Since Monday, October 23rd, Chimney Rock State Park has been closed due to the collapse of a major retaining wall at the park. The region experienced significant rainfall during this period and it proved to be too much for the steep mountainside at the upper parking lot area. Since then state officials have been accessing the damage and developing plans to repair the wall but no timeline has been published yet. Park officials have determined that the park can be partially reopened as several of the lower sections were unaffected by the storm and can be safely visited. So on Friday, November 10th, Chimney Rock State Park will reopen the lower sections that include the Four Seasons Trail, portions of the Hickory Nut Trail, the Great Woodland Adventure Trail, and the Animal Discovery Den. The upper sections which include the Chimney, the gift shop, the Outcroppings Trail, the Sky Lounge, Exclamation Point, and the Skyline Trail, will remain closed. During the partial reopening admission rates will be reduced to $6 per adult and $3 per youth (aged 5-15). The park will also have several guided hikes and programs running during this time.
While it would be best for the park and the public if the park was fully open and available, the silver lining on this event is the opportunity to get into the park at a reduced rate to experience what many consider to be the most beautiful time to visit the park. Autumn is a very beautiful time to experience Chimney Rock State Park and the mountains will still be putting on their show even if you can’t get up right up next to it via the upper sections of the park. The picnic areas on the lower section provide excellent views and are a great spot to enjoy a beautiful fall day in the Carolina’s!