Welcome to a small mountain town that will take you back to simpler times. Situated inside the expansive landscape of the Hickory Nut Gorge and home to one of Western North Carolina’s most popular outdoor attractions, Chimney Rock Village is full of surprises waiting to be explored. The village has an old-time feel due to locally owned businesses that occupy historic buildings full of character and flair. There are no “big box” stores, towering hotels, or chain restaurants found here, only the charm of a friendly and hospitable community. Discover beauty alongside the sounds of 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 see the wildlife native to the area. Walk along Main Street to shop at stores with eclectic, one-of-a-kind finds including Appalachian crafts, unique souvenirs and mementos of the area. Dine at a riverside table, try a local craft beer inside the town’s first brewery, or indulge in a glass of wine at the new Burntshirt Vineyards tasting room. Whether you are 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 venture.
Download a printable flyer of this itinerary along with complete addresses and hours of stops featured. Below you’ll find a quick reference to all the stops in the itinerary.
Medina's Village Bistro | Nachitos Mexican Restaurant | Coffee on the Rocks | The Esmeralda Restaurant | Broad River Coffee Shop | The Old Rock Café | Riverwatch Bar & Grill | Genny's Family Restaurant | Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery | Bayou Billy Homemade Soda Shop | Village Scoop
SHOPPING & ATTRACTION
Unique Expressions | April's Boutique | Willow Creek | Bubba O'Leary's General Store & Outfitters | Gale's Chimney Rock Shop | John Bull Trading Company | Chimney Sweeps Gift Shop | Featherheads | Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park | Hickory Nut Falls | Great Woodland Adventure | Chimney Rock Park Trails | Rocky Broad Riverwalk | Chimney Rock Mini Golf | Chimney Rock Country Fair | Chimney Rock Gemstone Mine | Old Time Photos
Begin your day with a homemade breakfast at Medina’s Village Bistro, a quaint and cozy atmosphere serving legendary cinnamon buns. Prepared locally from freshly sourced produce and meats, select a menu favorite or opt for one of the daily specials. For those looking for a lighter start to their morning, stop into Coffee on the Rocks or Broad River Coffee Shop for freshly brewed hot beverages, muffins, pasties and breakfast sandwiches to go. Then, head into one of North Carolina’s most beautiful state parks, where adventures options abound. Enter Chimney Rock State Park and journey to the top of a 315’ monolith known as Chimney Rock to experience a stunning 75-mile panoramic view overlooking Lake Lure and the 14-mile long canyon that is the Hickory Nut Gorge. The iconic chimney has stood for over 500-million-years and can be accessed by climbing 500 steps, rewarding you with dramatic scenery. Trust us, it's worth it. Visitors not up for the climb have the option of taking the elevator to the top.
After taking in the view, choose your next adventure from the various 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 below a 404’ waterfall. The second highest waterfall east of the Mississippi, and the backdrop of the award-winning movie 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.
Afterwards, head back down to the village and refuel at one of the rugged 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. Another great lunch options is Riverwatch Bar and Grill where you’ll find friendly staff, the largest selection of NC craft beers and an all American menu featuring numerous appetizers, creative burgers, famous Rubens, seafood platters and more. Choose to sit outside under the covered deck or catch a game on one of the nine TVs. If you’re looking for southern home-style country cooking at its finest, try Genny’s Family Restaurant. The 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!
Next, check out the alluring beauty of the river and stroll along the Rocky Broad Riverwalk, a natural path that runs alongside Chimney Rock Village that is brimming with a garden of stones. From stepping stones and large boulders to stone covered bridges, this is 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 & 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!
Relax and give your feet a break at Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery. Home to Chimney Rock’s first and only taproom, you can sit back on one of the four decks overlooking the river and taste unique flavors of house crafted brews. They also serve wine and cider beer from a local maker in Asheville. If your mood fancies a homemade soda pop, sweet tea or lemonade, then choose to stop at Bayou Billy and try one of their fair food snacks such as a funnel cake or fried pie. The tiny town also features a Hershey’s ice cream shop. Step into Village Scoop for a hand-dipped cone, milkshake, sundae, or smoothie.
In Chimney Rock, playtime is a must! Enjoy a leisure game of golf on the 18-hole miniature course situated along the Rocky Broad River at Chimney Rock Adventure Golf. Bring the little tykes to experience a ride at Chimney Rock Country Fair, a historic amusement park designed to excite with a vintage carousel, train rides on a loop track, rounds on a mini ferris wheel and many more rides. Pan for gold and discover gems from around the globe at Chimney Rock Gemstone Mine, a guaranteed find for the whole family. Then, capture the memory of your visit for years to come with funny and quirky pictures taken at the Old Time Photo shop. Dress the part with costumes and western props and pose for a lifetime of laughs.
Complete the day trip 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 with a little kick, check out Nachitos Mexican Restaurant. Receiving rave reviews on authenticity, customer service and a spectacular menu their homemade salsa guacamole and giant jalapeño peppers to a variety of fajitas, enchiladas and burritos will transport your taste buds to a whole new place.