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.
- Sturdy shoes (there are a lot of steps and rocks that can be slick at times)
- $13 cash for the entrance fee
- Packed lunch (although food is available on-site)
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Spring, Summer, Autumn
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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!
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.
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.
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