2023 is the Year of the Trail in North Carolina, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1973 North Carolina Trail Systems Act. We’ve been called the “Great Trails State” for good reason, and you can find a trail for every interest and ability from the mountains to the coast. Here in the Gorge we are extra lucky, as many of these amazing trails are in our backyard. In the attraction portion of Chimney Rock State Park, we have six unique trails that vary widely in length and difficulty. Bring the kids to explore the 0.5 mile Great Woodland Adventure trail, or challenge yourself to reach new heights at Exclamation Point or on our 2.2 mile Skyline trail.
We have big plans to enjoy our Chimney Rock trails this year, starting with our Hike with a Naturalist series. Every Monday in March, join us for a guided expedition on one of our trails, included with Park admission. That means for our annual passholders there is no cost to start each week with a fun and informative hike. Shake off the winter cobwebs with one visit or join us every week to watch the transformation from winter to spring in the Park. Check our website each week to learn what to expect and where to meet.
Our Naturalist Niche series continues in March and April with more great opportunities to hit the trails. On March 25th scope out some migratory bird species making their way back from their winter hideaways on our Spring Birding Walk. Bring your binoculars and take advantage of our spot on the official North Carolina Birding Trail. In April, see the Hickory Nut Falls trail and Four Seasons trail come alive on our Spring Wildflower Walk.
Each season brings something new to the trails of Chimney Rock. While the tail end of winter offers long-range views unobstructed by leaves, the beginning of spring brings new growth along each path. Whether you look up to the trees or by your feet along the trail’s edge, you’ll find buds and blooms throughout the Park. And when you’ve worn yourself out in the attraction, head over to the additional state park accesses and hike the trails at Rumbling Bald and Eagle Rock.
After Daylight Savings Time begins on March 12th our Park hours will return to 8:30 am – 5:30 pm for entry; guests can stay and hike until 7 pm. We will also be returning to our in-season rates. If you’re thinking about buying an annual pass to get unlimited access to the Park in every season, plus discounts on all our events including guided hikes, stop by the Ticket Plaza before the 12th to snag one at a discounted rate.
We can’t wait to see you on the trails!