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Sunday, January 1 - Tuesday, February 28

Winter Photo Contest: “Winter Trails”
Time: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
Cost: Included with Park admission.
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2023 is NC State Parks’ Year of the Trail, and we’ll be celebrating with our photo contests all year long. This winter, take some pictures as you hit the trails and send us your best and most creative shots of the Park in the colder months. Each season transforms the six trails of Chimney Rock, and we can’t wait to see the awesome photos you get.


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 of Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park only in areas accessible to guests between January 1, 2023 – February 28, 2023.
    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].

Sunday, January 1

First Day Hike
Time: 8:00 am - 10:00 am
Cost: Free
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Kick off the new year in Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park during this First Day Hike! Start your morning bright and early with a stroll, hike or bike ride up to the 3.2-mile Park road. Usually restricted to motor vehicle traffic only, there will be no cars in your way if you show up for this special, early morning hike that’s free to participants! Bicyclists are allowed to use the road also on this special morning to climb and descend the steep park road under controlled speed. Helmets are required.

Meet at the Old Rock Café at 8am. Registration is not required. Additional information available at ChimneyRockPark.com.

Saturday, January 28

Naturalist Niche: Winter Birding
Time: 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Cost: Includes Park Admission: $25 Adult, $8 Annual Passholder, $15 Youth (ages 5-15), $6 Rockin’ Discovery Passholder. Advance registration required.
chimney rock state park,

Though some of our feathered friends have migrated to warmer climates for the season, the Park is home to many year-round residents. Leafless trees are the perfect perches against which to spot many unique species from our spot on the N.C. Birding Trail. Join a local birding expert on this easy hike and learn why the early bird gets the worm.

Saturday, January 28

Mindfulness Hike
Time: 11:00 am
Cost: Includes Park admission: $35 Adult, $25 Adult Annual Passholder. Advance registration required.

Bring self-care to the new year on this reflective meditation walk with Namaste in Nature. This peaceful hike is focused on reconnecting with yourself and the natural world even during one of the darkest times of the year.


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