Late last week Chimney Rock State Park reopened the Outcroppings Trail, a trail that leads from the upper parking lot to the Chimney stairs. The reopening restores access to Chimney Rock and all the natural features above it, including Devil’s Head, the Opera Box and the Skyline Trail to Exclamation Point — the highest peak in the Park at 2,480 feet. The Outcroppings Trail’s upper staircase reconstruction is one of two major capital improvement projects designed to improve Chimney Rock’s accessibility and upgrade some of the Park’s most popular trails to ensure public enjoyment for years to come.
The new Outcroppings staircase allows for two-way traffic, can accommodate more guests and offers safer, easier egress from the Chimney area.
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park’s other major capital improvement project now in progress is the complete modernization of the Park’s elevator. The original elevator came into service in 1948 – 63 years ago – and although it was fully renovated in the mid-80s, it is due for this improvement. Nearly every part, including the elevator car, will be upgraded or replaced to increase reliability, speed and capacity, and to preserve access to the Chimney for everyone, including guests who are unable to hike the Outcroppings Trail. During this time, the Sky Lounge Gift Shop & Deli will be completely renovated. Both projects are scheduled to be finished by the end of 2011.