Seventy-five miles east of North Carolina's Cherokee entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies Chimney Rock State Park. Its namesake attraction is the 491-stair, 315-foot climb on Outcroppings Trail to a sweeping view of Lake Lure and the Hickory Nut Gorge below. On a clear day you can see up to 75 miles.
A seasonal elevator to the Sky Lounge Patio, restored to service in May 2018, makes the views accessible to everyone.
You can't see the falls from atop Chimney Rock, but the .75-mile Hickory Nut Falls Trail is a nice leisurely walk and it's pet friendly. The falls drops 404 feet and its mist feeds the plentiful wildflowers and birds surrounding the trail.
The newest trail, Skyline Trail, gives adventurous hikers even more views on a moderately-strenuous trail that's 2.2 miles round trip.
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