.
What are you interested in?
- 1 – 1.5 Hour Visit
- 2 Hour Visit
- 2.5 Hours or More Visit
- Ambitious Hiker Itinerary
- Extreme Leisure Itinerary
- Family Hikes
- Make a Day of It!
NOTICE: The Hickory Nut Falls trail is currently closed for repairs due to a rockslide that caused significant damage to a footbridge and a large portion of the trail in November 2012. The plan is to reopen the waterfall trail, but due to unknown factors, no timeline has been established at present. Reduced admission rates are in effect. Read more about the trail closure.
Drive to the top of the mountain and take in the 75-mile views of Lake Lure and the Hickory Nut Gorge. Be sure to stop in at Cliff Dwellers Gifts to shop for souvenirs and locally-made handcrafted items. On your way back down the mountain, check out Grady's Discovery Den to meet some of the critters that call the Park home.
2 Hour Visit:
After enjoying the views from the top of the mountain, take the stairs down to Hickory Nut Falls trail, or start at the trailhead located one curve below the top parking lot. This trail takes about one hour to hike. At the end of the trail is 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls, the second-tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi.
2.5 Hours or More Visit:
Wear comfortable walking shoes and carry some extra water. After you walk the Hickory Nut Falls trail, stop at Grady's Dicovery Den or hike the Great Woodland Adventure located in the Meadows. If hiking makes you hungry, the Old Rock Café can prepare a Hiker’s Lunch for you. There are also plenty of places to picnic throughout the Park.
Ambitious Hiker Itinerary:
Start off in the Meadows for a warm-up loop on the Great Woodland Adventure, perfect for kids and kids-at-heart. This easy-to-moderate .6 mile trail features larger-than-life sculptures created by local artists. Next, head across the road to the Four Seasons trail. This .6 mile trail is very steep and strenuous. It connects to the Hickory Nut Falls trail. Hike to the bottom of the falls on this moderate trail in about 30 minutes. Backtrack on the Hickory Nut Falls trail and go up the stairs on the right to head up to the upper parking lot where you can take in spectacular 75-mile views of Lake Lure. Then, you're headed up the Outcroppings to the boardwalk and the final 44 stairs leading to the top of Chimney Rock. Experience the expansive panoramic views across Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure all the way to the Piedmont in the distance. Head back down the Chimney stairs to pick up the Skyline trail, a moderate-to-strenuous hike that leads to jaw-dropping Exclamation Point, the highest peak in the Park at 2,480 feet in elevation. Whew! You can now say you have done it all!
Extreme Leisure Itinerary:
Drive all the way to the upper parking lot. Check out the unique items in Cliff Dwellers Gifts, and enjoy the view. Both the Hickory Nut Falls and Great Woodland Adventure trails are perfect for a stroll.
If you have little ones, we highly recommend the Great Woodland Adventure located in the Meadows. This easy-to-moderate .6 mile trail features 12 discovery stations with larger-than-life sculptures of animals. You and your kids can learn about how these animals live, what they eat and other interesting and fun facts.
We also recommend the Hickory Nut Falls trail for families. This moderate trail takes you through the woods to the bottom of the falls in about 30 minutes. Enjoy the mist from the waterfall as it plunges 404 feet into a clear pool at the bottom. The dense woods along this trail provide a natural barrier, which makes for a safer hiking experience.
Please note, we do not recommend the use of strollers on any of our trails. The rugged terrain makes them very difficult to use. However, we do have kid carrier backpacks for rent for only $8 per day.