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North Carolina’s western region is famous for its stunning mountains, many of which form part of the Appalachian Mountain Range. Hidden away in the southern realms of these mountains is the picturesque Chimney Rock State Park. The park’s beauty is easily accessible, thanks to nearby highway 64 running past its boundaries, that adjoins to Interstate Route 26. So, when you book an RV in Rutherford County, you’ll be an easy hour’s drive away from both Charlotte and Asheville.
Should you manage to take your eyes away from the sheer beauty of the park, you’ll unveil a fascinating history too. In 1902, a man named Dr. Lucius B Morse acquired 64 acres of Chimney Rock and continued to purchase small tracts until the land grew to 1,000 acres. From this time onwards, Chimney Rock became a hotspot amongst locals and travelers alike, hoping to scale the mountain and enjoy panoramic views of the surroundings. The park’s popularity continues today, with motorhome camping here not only appealing to hikers, but anglers, rock climbers, and wildlife spotters too.
Understandably, most people go camping at Chimney Rock State Park to climb the rock itself and enjoy views over Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge. Once upon a time, hundreds of stairs had to be tackled to reach the top. Nowadays, visitors have two choices. Once you’ve driven up the windy three-mile road in your trusty RV rental, either climb the 500 steps to the top or pay to ride a convenient elevator to the top. Both options will lead you to the same viewing platform, looking out at the same awe-inspiring view.
For those who are keen for an extended Chimney Rock State camping trip, there is a fantastic array of hiking trails available, including leisurely strolls through the park, or harder climbs to some of the more challenging outcrops. Family-friendly trails include the accessible 1.5-mile Hickory Nut Falls Trail or the 0.6-mile Great Woodland Adventure Trail. Both are dirt tracks but involve relatively little incline, leading walkers to some of the park’s most stand-out features, and when you’re looking for something a little more challenging while RV camping at Chimney Rock State Park, consider the ultimate Chimney Rock Tour Hike, which covers almost all bases in the park, including the Meadows, the Chimney, Hickory Nut Falls and Exclamation Point.
To experience the park a little differently, rock climbing is an activity that can be arranged for the whole family. Free climbing isn’t allowed, but there is a handy climbing school that offers guests of any ability level the chances to climb different routes. Guides are highly qualified and can accommodate those who are seven and above. Just don’t forget to book in advance or you may be disappointed!
Lake Lure is visible from the top of Chimney Rock and is great for any avid fishers camping with an RV nearby. The lake’s cool waters support lots of different species, including varieties of bass and trout. Anything from largemouth bass to catfish, yellow perch to sunfish, rainbow trout to lake trout can be found in these waters. So, why not bring your rod and tackle and see for yourself!
It’s not possible to set up camp in Chimney Rock State Park itself, but there are plenty of alternatives, just a short drive away. The closest campsite sits just moments away from Lake Lure and is known as Hitching Post Campground. Here, campers can choose from fully serviced or partially serviced sites. Amenities include water, sewage and electricity hook-ups, on-site dump station, fire rings, picnic tables, a general store selling non-perishable foods and communal washroom.
Although slightly further away, River Creek Campground boasts even more modern facilities, with its sites scattered along the riverbed. Besides full hook-ups, guests are treated to a stable WiFi connection, game room, playground, fishing pond, laundry room, and immaculate restrooms. What’s more, they even let your four-legged friend come along for the adventure!
Asheville is the nearest large town to Chimney Rock State Park and offers a pleasant alternative to exploring the great outdoors.
One of the town’s most unique attractions is the Ashville Pinball Museum. Under one roof, visitors can explore a collection of 80 pinball and classic video games. Simply pay the one-time admission fee and enjoy unlimited fun on these age-old games. Re-discover classic such as Pac Man as well as games you never knew existed like Donkey Kong and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
Asheville Museum of Science is another fantastic visit for any families with an RV rental Chimney Rock State Park. A plethora of interactive exhibits is waiting to immerse both adults and children into the scientific world around us. Whether you choose to dig for fossils in the excavation corner, try out your geologist skills in the Hall of Minerals or step inside the hurricane simulator, you’re bound to leave having learned something new!
Asheville is full of historical landmarks, but one not worth missing is the Thomas Wolfe House. Built-in 1883, the house not only demonstrates some of the last remaining Queen Anne-style architecture in the USA but also houses an interesting museum. The museum inside is dedicated to Thomas Wolfe, a significant writer of the 20th century, and his family.