The elevator at Chimney Rock State Park is closed for maintenance, but visitors can still reach the top of 315-foot Chimney Rock by taking the Outcroppings Trail from the upper parking lot to the top in about a half mile. Rates will be reduced to $9 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 6-15).
One of several capital-improvement projects the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation has planned for the park, the elevator project includes replacing the elevator’s guide rails and hoist ropes. The park will remain open for the duration of the repair work.
“While the Outcroppings [trail] may seem daunting to some Park visitors, most can reach the top in about 20 minutes,” said PR and Events Manager Meghan Rogers. “Most guests are so focused on getting to the Chimney, they overlook the Outcroppings, but it features some of our most interesting rock formations — including Moonshiner’s Cave, Vista Rock, Pulpit Rock, the Grotto and Subway,” she added.
Construction of the 26-story elevator began in 1948. An engineering feat at the time, crews used eight tons of dynamite to blast the 198-foot tunnel and 258-foot shaft into the solid granite mountain. When it opened to the public in 1949, the elevator was the tallest in the state. Over the years, the elevator has undergone periodic repair and maintenance.
The park’s normal winter operating hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the Ticket Plaza closing at 4:30 p.m. (weather permitting). However, Chimney Rock will have special hours for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, and will be open New Year’s Day. Visit chimneyrockpark.com for a detailed winter operating schedule.