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Sunday, January 1

First Day Hikes
Time: 12:01am
Cost: Free

As 2016 ends Chimney Rock State Park will celebrate the last day of North Carolina State Parks’ Centennial with a campfire and free s’mores.  We will toast to 100 s’more years at midnight followed by our ranger-led First Day Hike at 12:01 a.m.  This moderate, seven-mile round trip hike will climb up about 1,200 feet in elevation along Chimney Rock Park Road to the top of Chimney Rock itself where we will peer across Hickory Nut Gorge into the New Year!

Be sure to dress for the weather, and bring a flashlight or headlamp to light your way. In case of inclement weather, the event will be cancelled, and the cancellation will be posted on this web site by 4:00 p.m. on December 31. Please call the state park office at 828-625-1823 if you have any questions.

Sunday, January 1 - Tuesday, February 28

Give It Your Best Shot Photo Contest
Time: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Cost: No additional cost to enter contest

Every season, each and every day, offers something new at Chimney Rock. When the leaves are off the trees, the lay of the land is more apparent; rocks and boulders, crevices and views appear that are hidden from the foliage the rest of the year. The sky is clear; you find a special spot to sit and enjoy the peacefulness. You may even see a critter scampering through the forest. Capture that special moment or scene on your camera, enter it in our seasonal photo contest and tell us about it. We’ll use the winning entries on our website and Facebook album, and you’ll win some fun prizes. Photos must be taken within the Chimney Rock section of the Park.


  1. There is no fee to enter the contest. All photographs must be taken inside Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park only in areas accessible to guests between March 1 to May 31, 2017. 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:
  3. Facebook: First, like the Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park page and share our photo contest post on your wall. Then post your photo to our wall with the photographer’s name and a brief caption (25-75 words) through your personal Facebook account. Next, send us a private message including your contact information specified in rule.
  4. Pinterest: First, re-pin our photo contest pin to one of your boards and follow our 2017 The Different Seasons of Chimney Rock Spring Photo Contest Board so we can easily contact you. Then pin your photo with the hashtags #chimneyrock AND #photocontest with your personal account, and include the photographer’s name and a brief caption (25-75 words)
  5. Twitter: First, follow Chimney Rock Park and retweet our tweet about the photo contest. Then tweet your photo to @ChimneyRockPark with the photographer’s name and the hashtag #photocontest. Next, send us private messages with your brief photo caption.
  6. E-mail: If you don’t have access to any social media sites listed above, you may email your digital photo with your contact information specified in rule #3 to prandevents@chimneyrockpark.com.
  7. Snail Mail: Send your print photo with the clearly marked photographer’s name, city & state, a brief typed photo caption and a phone number to: Photo Contest, Chimney Rock Management LLC, PO Box 39, Chimney Rock, NC 28720.
  8. Every entry should be clearly labeled with the photographer’s name, city & state, a brief photo caption your photo of the Seasons of Chimney Rock, an email address and the best phone number to reach you.
  9. 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.
  10. For entries showing human faces, you must list their name(s) and have written permission from any photographed person(s) to use their image.
  11. Entries should reflect the photographer’s interpretation of a face of Chimney Rock. Emphasis will be placed on quality, composition and creativity. All entries may be used in promotions of Chimney Rock and park-related activities.
  12. Digital images can be optimized but not dramatically altered with photo editing software. Black and white photographs are welcome.
  13. Decisions of the judges are final.

Winners will be notified and announced in June at chimneyrockpark.com and on Chimney Rock’s social media channels.

Below are some suggested dates for unique photography opportunities (events may require advance registration and fees):

  • April 1- April 30 Spring Break Family Fun
  • April 15 – Spring Early Bird Guided Walk (requires registration)
  • April 16- 62nd Annual Easter Sunrise Service
  • April 22- Earth Day
  • May 13- Spring Wildflowers Guided Hike (requires registration)
  • May 13-14- Mother’s Day at Chimney Rock
  • May 27-29- Memorial Day Weekend Family FUn

For more information, call 1-800-277-9611 or email us at prandevents@chimneyrockpark.com

Sunday, January 1

Family Animal Encounters
Time: 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Cost: Free with admission

Meet some of Grady the Groundhog’s woodland friends or possibly our birds of prey, a Red-tailed Hawk and Great Horned Owl! A Park naturalist will explain each animal’s role in our ecosystem, how they came to live at the park and lessons on what we can do to help protect wildlife. Family Animal Encounters meet at Grady’s Animal Discovery Den. Afterward, grab a Track Trail brochure at Grady’s Animal Discovery Den and round out the day with a hike along our Great Woodland Adventure trail with 12 interactive education stations. Don’t forget your camera!

Wednesday, January 18

11th Annual Race to the Rock (5k run or 25-mile bike)
Time: 7:45am bike, 8am run
Cost: Save up to $10 on early registration at lakelureolympiad.com. Spectators get in free if in the Park by 7:30am.

The grand finale of the 13th Annual Lake Lure Olympiad – a 3-day family sports festival that showcases the beautiful scenery of Lake Lure and Chimney Rock, the Race to the Rock is a challenging 5k run or 25-mile bike race that climbs 900 feet in the last 3 miles (a 7-9% grade) to finish at the base of Chimney Rock. The rewarding 75-mile views from the finish line overlooking Lake Lure are enough to take your breath away… or what’s left of it! This is the ONLY TIME you can ever run or bike up to Chimney Rock.

Wednesday, January 18

Labor Day Weekend Family Fun
Time: Climbing Tower open 11am-4pm; Family Animal Encounters 2pm daily
Cost: Included with Park admission

Enjoy the last holiday weekend of summer experiencing what makes Chimney Rock the ideal place to play. Climb, hike and even learn during our family-fun packed weekend. The adventurous in your gang can attempt the 32-foot climbing tower; those more suited for feet on the ground can take in the amazing views. Even the youngest of guests are sure to love meeting some of our Animal Educators during our Family Animal Encounters.

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