Field Trips

Bringing Your Students Back to Earth.

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Parks offers a variety of field trip opportunities for students of any age. Our educators have developed and selected environmental education programs to meet your curriculum needs. Check out how we correlate with NC and SC standards. Bringing a school from another state? No problem let us know what you’re working on and we’ll find the perfect program for you.

In addition to the year-round programs listed below we host two annual events for schools, Harvest Day and Earth Day, which give teachers the opportunity to take part in our pre-selected activities designed with your students in mind. Don’t worry if these events don’t meet your schedule or curriculum needs we’ll plan a day just for you!

Year-Round Programs

Animals of Appalachia

Our most popular program is a favorite for all ages. Get personal with some of our resident animal ambassadors while learning about the wildlife that roams our region. Participants will gain knowledge on habitats, adaptations and animal characteristics during this exciting session.

Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Bug Out

Bugs are yuck, right? Wrong! Here at Chimney Rock we love our bugs and all the benefits that come with them. With almost a million species worldwide, like it or not, they share our home. Discover how they play vital roles both locally and throughout the world. To conclude, students will put their knowledge to the test with an interactive game.

Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Radical Raptors

Birds of prey have always fascinated us and are the origin of many legends. Realizing the importance of these predators, and sometimes prey, will help you understand the role they play in our ecosystem. Meet a couple of our special animal ambassadors to see the incredible characteristics of these beautiful creatures.

The option to include dissection of an owl pellet is available. Ask for details.

Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

“We really enjoyed all of the stations today and all of the leaders were fantastic! We would definitely like to come back for the same programs next year. Thanks again!”

-Jamie McGinnis, Fourth Grade Teacher, Ellenboro Elementary School


Learn why you should recycle, what you can recycle, where it goes after you drop it off and what products are made from your recycled materials. Students will also be able to join in a game called Recycling Relay.

Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Rockin’ Reptiles and Epic Amphibians

Reptiles and amphibians are often confused for one another, but the differences between these two groups of mysterious animals are vast and intriguing. Your student group will join our team to investigate these fascinating creatures.

Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

The Need For Trees

We all know trees are important, but do we totally understand the roles they play in everyday life? Let our Park Specialist lead

your class through an introduction to the life cycle of a tree, basic tree ID and impressive facts about our forest friends. At the end of the program, each student will have the opportunity to get their hands dirty when they take home a small tree to plant.

Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

The Ramble on Mammals

Many types of mammals call the Southern US and Western North Carolina home. We know mammals are furry, but what other characteristics do they share? This fun program will discuss mammal traits, various habitats and even address some unwarranted bad raps! Don’t forget your camera for photos of some of our most popular animal ambassadors.

Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Toxins, Tails, Teeth, and Talons

Many native animals have adaptations that help them survive in the wild. Students will be amazed at some of the incredible adaptations of both predators and prey right outside our back doors! A short craft at the end of the lesson will let everyone show off their new knowledge.

Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Tracks and Traces

Animals leave many clues behind that we often overlook. Join our Naturalist to learn more about how bones, fur, scat, rubbings and other subtle clues can identify what animals have crossed right by where you’re standing! This interactive program also includes a short walk so students can put their detective skills to the test.

Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Whoo Gives a Hoot?

Everyone loves our nocturnal hooting neighbors, but what makes them so awesome? Our Naturalist will teach you all about our native species and what makes them all so very unique. What better way to finish up the program than to dissect an owl pellet and then meet a live owl up-close and personal?

Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Guided Hikes 

A visit to the Park isn’t complete without a hike with a naturalist. There are a variety of trails for all ages and activity levels.

Hickory Nut Falls Frolic 

The Park’s most popular trail is the Hickory Nut Falls trail. This easy 1 ½ mile round-trip hike leads your student group past plants, trees and geologic features that make Chimney Rock a natural wonder. What reward could be better than seeing the full drop of 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls and feeling its mist on your face?

Four Seasons Trek 

Ascending through a densly-wooded understory beneath a towering canopy, what you’ll find here differs every day. Students will discover some of the magic nature brings to our world. Want more? The Four Seasons trail connects with the Hickory Nut Falls trail for continued fun.

Outcroppings Climb

Chimney Rock is famous for its breathtaking views and amazing rock formations. Climb more than 400 stairs (with plenty of breaks) on the Outcroppings trail to the top of the Rock. This hike is perfect for classes studying geology.

The Great Woodland Adventure

Designed with younger students in mind, this 0.6-mile loop trail features interactive discovery stations. Stops at each station allow for plenty of fun facts and even a few surprises hidden along the way.

Skyline Excursion

The most adventurous experience of all, this trail is the longest in the Park and offers the most variety—outrageous views, ridgetop forests and watershed exploration at the top of the Falls.

Junior Ranger Programs 

Explore, learn and help out your state parks! Junior Rangers is a fun way for children to explore with their family, scouts troop or youth group. Activities are geared for children ages 6-12.

  • Natural Resource Protection. Junior Rangers help park rangers take care of the park’s natural resources. Plants, wildlife and clean water are important natural resources.
  • Environmental Education. Junior Rangers teach their family and friends what they learn about the park and how to take care of it.
  • Responsible Recreation. Junior Rangers have fun at state parks! They follow park rules to stay safe and so the natural resources are here for the future.

Visit to learn more.

Park Specialists

Education Programs

Join our Park specialists for fun and exciting scheduled programs throughout the year.

Emily Walker, Naturalist and Education Manager
Ron Lance, Naturalist
Ryan Lubbers, Naturalist
Kat Scala, Naturalist
Margeau Lance, Naturalist, Trails Lead
Simon Thompson, Ornithologist
John Mason, Park Entertainer

In addition to guided hikes and birdwalks, our specialists provide many types of programs geared to the age and interests of the group. They conduct slide presentations, nature talks and orientation to the Park for groups of all levels that include information on the botany, ecology, wildlife and natural history of the Park.  The programs are designed to meet the special needs of each group.

Contact Us –

Education Visits

We’d love to help you plan your education group outing to Chimney Rock. Please fill in the required fields and include your questions/comments