Chimney Rock State Park is home to one of the highest waterfalls in the area, the 350+ foot Hickory Nut Falls. Hickory Nut Falls is the only waterfall in Chimney Rock State Park but don’t let this dissuade you from visiting. The park has miles of hiking trails and lots to see. The climb to the top of Chimney Rock and the four seasons trail are both popular, as well as the hike to Hickory Nut Falls.
As far as getting to Chimney i’m going to direct you to the Chimney Rock website. You can link to their site from here.
As you enter the town of Chimney Rock, the entrance to the park is going to be on the side of the road with the creek. If you’re coming from Hendersonville it will be on your right and from Lake Lure it will be on the left. You will pass through the stone colonnades and cross the bridge. Once across the road turns to the left and starts up the winding entrance drive. There is an entrance fee but you have to drive about a mile before you have to pay. In the summer the upper parking area fills up quickly so you may have to park in the lower lot near the Kids Wilderness Adventure. From here you have to choices. You can take, what will possibly be the most terrifying bus ride of your life up the winding entrance road or you can hike there via the Four Seasons Trail. The trail is only about 0.6 of a mile but it includes almost 400 feet in elevation climb, most of this on steps. What I did on my visit was ride the bus to the top before hiking back down. It is a pretty hike, especially since its all downhill to the parking area. If you can squeeze it in during your stay, I would suggest it. The area around the bridge over the creek is also very cool to explore. The river is slow moving and there are numerous boulders and islands downstream of the entrance you can enjoy. It is not hard to spend the day here.
From the upper parking area you can either climb the steps to the top of Chimney Rock or walk back down the road a short ways to the trail to Hickory Nut Falls.
Before you climb the steps to the top of Chimney Rock, make a stop in the visitor’s center. If you’re traveling with younger children who are into the outdoors, ask about the junior ranger program. This is something you can do at any of the North Carolina State Parks. Your child will get an activity book that they can work on during your stay. Check in before you leave with the completed activities and one of the park rangers will issue your child a patch with the logo for that particular park. This was my daughter’s second (of four) patches earned in 2015. Her goal is to get one from each of the state parks, all 40 of them, which mean a lot of driving for me! It’s a great program that teaches children about nature and how to take care of our parks.