Explore Chimney Rock

North Carolina Chimney Rock Parking Area

Added by Robbie O'Donnell

One of North Carolina's most iconic and easily accessible views with beautiful views that provided the backdrop for the movie The Last of the Mohicans.

Chimney rock is a beautiful slab of weather granite that is visible from miles around. To get to this hike you'll want to head to Lake Lure in North Carolina, a beautiful lake located in the mountains of western North Carolina. Follow the signs for Chimney Rock and take the switchback road up the mountain to the entrance to the park. Make sure that you have cash or credit cards on hand as there is an entrance fee for the park that is good all day ($13). Once you enter the park you can choose to either stop at the picnic area right past the entrance for a brief lunch stop or continue to head up to the main parking area at the base of the hike. Parking is usually readily available but the parking lot can fill up fast in the spring, summer and fall months so you may want to get there early.

There are a number of attractions that you can see so from the parking lot as you walk to the main visitor center at the base. From here you can continue up towards the start of the hike, or take the elevator at the base to the top for easily accessible and beautiful views from the top. The majority of the hike is composed of a series of staircases that lead all the way up to Chimney Rock and above so make sure you have plenty of water on warmer days. However, there are plenty of great stops along the way like the "Opera Box" and many others where you can stop and look out over Lake Lure and the valley below. Once you get to the top of chimney rock take a break and take it all in and then head to the top of exclamation point which marks the top of the hike. Some people may recognize the scenery in the area from the final scenes of Last of the Mohicans which was partially shot there.

The best times for photos and hiking are during the cooler fall and spring months, with beautiful leaves providing for some amazing pictures in the fall. As you work your way down there is a restaurant next to Chimney Rock where you can stop for a quick bite as well. Finally, for those wanting something a little extra, there is a waterfall at the base of the hike that is about 3/4 of a mile down the marked trail. This waterfall may be very recognizable to some as it was the exact filming location for scenes in Last of the Mohicans. At the end of your hike head back down the mountain and explore the surrounding town and lake as every turn provides views of the lake, food and beautiful scenery.

Pack List

  • Sturdy shoes (there are a lot of steps and rocks that can be slick at times)
  • $13 cash for the entrance fee
  • Water
  • Packed lunch (although food is available on-site)
  • Camera
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



0.5 Miles



Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

3 months ago

Spontaneous Hike

A lazy Sunday afternoon lead to us going to Chimney Rock for a spontaneous evening hike and I'm so glad we did! We hiked the Hickory Nut Falls Trail first and it was an easy 1.5 mile trek to see the spot where the ending of Last of the Mohicans was filmed. After leaving the Falls, we headed up to Chimney Rock and got to see the Subway and Gneiss Cave on our way. Lots of stairs but the view is well-worth the climb!

3 months ago

4 months ago

Nice Little Climb

Great little climb with the kids to introduce them to NC's beauty!

4 months ago

4 months ago

Great Place But Oh Those Stairs!!

The view is absolutely worth climbing up those stairs but man are there a ton of them!!

4 months ago

4 months ago

The View Is Amazing

This isn't a long hike or an overnighter but it is worth a visit.

4 months ago

5 months ago

An easily accessible glimpse of North Carolina

Exploring Chimney Rock allows visitors a glimpse of the North Carolina scenery without exerting too much effort. Taking the stairs to the top can be challenging, but for those who just want the view, an elevator is readily available. There are some small trails above the rock that can be explored, but most come to Chimney Rock for the picturesque views.

5 months ago

7 months ago

Not really a hike

While there are nice views, Chimney Rock feels more like an amusement park than a hike! Expect to join crowds of people snaking your way up several flights of stairs to reach the summit - or you could take the elevator!! Definitely not a 'hiking in nature' experience.

7 months ago

Added by Robbie O'Donnell

Marine Scientist // Photographer // Ocean Dweller

More Adventures Nearby

Hike to Hanging Rock

North Carolina / Hanging Rock Visitor Center

Park in the main parking lot for Hanging Rock State Park, and the trailhead can easily be found in the upper parking lot (furthest away from the main building), and is clearly marked.

Kenton Steryous
12 Saves

Camp at Jordan Lake State Park

North Carolina / Jordan Lake State Park, Crosswinds Campground

We passed by Jordan Lake on the way home from a soccer match, and the kids asked if we could camp there before summer's end.

Joshua West
6 Saves

Backpack to Overmountain Shelter in the Roan Highlands

North Carolina / Carvers Gap

Starting from the Carver Gap Parking area (do not leave belongings visible in your vehicle) head North on the Appalachian Trail (cross the road and head up the hill past the kiosk).

Jess Fischer
16 Saves