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Chimney Rock Park Offers Four Seasons of Outdoor Fun

If you're looking for a nice, "outdoors-y" spot to spend the better part of a day away from your own particular hustle and bustle, Chimney Rock Park might just be the place. Offering beautiful hiking trails, classes on topics such as gardening and birding, and some of the most unspoiled and spectacular scenery in the area, Chimney Rock Park is a nice change of pace for many outdoor enthusiasts.

Chimney Rock Park is located on Highway 64/74A near Lake Lure, NC, and has the wonderful advantage of some very spectacular views. Situated in stunningly beautiful Hickory Nut Gorge, Chimney Rock Park boasts 75-mile views from the top. So beautiful, in fact, that location scouts for the 1991 movie "Last of the Mohicans" were completely captivated by it, and used Chimney Rock Park for many of its exterior shots.

The park is privately owned, and receives no federal or state subsidies to underwrite upkeep and maintenance of the park and its trail system. <

Most Saturdays and Sundays throughout the spring, summer and fall feature special programs and activities geared to the special surroundings of the park. Guided hikes to areas of the park that are seldom frequented by humans are available, where hikers are likely to see deer, wild turkey, and grouse, along with the beautiful wildflowers that grow in abundance in the area.

Birding workshops and guided bird walks are available throughout each season. Watch as the spring migrant birds return to the mountains, including warblers, vireos, and thrushes. Summer brings a guided walk with park ornithologist Simon Thompson during the peak season for many resident birds, including Pileated Woodpeckers, Eastern Phoebes, and Eastern Wood-Peewees. Fall birding activities include the annual fall migration, and, in the winter, watch as the winter migrating birds return, including the Yellow-rumped Warblers and the Hermit Thrushes.

Gardening classes are offered throughout the year, and cover a variety of subjects to suit the season. Garden preparation, the use of rocks in the garden, summer flowers, edible and medicinal plants, and ferns are some of the topics covered.

Exciting demonstrations of rock climbing are offered at different times throughout the busy summer season.

Chimney Rock Park is open every day, weather permitting, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. The ticket plaza is open daily from 8:30AM - 4:30PM (8:30AM - 5:30PM Daylight Savings Time). The park remains open 1-1/2 hours after the ticket plaza closes. Ticket prices are $14 (adult) and $6 (youth ages 6-15); children under age 4 are admitted free. Annual passes are available for $25 (adult) and $10 (youth ages 6-15).

For specific dates and times of the programs and classes at Chimney Rock Park, please visit their website, www.chimneyrockpark.com, or call 1-800-277-9611.

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