Height: 351 feet
Trail Type: Gravel
Hike Distance: 1.35 miles round trip
Hickory Nut Falls is one of the main attractions at Chimney Rock State Park. There’s a hefty admission fee to get in, which is unfortunate because I think it’s dumb to have to pay to look at the earth. However, I understand that this is private property and the land owners are nice enough to let people come and enjoy the area, so the least they can do is get compensated for it. Chimney Rock, the main attraction, is a huge rock that juts out and provides a panoramic view of the Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure.
Hickory Nut Falls bubbles from springs at the top of the mountain and slides down the open granite. The park lists the falls at 404 feet, but most experts disagree with that measurement. From the top of the falls to the pool at the base, the height is 351 feet as measured by a group of people who dropped a piece of string over the edge in 2004. It’s almost a certainty that the creek continues cascading down the mountain, but it’s impossible to view, and it most certainly continues on for more than 50 feet to account for the difference between the park’s listing and the actual height. Either way, this is one of the tallest falls in the state and these are things waterfall people argue over.
Chimney Rock State Park is located off of US 64/US 74-A near the community of Lake Lure.
The trail begins at a switchback off the main road. There are several places to park and the trail is very clearly marked. The wide gravel path steadily ascends along the mountain before arriving at the base of the falls. There are several viewing platforms, and you can hop down the rocks and stand directly at the base.