An addition to the popular Outcroppings Trail at Chimney Rock State Park has been completed that restores access to three popular attractions on the mountain – the Subway, the Grotto and Pulpit Rock.
Each of the peculiar rock formations offers unique views of Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure and surrounding mountains and they could be considered “opening acts” on the way to the commanding view from Chimney Rock itself near the mountain summit. The Outcroppings Trail, which scrambles up the mountain, was renovated in 2011, and this new trail spur relies on the same construction techniques. Those include intricate boardwalks and stairs to navigate near-vertical terrain and to protect delicate vegetation. Some of the materials had to be delivered to the construction site by helicopter.
Access to the three points of interest was lost in 2008 when an aging trail to that area of the mountain was among several trail segments declared unsafe. The closings spurred a determined effort to eventually restore access to hard-to-reach vantage points with new and renovated trails. The Outcroppings Trail is a linchpin in the overall restoration effort and also serves as an alternative to a 1940s-era elevator for access onto the mountain. Several phases of trail construction have been financed by the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.
Mike Murphy, state parks director, said, “The renovation of these popular visitor features to make them safe and attractive has been a priority at Chimney Rock State Park. We’re confident our visitors will find the park more enjoyable that ever with an ever-expanding list of activities.