by Olivia Slagle
It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season is almost upon us. With it comes a busy time of parties, activities and shopping. Six years ago, popular outdoor retailer REI vowed to close its doors on the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, and to launch a campaign encouraging people to “opt outside” instead of heading to the mall. Since then, the campaign has snowballed with other stores and retailers joining in as well as many outdoor enthusiasts and advocates co-opting the now-famous phrase.
At Chimney Rock, we opt outside every day. Creating elevated experiences for our guests means helping them explore the natural wonders of the Park. The sweeping cliffs, stunning waterfall, and panoramic views of the mountains and Lake Lure are inspiring to all those who witness them and remind us how important it is to protect and preserve our world, no matter the time of year. While most of our guests come in the warmer months, there are a lot of ways to enjoy the outdoors when you visit during the holiday season.
The early days of November see the remnants of fall color on the mountain. Guests can explore the Park while learning more about the flora and fauna that call it home on our free guided hikes, every Monday in November from 11am to noon. Thanksgiving weekend will feature our Holiday Weekend Animal Encounters Friday-Sunday at 2pm.
December brings one of the most popular events of the year, Santa on the Chimney, on the 4th and 11th. In preparation for his big day, Santa visits Chimney Rock every year to practice climbing down one of the tallest chimneys in the world (with help from his friends at Fox Mountain Guides!). Music, hot cocoa, s’mores, letters to Santa, and visits from Mrs. Claus and the elves help make the outdoor festival a local favorite each year. We will round out the holidays with our Winter Break Animal Encounters at 2pm every day from December 26-31, so there are ways to get outside right up to the end of the year.
As always, Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Enjoy time with your families and loved ones, and we’ll see you next time you opt outside!
Happy Holidays from Chimney Rock Management.
Olivia Slagle is Communications Specialist, Chimney Rock State Park.