As the busy summer season in the Gorge draws to a close, we can almost feel the chill of fall right around the corner. Though leaf season always brings many visitors to our corner of western North Carolina, you don’t have to wait for fall color to arrive to enjoy one of our favorite autumn events in the Park.
Flock to the Rock, the premiere birding event of the year, returns to Chimney Rock September 17th and 18th. This year the event will span two days of birding hikes, live raptor demonstrations, and fun activities for the whole family. The event will feature the Park’s five feathered animal ambassadors as well as raptors and educators from Wings to SOAR. Ventures Birding will be on-site leading bird watching hikes and the annual hawk watch, where birders monitor the number of migrating raptors from the top of the Chimney.
Each day will start with an Early Bird Birding Hike before the Park gates open to the public. Whether you’re a birding expert or a newcomer to America’s fastest growing hobby, this moderate hike is the perfect way to learn some tips from a local naturalist and birding expert. Chimney Rock’s spot on the N.C. Birding Trail makes it the perfect place to look for our year-round residents as well as migrating species on their way south. After the hike, stay for an afternoon of on-the-glove raptor demonstrations and activities for all ages.
Fall Fun at Chimney Rock doesn’t end with Flock to the Rock. The last two installments of Playing for our Partners, the live music series at the Old Rock Cafe, will be on September 17th and October 15th, just in time to enjoy some cooler evenings on the deck. Yoga With a View continues into the fall as well. Our friends at Namaste in Nature will lead a practice suitable for all skill levels on September 9th and October 7th.
If you’re looking to stay active into the cooler months, join us for a Nature at Night Hike on September 24th or a Fall Color Hike on October 29th. See what the Park is like after the gates have closed or experience the beauty of peak leaf season in the mountains. We look forward to welcoming you to the Park this fall!