May 14, 2017
Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock, North Carolina
Whew. Well finally getting to this blog. I’ve been behind. My nephew’s graduation/senior stuff tied me up for awhile and tied me right up to he graduated at the end of May. I was stuck at this computer doing all that for several weeks. And since then, I’ve had a few things to do for other people photography related. But besides that I haven’t been home or available to sit at this computer to write my own personal blogs and create videos. So today I finally get a day to do that. (suppose to rain here today and I made no plans today… on purpose.)
So my 3rd sate park hike of the year took me to Chimney Rock. Chimney is a place I’ve been to a few times in my life but the last time I hiked it I was about 19. The last time we headed up there with the intent to hike to the top… it was closed. That was about 6/7 years ago. I have been up to the Chimney Rock/Lake Lure area a few times in the last 10 years but not to the park itself. It really is a beautiful area. Gorgeous. Chimney Rock is about 80 miles from me. You can get there in about an hour and a half .
The views from Chimney Rock are spectacular. You can look out and see the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Lure… the Carolina Piedmonts. And on a good, clear day you can see Crowders Mountains and the Pinnacle. The mountains in my own backyard.
“Sentinel in the Sky”
There are main 3 trails to take at Chimney Rock. Hickory Nut Falls Trail, Outcroppings Trail and Exclamation Point Trail. We decided only on Outcroppings & Exclamation Point that day since we wanted to go walk and explore around Lake Luke before we left that day. Made plans to go back to Chimney Rock to hike Hickory Nut Falls trail… which is the longest trail and takes you to the bottom of Hickory Nut Falls. (I’m thinking to go back in the Fall because the fall colors at Chimney are… everything.)
It is 499 steps to the top of Chimney Rock. Chimney is a huge granite monolith. It’s elevation is 2,280 feet. It is well worth all the steps to get there. We had a perfect day to hike up there. Sunny and warm day but not humid. Just a beautiful blue clear day.
I packed us sandwiches for lunch and we enjoyed our lunch on top of Chimney Rock while we looked out at the views of Lake Lure, Hickory Nut Gorge and all the mountains. 75 miles of beautiful panoramic views. Not to mention the prettiest flag of all flags flying above us.
After hanging out at the top of Chimney, we headed to the other trails. The Skyline trail takes you to the Opera Box which is a observation view with a huge massive rock ledge above you. A nice shaded area to sit and take a break while taking in all the beautiful views. You also get many views of Chimney Rock itself. Lots of opportunities to take photographs of the big rock.
Along the way you can walk to the Devils Head too. It is a unique piece of work sitting on the side of that rock looking out over the gorge. Science and weather have left us something cool to look at.
The next trail you want to take is the trail that takes you the Exclamation Point. This is a nice hike and the end is… again… worth it. This is the highest point in the park. Exclamation Point is at 2,480 feet. The trail is pretty woodland and natural cliffs to the end.
“Sky above, Earth below, peace within.”
Exclamation Point always takes me back to 1999 when Ashley and I hiked it. There is even a photo! Haha. Lets just say… the moment we arrive that day, I wasn’t feeling so good. I had to sit down. And we so giggled that day and still giggle to this day about it. As soon as I got up there that day, I remembered the spot I sat that day… 18 years ago.
On the way up to Exclamation Point is the moment where Kelley saw the black snake. Some may remember the video I posted on Instagram several weeks ago. Giggle, giggle.
We had a fun day up on Chimney Rock. I encourage anyone to go visit at least once. Fall time I’m sure is the most popular time but going on a good Spring or Summer day is good too. Enjoy!
Fun fact – the final 17 minutes of The Last of Mohicans (1992) was filmed at Chimney Rock… starring the incredible Daniel Day-Lewis and one of my favorites – Madeline Stowe.
Little video from the day: