Chimney Rock State Park centers around a 535-million-year-old monolith that the park is named after. Chimney Rock reaches 315 feet above the surrounding area, its apex 2,280 feet above sea level. It offers panoramic views over 75 miles of the beautiful Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure.
To reach the top you'll have to walk up almost 500 stairs, although there are multiple lookouts along the Exclamation Point Trail and even more stairs to get a view of the monolith itself. There is an elevator to the top that arrives at a snack shop that is built into the granite mountain. There are several other trails in the park, including the kid-friendly Great Woodland Adventure Trail and Hickory Nut Falls Trail. The trail to the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls is an easy 0.75 miles and has many native plant species that can't be found anywhere else, not even within the park. Bathrooms and picnic areas are plentiful throughout the park, including along the 3-mile drive from the main road to the parking lot. The gneiss cave is also a popular attraction.
The park is very family friendly and offers animal and plant educational courses at the Animal Discovery Den, easy hiking trails, and a climbing experience in the Meadows on a climbing tower. The park implemented a program to get children outdoors where kids can complete TRACK trails and enter a contest online to win prizes.
Supervised rock climbing is offered at the park, weather permitting, with a minimum age of seven and minimum weight of 50 pounds. The sessions must be booked in advance, and instructional sessions for all skill levels are available with a number of routes to train on. There is also access to Rumbling Bald, which offers world-class bouldering and trad climbing via a 1.5-mile hiking loop. Rumbling Bald has over 1,500 bouldering problems, and for individuals there is no fee. However, for groups, you must obtain a special activity permit and pay a $35 fee.