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Chimney Rock Park - Anchor of North Carolina's New Hickory Nut Gorge State Park.

Updated on September 23, 2007

Chimney Rock Park is a 996-acre park, located in Chimney Rock, North Carolina. The park, which is about 25 miles southeast of Asheville, was privately owned by the Morse family since 1902. The land was put up for sale in 2006. In May 2007, the park was purchased by the State of North Carolina to be part of a new state park. Chimney Rock Park will continue to be managed by the Morse family as the state continues its efforts to acquire land for a new park, which will be at least 3,200 acres. The name of the new park is "Hickory Nut Gorge State Park." There is a bill before the North Carolina Legislature that would authorize the entire park as "Chimney Rock State Park."

Points of Interest:

The Chimney

High above beautiful Hickory Nut Gorge you can climb to the top of this towering 315-foot monolith located on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. At an elevation of 2,280 feet, the views of up to 75 miles are breathtaking.

The Opera Box

On the Skyline trail and a short distance from the Chimney, views of Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge are available from the Opera Box. At this spot, you are covered by a rock overhang with a narrow horizontal opening that presents panoramic scenes of water, sky, and trees.

Peregrine's Rest

This high vantage point was named for the bird, because visitors may feel like a bird from this high perch above Hickory Nut Gorge. It offers a full view of the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls along the Skyline Trail.

Inspiration Point

Offers one of the most unique views in the Park. Located along the Cliff trail, Inspiration Point is the only place from which you can see both Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Falls. Some scenes from the 1992 movie "The Last of the Mohicans" were filmed along the Cliff trail.

Needle's Eye

This narrow passage consists of 185 stairs in a vertical joint in the granite between the Pulpit Rock and the Rock Pile. The top part of the joint is a group of boulders, some of which have fallen into the crack and created what is called the "eye of the needle."

Devil's Head

This menacing rock facing hangs out over the Gorge at the start of the Skyline trail, just above the Chimney.

Exclamation Point

This point along the Skyline trail is the highest point in Chimney Rock Park. At an elevation of 2,480 feet, Exclamation Point is the pinnacle of the Park. It eclipses Chimney Rock's elevation by 200 feet.


This is a collection of giant rocks below the Chimney. Pulpit Rock offers the best opportunity for taking pictures of the Chimney. The Rock Pile is an excellent place to view the Gorge from a lower elevation, which really puts into perspective the vastness of the Park. An observation deck has been built at Vista Rock. The Moonshiner's Cave presents an authentic glimpse into the history of the potent brew. The Outcroppings has two narrow paths . The Outcroppings has two narrow passageways to the Chimney, the Subway and the Grotto.


More than 3.5 miles of nature trails traverse the park. They provide opportunities to see unusual geological formations, rare and indigenous plants, and a variety of native wildlife. The trails range in difficulty from easy to strenuous.


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