August: The perfect month for a Staycation

Summer is in full swing, and back-to-school is on the horizon. But there’s still plenty of time for summer fun in Hickory Nut Gorge before the bustle of fall begins. July is a popular month for vacation travel, but we think August is the perfect month for a staycation. If you’re a local to the Chimney Rock and Lake Lure area, there’s no time like late summer to explore what’s special about your own backyard!

After the crowds of July, traffic in the Park slows down a bit in August. These late summer mornings are a great time to come early to beat the busiest (and hottest!) time of day. Summer wildflowers are blooming and our wild feathered residents put on quite a show before the afternoons heat up. Each of our six trails has something different to offer this time of year. Bring the family and hike to the bottom of Hickory Nut Falls to cool off in the spray of the falls or pack plenty of water and see the view from the top of the Outcroppings or Exclamation Point. Enjoy the shaded Skyline trail and see if you can spy some salamanders as you cross the stream. Or, start in the Meadows and explore the oft-forgotten Four Seasons Trail. The Great Woodland Adventure trail is perfect for kids and kids-at-heart who want to learn about some of our local wildlife while they stroll the 0.4 mile loop.

Our summer photo contest lasts until August 31st, and is the perfect project for a staycation. Visit the Park any time in the month of August (or dig out your July photos) and submit up to three pictures of your trip that fit the theme “Summer Trails.” You can win awesome prizes like Park passes, gift certificates to the Old Rock Cafe, and more. This contest continues our “Year of the Trail” celebration, and we love seeing our hiking trails through your creative vision. Submit your photos to

Summer Animal Encounters also continue through the end of August. Every weekday at 2pm meet a naturalist and some of our live animal ambassadors on the Outcroppings Deck and learn about their amazing adaptations and the roles they play in the ecosystem. These programs are included with Park admission and make the perfect afternoon activity during the dog days of summer. Got an annual pass? Come multiple times a week and meet more ambassadors. You never know who you’ll meet, from an opossum to a rat snake to a barred owl!

Who needs to travel when you have the opportunity for a fantastic staycation in your hometown? See you in the Park this month!

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