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.
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.
A seasonal elevator to the Sky Lounge Patio makes the views accessible to everyone. It is currently being refurbished but is scheduled to reopen the Fall of 2017.
The new Skyline Trail opened spring 2017, which gives adventurous hikers even more views.
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