Today we headed south for about 40 minutes to Chimney Rock State Park. It wasn’t all that far but we were back into these kinds of roads.
The park used to be a private enterprise until the state took it over. They still charge quite a hefty admission for what you get, even though there was a discount today.
The chimney rock is a pillar that sits part way up a large rock face on a mountain. You drive part way up and then normally you can climb the 300 vertical feet via over 400 stairs or take an elevator. Since the elevator is broken, the admission charge was only $12 per person vs the normal $15.
First there was a bat cave that you used to be able to go into until the bats started getting sick. Now you can just peek in at a platform.
Up we go.
So many stairs.
Even the toddlers got to climb.
Almost there after many breaks. The last section goes from the wall out to the chimney.
This section was pretty tough for Jennie but up she goes.
It was great day for long distance views.
It got pretty busy after a bus load of kids made it up.
There was a giant flag and everyone had phones out.
Back down on the wall you could climb higher to some more lookouts.
One lookout was called Opera Box, the next was to see the Devil’s Head and the top was called Exclamation Point.
Jennie was game to give it a try. We got to the Opera Box.
Climbing the tower of stairs, to get to the Devil’s Head lookout, was just too open for Jennie. She did make it most of the way up.
She went back down to the gift shop and restaurant at the top of the elevator.
Here is the view, from later in the day, back up from the parking lot, to the bridge she this bridge that she had to cross.
I got a great view down on the chimney from the top of the stairs.
Meanwhile I got to the Devil’s Head lookout.
I guess you had to use your imagination.
From the Chimney Rock level to the Exclamation Point level was a lot more stairs and about 300 vertical feet. I don’t think the Point was worth all that effort. The view was just back down the valley we had driven to get here.
Another couple took my picture after I took theirs.
After I went down to meet Jennie, I asked her to go back up Chimney Rock to sit and have lunch.
Two families of vey red and blond kids had their sketch pads out.
It was a pretty busy place.
Jennie noticed this tiny lizard poking out.
It had a vivid blue tail but the only picture I could get was kind of out of focus as it zipped across a rock.
Sitting safely and comfortably back from the edge.
With a journey out to look at a plaque.
We headed back down to the parking lot level. It is so much easier going down.
Next up was the 1.5 mile return trail to Hickory Nut Falls. Unfortunately this meant another long set of stairs down to the trail and even worse a long climb up at the end.
The trail itself was a constant uphill but it was not too bad as it was mostly in the shade.
Our first view of the falls. They are 404 feet tall and the curve of the rock seems to match how the water would fall.
Up near the viewing rock.
It was tough to get a good picture because the sun was almost directly over the falls.
We headed back to the parking lot to be serenaded by what I think is a dulcimer.
One last look and home.