Escape to Lake Lure and Chimney Rock Village, North Carolina

Chimney Rock - Sherry JacksonNestled in the Hickory Nut Gorge twenty five southeast of Asheville and two hours west of Charlotte, lays the village of Chimney Rock and Lake Lure.

Take a ride on an elevator inside a mountain, hike to a waterfall, do some shopping, and go gem mining all in one day. Here’s one perfect day to take in it all.

Chimney Rock State Park

Start out the day by visiting Chimney Rock Park. The park opens daily at 8:30am; arrive early to beat the crowds. Drive up to the top parking area. If it’s full, there is overflow parking just below. To the left of the gift shop, follow the dark, damp corridor to the elevator inside the mountain up to the Chimney Rock lookout area. The ride is included in the park admission and it only takes thirty seconds to go up 26 stories (258 feet). Once outside climb on the rocks where the view of Lake Lure and the surrounding mountains is spectacular.

Stay parked and don’t skip the hike to Hickory Nut Falls. It’s a fairly easy ¾ mile hike to a spectacular 404 foot waterfall. The roar of the water falling over the rocks can be heard long before the waterfall comes into view. For the adventurous who want to get their feet a little wet, climb behind the falls and on the rocks. They’re slippery so be careful!

Chimney Rock Village

Head back down the mountain to Chimney Rock Village and grab some lunch at Laura’s House. They serve big burgers, sandwiches and a traditional meat and three (for non-Southerners, diners pick one meat from a list and three side vegetables. And in the South, macaroni and cheese and homemade cobbler for dessert.

After lunch browse through the village shops. Stop in Bubba O’Leary’s General Store and Outfitters to pick up some candy and a t-shirt. Other shops provide souvenirs and wares from local artisans. Take a stroll along the Rocky Broad River and watch the fishermen catch some trout.

If the kids are in tow (or a kid at heart) then visit the Chimney Rock Gemstone Mine. It’s right in downtown Chimney Rock Village. For $15.00 you get a regular bucket and play prospector. The staff will show visitors how to pan in the flume and look for gems.

Lake Lure

Hop back in the car and head east on Hwy 64/74A (Memorial Hwy). Stop at the Lake Lure Marina and take an hour long boat tour of Lake Lure. The guide will cruise past gorgeous lakefront estates each with their own boathouse, see the area where Dirty Dancing was filmed and learn how they flooded a deserted town when they made the lake, schoolhouse and all.

For dinner, get a pizza at La Strada’s restaurant, a local favorite. If the weather is nice sit on the patio and enjoy the views of Lake Lure. Breathe in the fresh mountain air and relax.

How to get there:

From Asheville take Hwy 40 East to Hwy 74A Southeast. From Charlotte take Hwy 85 South to Hwy 74 West.

Where to Stay:

1927 Lake Lure Inn

2771 Memorial Hwy

Lake Lure


Rates $109 to $249 a night

Where to Dine:

Laura’s House

390 Main Street

Chimney Rock Village


La Strada’s Italian Restaurant

2693 Memorial Hwy

Lake Lure


Things to do:

Chimney Rock Park

Hwy 64/74A


Chimney Rock Gemstone Mine

397 Main Street

Chimney Rock


Lake Lure Tours

2930 Memorial Hwy


This article was originally published on Suite101: Escape to Lake Lure and Chimney Rock Village: Best Place to go in Western North Carolina

Sherry Jackson
Sherry Jackson
Sherry Jackson’s love of travel came at a young age. Her family would load up the car on the weekend, pick a destination and set off to explore. She has traversed thru jungles, snorkeled the turquoise waters of the Caribbean and wandered the streets of Paris, always searching for her next adventure. Her articles have been featured in a variety of outlets including USA Today, Blue Ridge Country, Foothills Spotlight Magazine, Jetsetter, Bootsnall, Gadling, Yahoo, CityRoom, The Simpsonville Sentinel and countless other print and online publications. She owns and maintains four websites ( ,, and Sherry is a member of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA). Her work can be viewed at

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