Chimney Rock Village and Hickory Nut Gorge
A two-lane roadway along the northern banks of the "Rocky" Broad River, deep in the mouth of Hickory Nut Gorge at the very gateway dividing the Blue Ridge Foothills from the Blue Ridge Mountains is the town of Chimney Rock Village. Although the village has buildings that date back to the 1920's, Chimney Rock Village did not incorporate until 1991.
Chimney Rock Village is a modest size resort town at the very entrance to Chimney Rock Park, now formally known as Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park. The modest size of this little town is due to the lack of buildable land in this deep narrow river gorge. Though tens of thousands of people visit Chimney Rock Village every year there's only about 175 year-round residents. Gorges aren't known for their wide open spaces, yet the overwhelming site of Chimney Rock high above the resort town is amazing with its steep mostly bare mountain slope and the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls, a view that can be seen just about anywhere in town and is absolutely awe-inspiring.
Both sides of the main street (which is actually highway 64/74A) are lined with shops, restaurants and eateries. Strolling along the south side of the main street you'll come across the old gothic historical stonewall entrance to Chimney Rock State Park at the center of town. This historic gateway along with a local cabin on the lake and a overview of Lake Lure from the summit of Chimney Rock were used in the film "Fire Starter," starring a young Drew Barrymore. From the gate's entrance, a bridge crosses the wild "Rocky" Broad River and connects to a paved roadway that winds its way into the State Park.
Along the back row of shops that border the Broad River along Main Street in Chimney Rock Village, is the Rocky Broad Riverwalk with trails that leads along the banks of the river in a beautiful water park like setting. The boulder-laden riverbed of the "Rocky" Broad River, with its white cascading waters is so inviting that many visitors come here just to wade and soak in its catching pools, stroll along its banks or picnic next to the cool waters of the river. The river waters are always inviting and captivating to visitors in the warm season, yet you should be aware that heavy rains can cause the river to rise suddenly, not only increasing the water levels but the speed of the current as well, making it dangerous at times for casual play. You should always practice safety around riverbeds and creeks, wet river rocks are very slippery and even low-short waterfalls can cause serious injury. The Highlander recommends you wear quality made river sandals for safety sake even when the river is at safe levels.
The river gorge is a natural gateway into this region of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Throughout history the Hickory Nut Gorge has seen many travelers and drovers taking their livestock to market along its narrow trail. Miners and prospectors used the local watercourses during the gold rush day of the 1830's before heading out to gold strikes in California in the latter part of the 1840's. "Yankee" soldiers also used this route to access in and out of the mountains during campaigns.
Each year in early September the Hickory Nut Gorge Olympiad Triathlon, a 25k biking event and 5k run, along with a golf tournament comes to Chimney Rock Village. Visitors, local residents and competitors are all drawn together for a weekend of outdoor fun and adventure.
Chimney Rock, Hickory Nut Gorge, the "Rocky" Broad River and the surrounding mountains, lake, waterways, waterfalls and hiking trails are a world of natural wonders waiting for you to explore.
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