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Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock State Park-20080811.jpeg
Chimney Rock, a 315-foot (96 m) granite monolith
Chimney Rock State Park is located in North Carolina
Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock State Park
Location in North Carolina
Location Rutherford, North Carolina, United States
Area 8,014 acres (32.43 km2)
Elevation 2,280 ft (690 m)
Established May 4, 2005
Named for Chimney Rock
Governing body North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation
Website Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock State Park is a North Carolina state park in Chimney Rock, Rutherford County, North Carolina in the United States. The 8,014-acre (32.43 km2) park is located 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Asheville, North Carolina, and is owned and managed by the state of North Carolina.

The park features hiking trails for all skill levels, views of the Devil's Head balancing rock, and a 404-foot (123 m) waterfall, Hickory Nut Falls. Its most notable feature is a 315-foot (96 m) granite monolith named Chimney Rock, which is accessible by elevator and provides views of the park and surrounding countryside.

Early park development

In May 2005, the North Carolina General Assembly authorized the creation of the "Hickory Nut Gorge State Park." In August 2005 the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy purchased a 1,568-acre (6.35 km2) tract of land south of Lake Lure known as "World's Edge" for $16 million with the intention of transferring the land as the first to be added to the new state park. World’s Edge contains a mile-long set of steep slopes on the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment (an escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains), with more than 20,000 feet (6,100 m) of streams and waterfalls. From an overlook point, the land falls away to provide a stunning view of the Piedmont. The area provides habitat for rare flowers, diverse forest communities, endangered bats and salamanders, unique cave-dwelling invertebrates, and birds such as peregrine falcons and migratory neotropical species. Transfer of the World's Edge tract to state ownership was completed in 2006.

State acquisition of Chimney Rock Park

In 1902, Dr. Lucius B. Morse purchased 64 acres (260,000 m2) at Chimney Rock Mountain, including the Chimney and cliffs. Morse and his family owned and operated "Chimney Rock Park" as a privately managed park from 1902 to 2007. Many small tracts purchased over the years expanded the Park to 996 acres (4.03 km2). In 2006 the land was put up for sale. Many feared the park might fall into the hands of private developers, but the state and the Morse family completed a purchase agreement in early 2007.

In July 2007, the General Assembly renamed Hickory Nut Gorge State Park to Chimney Rock State Park.

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