Known to many as the filming location of the Last of the Mohicans, the 315-foot mountain known as Chimney Rock has tons of family-friendly hiking trails, views of North Carolina’s most beautiful waterfalls and lakes and plenty of unique photo opportunities.

Even though it’s only 30 minutes away, it’s often overlooked by Asheville’s more well known attractions like the luxurious Biltmore Estates. Adding one more day to your vacation, however, can give you and the entire family one of the most unique climbing experiences you can find on the East Coast.

It’s simple, really. For families on the lookout for a fun, new adventure, a vacation to Asheville just isn’t complete without a day trip to Chimney Rock State Park.

For the wannabe climber
While taking the Outcropping Trail’s staircase to the top of Chimney Rock is certainly the most popular way to see the amazing North Carolina scenery, dishing some extra dollars on a catered climbing adventure can make for an unbelievably memorable experience, too. Based on your own athletic abilities, a climbing experience can be tailored to you and your family. So tailored, in fact, the state park boasts anyone from the ages of six to 60 could make it up the side of the mountain.

For the experienced climber
Chimney Rock is obviously the main attraction of the namesake state park, but the free climbing access at Rumbling Bald shouldn’t be overlooked either. An area reserved especially for expert and experienced mountain climbers, with free park permits available on site, visitors can spend the day climbing, rappelling or bouldering their way across the picturesque ridges.

For the hiker
I know, I know. Right after we talk about pushing your limits, I tell you to take the elevator, but this really is the one time it’s OK to take the elevator. Engineered way back in 1949 as one the tallest in North Carolina, Chimney Rock’s newly renovated elevator can take you up 26 stories in 35 seconds to the Sky Lodge Gift Shop & Deli, just 44 steps away from Chimney Rock. If you want the best of both worlds (and to reward yourself after a long hike), take the 500 stairs up the Outcroppings Trail, admire the view, then take the elevator back down. For families who can’t spend an entire day in the park, this is one of the better ways to see Chimney Rock.