"Is the elevator working?" This is the top question asked by visitors to Chimney Rock State Park since the elevator was closed to the public in August 2015. Over generations, visitors of all ages and physical abilities have been partial to the quick ride up 26 stories through solid granite. More importantly, they are thrilled to take in the views from the top: views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure from atop Chimney Rock itself.
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park has fully reopened after being closed for over a month following a landslide on October 23. During the closure, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) engineers and State Park contractors assessed how they could proceed to make the area stable enough to keep everyone safe. After a couple of weeks and careful consideration NCDOT and contractors came up with a temporary solution. Before the temporary fix could be placed, however, the rubble and debris had to be cleaned up first.
A retaining wall at the top parking lot in Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park collapsed during heavy rainfall in the area on October 23. Some of the debris washed to the road below. Crews are working to clear the roadway.
Representatives from NCDOT are assessing the situation to determine what needs to be done to fix the damage. Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park will remain closed until further notice.
By: Park Technician Alison Linden
In June 2017, Chimney Rock State Park reopened the historical gatehouses that align the park’s entrance. The gatehouses were originally designed by an art deco architect named Douglas Ellington in 1934. Visitors may be familiar with some of his other architectural work around Asheville, such as the S & W Cafeteria or the First Baptist Church of Asheville. Mr. Ellington designed the gatehouses of Chimney Rock State Park as reversed archways to tie in with Lake Lure’s Italianate style archways.
by: Alison Linden, Park Technician, Chimney Rock State Park
In September, Chimney Rock State Park reopened the deck area at the base of the Outcroppings Trail. This deck project, which started in January, was a remodeling effort to increase the size of the deck. The old deck area was torn down and replaced with a new structure. Along the way, there were other challenges to overcome, including rerouting the Outcroppings Trail so visitors could still access the Chimney Rock itself.
A capital improvement project has begun to repair the iconic elevator and restore service to park visitors. This summer and fall contractors will work to replace the motor and computer control system, and they will tie these into the power lines installed last spring. The work will be technical and exceptional as helicopters fly equipment in and out, but the result will be well worth it.
Visitors who have hiked in Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park recently have noticed some construction going on at the base of the Outcroppings Trail. This work is part of a project to rebuild and expand the deck outside the Gneiss Cave. To this end, contractors have been working since March to build a detour for the Outcroppings so visitors can still climb to points along the trail, including Vista Rock, the Grotto, the Subway and Pulpit Rock.
By James Ledgerwood, Park Superintendent
In 2016, the Connect NC bond package was approved by voters, and an ambitious slate of improvement projects for NC State Parks began to move forward. Chimney Rock State Park assigned the Rumbling Bald Climbing Area’s parking lot as its top priority, and park staff have been excited to review the plans and envision the upcoming improvements.
The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation has begun a capital improvement project to repair the elevator at Chimney Rock State Park. Input from elevator companies and electrical engineering consultants determined that a new motor and elevator control system need to be installed. This work may require day-long closures to the Chimney Rock attraction during the project; more information will be posted as it becomes available.