Welcome to a picturesque mountain town that will transport you back to simpler times. Located inside the expansive landscape of Hickory Nut Gorge and home to one of Western North Carolina’s most beautiful outdoor attractions, Chimney Rock Village is bursting with surprises just waiting to be explored — no “big box” stores, towering hotels, or chain restaurants; only locally-owned businesses occupying historic buildings full of character and flair and the charm of a friendly, hospitable community.
Discover beauty alongside the joyful sounds of babbling rapids and reconnect with nature among colossal granite cliffs. Jump on rocks across the river, hike trails to amazing views, get to know what’s in bloom, and experience wildlife native to the area. Meander along Main Street to shop at stores with eclectic, one-of-a-kind finds including local artisan crafts, unique souvenirs, and Appalachian mementos that will forever remind you of your journey. Dine at a scenic riverside table, taste a local craft beer inside the town’s first brewery, or indulge in a glass of locally-sourced wine at the new Burntshirt Vineyards tasting room. Whether you’re looking for a romantic escape, a family retreat, or just a day to unplug and get away from it all, Chimney Rock is the perfect choice for your next mountain adventure.
Begin your day with a homemade breakfast at Medina’s Village Bistro, a quaint and cozy atmosphere serving legendary cinnamon buns, incredible views, and an outdoor patio where furry family members are always welcome. For those looking for a lighter start to their morning, stop into Coffee on the Rocks for freshly brewed hot beverages, muffins, pastries, and breakfast sandwiches to go. After breakfast, head up to one of North Carolina’s most beautiful state parks, where adventurous options abound — Chimney Rock State Park. Hike to the top of the park’s 315-foot monolith to experience a stunning 75-mile panoramic view overlooking Lake Lure and the 14-mile long canyon that is the Hickory Nut Gorge. This iconic “chimney” has stood for more than 500-million-years and can be accessed by climbing 500 steps or the park’s elevator (for those not up for the climb). Either way you’ll be rewarded with dramatic scenery and breathtaking views that are not to be missed.
Continue your adventure on one of the many trails that extend into the lush mountain. Keep climbing for even more thrilling scenes on the Exclamation Point and Skyline trails, or descend to one of the lower routes and hike to a platform that sits at the base of a 404’ waterfall — the second highest waterfall east of the Mississippi, and the backdrop for the award-winning movie The Last of the Mohicans — Hickory Nut Falls is a sensational site not to be missed. If you are traveling with kids make sure to experience the .6-mile Great Woodland Adventure Trail featuring twelve discovery stations where kids learn how forest creatures live and even get the chance to see some of them inside the Animal Discovery Den.
Head back down to the village and refuel at one of the old timey lunch eateries on Main Street. Located directly next to the state park entrance is Old Rock Café, a down-to-earth diner popular for their 100% grass-fed burgers, which made the list on the 2014 Zagat-rated “Must-Try Burgers Across the Country!” Grab a riverside seat and soak in the views or dine inside the relaxed café. Hit Riverwatch Bar and Grill where you’ll find friendly staff, a huge selection of NC craft beers, and an All-American menu featuring numerous appetizers, creative burgers, famous Rubens, seafood platters, and more. Sit outside under the covered deck or catch a game on one of the bar’s nine TVs. If you’re looking for southern home-style country cooking at its finest, try Genny’s Family Restaurant. Their menu features items like steak and gravy, country ham sandwiches, chicken and dumplings, and delicious blackberry cobbler. For those who skipped breakfast, you’re in luck, they serve it all day!
Stroll along the Rocky Broad Riverwalk and experience the alluring beauty of the Rocky Broad River. This delightful riverwalk runs alongside Chimney Rock Village and is brimming with stepping stones and large boulders. It's the perfect place for meandering hand-in-hand, rock hurdling, and water wading.
Up for some shopping? Take any one of the paths up, back to Main Street and spend the afternoon visiting the quintessential shops that make the village so nostalgic. Begin at Unique Expressions, a fudge shop carrying gifts, jewelry, pottery, hand-crafted knives and more. Ladies will love browsing April’s Boutique, which carries an assortment of women’s clothing, handbags, jewelry and accessories. Next door, stop into Willow Creek to find unique gifts, collectables and souvenirs, plus coffee and sweet treats if you need an afternoon pick-me-up. Explore everything you’ll need for an outdoor mountain adventure at Bubba O’Leary’s General Store & Outfitters. Peruse name brand clothing and accessories, shoes, jackets and more. They also carry a great selection of nostalgic games and collectables, preserves, kitchenware, toys, and souvenirs. Across the street at Gale’s Chimney Rock Shop you can uncover a nice selection of items for kids like stuffed animals, home décor, novelty gifts, and souvenirs. Be amazed at John Bull Trading Company, best known for their cultural gifts from around the world. In business since 1975, Chimney Sweeps Gift Shop offers a delightful collection of gifts, souvenirs, leather goods and plenty of moccasins. The last stop along this shopping guide is Featherheads, a charming boutique full of goodies including local and native American artwork and a huge selection of gemstones, books, music, and much more!
After a fun-filled day, kick back and relax at Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery. Home to Chimney Rock’s first local taproom, you can chill on one of the four decks overlooking the river and taste the unique flavors of house crafted brews, local wine, or cider. If your mood fancies a homemade soda pop, sweet tea or lemonade, then choose to stop at Bayou Billy and try one of their county fair-style snacks like funnel cake or fried pie. For a sweet tooth, step into the Village Scoop for a hand-dipped cone, milkshake, sundae, or smoothie.
In Chimney Rock, playtime is a must! Enjoy a leisurely game of golf on the 18-hole miniature course that sits along the Rocky Broad River at Chimney Rock Adventure Golf. Pan for gold and discover gems from around the globe at Chimney Rock Gemstone Mine, then, capture memories of your visit with fun, quirky pictures at the Old TimePhoto shop. Dress the part with costumes and western props and pose for a lifetime of laughs.
Complete your day with an intimate dinner at the Esmeralda Inn Restaurant, a casual dining atmosphere inside an elegant, rustic inn. Savor food from a chef-inspired menu in a peaceful setting as the sun sets behind the mountains while you listen to the sounds of the river. Serving fine, fresh seasonal cuisine, you’ll be delighted by artistry cheeses, crab cake starters, classic homemade soups and salads, various seafood and steak entrees, and a lavish wine list with cocktail offerings. For those looking for a dinner option a little lower key, check out Medina’s Village Bistro. Receiving rave reviews and ranked number one by TripAdvisor for places to eat in Chimney Rock, their locally-sourced ingredients, menu options that range from pizza and calzones to spaghetti and chops, and delectable desserts like tiramisu, peanut butter pie, and homemade bread pudding, your taste buds will be transported to a whole new level of happy.
There’s no getaway quite like a trip to Chimney Rock Village. From local cuisine to artisan crafts and breathtaking views, you’re sure to find your perfect combination for an amazing day of lifelong memories. We can’t wait to see you soon.